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Oh, The Irony!

If I may be so bold as to hazard a prediction about the future, Social Security isn't going to be privatized. Instead, conservatives will live to rue the day they adopted the privatization gambit rather than the straightforward approach of simply advocating for benefit cuts. The medium-term impact of the privatization push is merely going to be that sometime in the 2009-2013 period the federal government implements some new program aimed at coercing and subsidizing asset ownership on top of a Social Security program that will continue in basically its current form plus some very modest benefit cuts and tax hikes. Similarly, while from the perspective of 2005 Republican intransigence in the face of the 1993 Clinton health care plan looks very smart, from the perspective of 2030 it will be clear that conservatives passed up their best shot at forestalling the emergence of a single-payer system by failing to cut a deal that would have left the USA with a health care system that still involved a fairly role for the private sector. Conservatives aren't the only ones who make mistakes -- if a liberal were to look back at some of the things congressional liberals rejected during the 1970s because they were convinced that there was no need to settle for half measures that liberal will quickly want to find a 70s-vintage liberal legislator and strangle him.

April 30, 2005 | Permalink

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Clinton health care plan looks very smart, from the perspective of 2030 it will be clear that conservatives passed up their best shot at forestalling the emergence of a single-payer system by failing to cut a deal that would have left the USA with a health care system that still involved a fairly role for the private sector.

Republicans should never allow any provision allowing any sort of socialized medicine. We care about our older folks. The French, and their socialized health care systen, as we saw during the summer of 2003, don't care about the older population.

Posted by: Al | Apr 30, 2005 1:10:18 AM

"[F]rom the perspective of 2030 it will be clear that conservatives passed up their best shot at forestalling the emergence of a single-payer system by failing to cut a deal that would have left the USA with a health care system that still involved a fairly role for the private sector."

This is a very smart comment. My father, a well trained orthopaedic surgeon, has for decades been claiming that doctors will go the way of plumbers and that a single payer system will become the the law of the land mainly because the madness of our current system will show it's age and implode under the weight of the baby-boomers. I think he's right.

As an aside, this is yet another reason why we don't need a fucking cardiac transplant surgeon that also happens to be sitting on the largest private health sector pot of gold in all of America to be our next president. Thanks, but no thanks.

Posted by: fnook | Apr 30, 2005 1:13:50 AM

Our elderly don't die because the weather is "a little warmer than usual."

btw, a $25 gift certificate to the first liberal to mention "global warming" as an explination for death of French senior citizens. email me to claim your prize.

Posted by: Al | Apr 30, 2005 1:19:33 AM

Well, Al, your syntax is understandably shaky for this time of night, and we're both pathetic to be posting this late on a Friday, but what the hell. I think you're wrong about socialized medicine. Medicine is not a commodity. It's also not a "right." It's somewhere in between. That's why basic provision of medical care should be socialized in this country. In fact, if you take a look at the current system you'll see that it almost already is.

Plus, even you must realize that your petty French bashing is beyond cliche at this point. Medical care in France is just fine. So they had some hot days and many people perished and their politcal leaders fucked up. Happens all the fucking time right here in our beloved USA.

Posted by: fnook | Apr 30, 2005 1:24:33 AM

Republicans should never allow any provision allowing any sort of socialized medicine. We care about our older folks. The French, and their socialized health care systen, as we saw during the summer of 2003, don't care about the older population.

Right on, Al. Obscure ideology and government philosophy is always more important than real-world results and helping people. Stick to your guns.

Glad you're on the other side ;^)

Posted by: Jonathan | Apr 30, 2005 1:26:50 AM

I am a tad drunk, fnook. Hence the poorer than usual writing.

Posted by: Al | Apr 30, 2005 1:27:18 AM

Al, you're offically forgiven. Cheers.

Posted by: fnook | Apr 30, 2005 1:31:54 AM

"The morgue typically receives about 17 bodies a day and has a total of 222 bays. By Saturday—just three days into the heat wave—its capacity was exceeded by hundreds, and the county had to bring in a fleet of refrigerated trucks to store the bodies. Police officers had to wait as long as three hours for a worker to receive the body. It was gruesome and incredible for this to be happening in the middle of a modern American city."

*wags tail at fnook, heads out*

Posted by: Ethical Werewolf | Apr 30, 2005 1:43:07 AM

Matt, I liked your SS post on TAPPED that described how the "safe" options in the Thrift plan will be guaranteed money losers in a privatized Social Security system due to the clawback. While I find the math and logic compelling, the average voter probably isn't going to listen to that. How about:

[begin folksy speak]
Bush says that you won't have to invest in stocks in your private account and that there will be safer options, like bonds and treasury bills. That's not true. Bush's plan is so bad it even makes bonds and t-bills risky.

Bonds and treasury bills are safe options in the Thrift plan or a 401(k) because you are taking money you have set aside and putting it somewhere you can get a higher rate. It's like taking the money under your mattress and putting it in a savings account at the bank. Instead of just having the money under the mattress, now you've got the interest, too. Privatized SS is different -- it's like opening that savings account using money from a cash advance on your credit card. Yes, you'll earn some money from the bank but you'll end up earning less from your savings account than your credit card company is going to charge you for that cash advance. You're spending more money than you're earning. That's just bad math.
[/endeth]

I'd love it if Reid and Co. did something like that on the Sunday rounds (although perhaps more coherent and less tipsy than I am now).

Posted by: Rebecca | Apr 30, 2005 1:55:36 AM

Global warming caused the French heat wave of 2003, which caused the death of French seniors!

What can I say? $25 gift certificate is good money. I'll have to find out what the shop is, though.

Posted by: Julian Elson | Apr 30, 2005 1:57:12 AM

Not a day goes by that I don't want to strangle a ’70s-era liberal.

A few days ago, I received an e-mail with a link to this:
http://www.atcenternetwork.com/

This guy, Lee Goodman, actually ran for Congress in 2004, in the Illinois 10th. His opponent, Kirk, first won the seat in 2000 with a little more than 50% of the vote. This would-be ’70s legislator managed to only about 35%.

Bush has given us a great gift: he'll cut SS benes for everyone who makes more than $20K. The question now is whether Democrats can remain focused on that simple fact or dilute and obfuscate it so swing voters (they're still out there in OH, PA, etc.) think Bush was only talking about people who make more than they.

Anyone who's read comments on this blog knows that "Al" is a moron. Here's more proof: a book about elderly deaths in Chicago (that's the USA, Al) caused by a heat wave in 1995.
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/443213in.html

I don't care about the $25, I just want Al to shut up. Hey, it's good enough for O'Reilly.

Posted by: ozoid | Apr 30, 2005 2:44:21 AM

I knew a guy from France once as a foreign exchange student. We were doing yard work in Denver in May. It got to like, 89 F, an above average day in May, but a dry heat, totally bearable. My French friend (a Parisian) was looking like he was about to keel over dead! Sweat dripping off his body, complaints galore, lethargic.

I don't think the average French person's body is accustomed to the heat. He thought 89 F was an insanely high temperature. Or maybe he was just wimp.

But France has a damn fine health care system from what I see, and I'd take it in a heartbeat. You're a fool if you wouldn't.

But the point MY is making about healthcare is prescient: Republicans will rue the day they quashed Clinton's plan. Because our health care system is imploding, and they are going to end up stuck with something much worse (to them, better for the country). Indeed, if Republicans don't get on the "socialized" medicine bandwagon, they are going to screw themselves out of power. It's only going to be so much longer before corporate America demands it, and they'll be legions of folks to vote with the party that goes with it.

Posted by: teece | Apr 30, 2005 2:46:49 AM

Ethical Werewolf is quite right -- heat waves are deadly when any system happens to be unprepared for them, private or socialized.

Posted by: Kimmitt | Apr 30, 2005 2:56:33 AM

Single payer will never happen. Ever. Back when Britain and Canada established their systems, they weren't aware that the two-tiered systems of Continental Europe would turn out to be superior. Now we do know that, so no nation in their right mind will ever establish a single-payer system.

Second, there will be no tax increases, at least no broad ones. The time when the federal government could get away with raising everyone's taxes is over.

Posted by: Adam Herman | Apr 30, 2005 3:07:03 AM

The time when the federal government could get away with raising everyone's taxes is over.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say "wrong." Unless you believe that repealing the Bush tax cuts aren't tax increases (which is sort of reasonable).

We raise taxes, eliminate Social Security or Medicare or the Military, or we have a government that defaults on its debt. There is no other way.

Tax increases are going to seem mighty fine compared to those options, when the country wakes up from this delusion of Republicanism in a few years. They sure beat going the way of Brazil.

Posted by: teece | Apr 30, 2005 3:34:38 AM

I think most conservatives have a lifeboat mentality and aren't concerned about what happens in 2011(when their tax cuts sunset), nevermind 2030. They think the U.S. economy will collapse in a few years and are busy accumulating short-term wealth.

The plan to push for SS privitization makes perfect sense when viewed this way. Stocks will shoot up short-term, the wealthiest 20% of Americans cash out their large stock holdings(96% of all shares held by Americans) and get ready to ride out the storm...

Posted by: monkyboy | Apr 30, 2005 6:22:37 AM

How is that Cuba manages a life expectancy equal to ours while expending only 1/20 as much per capital on healthcare? There is some sort of major fraud and delusion afoot in US healthcare.

Posted by: Bob H | Apr 30, 2005 6:23:12 AM

Huh ?

Single-payer doesn't mean the abolishing of private medicine.

Posted by: Ron | Apr 30, 2005 7:04:52 AM

So Matt, I see you bought into the GOP swan song that Social Security recipients must endure benefit cuts. That’s sad but predictable on your part.

The democrats should run on a simple platform now. If, after repealing Bush’s tax cuts, due in the next ten years, cutting the defense budget 10%, DHS, 10%, and the CIA 10%, and raising taxes on corporations 3%, we still have a SS deficit, we can talk about benefit cuts. Run on that platform and the Dems will win back the White House and perhaps the Congress. But it will take running on the courage of one’s convictions.

>>>>>>Conservatives aren't the only ones who make mistakes -- if a liberal were to look back at some of the things congressional liberals rejected during the 1970s because they were convinced that there was no need to settle for half measures that liberal will quickly want to find a 70s-vintage liberal legislator and strangle him<<<<<<<

Do you mind naming ONE example? And anyway…you love to get that part about strangling liberals into a sentence. I understand that. The feeling, in a political sense only Matt, is mutual. You weaken the party.

Posted by: jon st | Apr 30, 2005 7:08:37 AM

...if a liberal were to look back at some of the things congressional liberals rejected during the 1970s because they were convinced that there was no need to settle for half measures that liberal will quickly want to find a 70s-vintage liberal legislator and strangle him.

WTF is this all about? Congressional liberals in the 70s were all Republicans. Democrats were unionists, labor, leftists. This phrase makes no sense.

Posted by: abb1 | Apr 30, 2005 7:33:37 AM

I am doubtful that we will see any program aimed at promoting savings in 4 to 8 years.

I think that's when it's going to sink that we have a real long-term deficit problem that will begin to worse every year. I would guess then we'll see tax increases and spending cuts. Not a great environemnt for new programs.

And while I would appreciate America raising its low savings rate, I don't think many people care. Republican energy on the issue is driven more by a dislike of Social Security than an interest in private savings.

Tom G.

Posted by: Tom G. | Apr 30, 2005 9:01:16 AM

jon st--

The only party I have seen MY weakening is the Republican party.

And he has been doing an excellent job of it.

(Maybe if I'd been to a social event with him sometime I could say he had weakened that party, too--dunno. Don't really care, either--he can take care of his own social life, I just want him to continue churning out fascinating analysis, insight, and strategy. And yes, I was a Democrat in the '70s, and the '60s too.)

Posted by: Tad Brennan | Apr 30, 2005 9:27:27 AM

"How is that Cuba manages a life expectancy equal to ours while expending only 1/20 as much per capital on healthcare? There is some sort of major fraud and delusion afoot in US healthcare."

They don't count the people who die trying to escape in their morality statistics. ;)

Why do you assume that, when there's something fishy between the statistics of a dictatorial police state, and a democracy with a free press, that it's the democracy with the free press that's perpetrating the fraud? You think maybe Castro doesn't have the capacity to cook the books?

I'll grant you that Cubans get decent veterinary care; Any rational tyrant wants his livestock to be healthy and literate, (Transmitting orders in written form is more cost effective, and you don't get much work out of sick serfs.) and being able to issue orders people don't dare disobey does wonders when you want them to get more exercise.

The biggest health problem in the US is simply that we're both free and wealthy, which makes it easy for us to make bad choices. Changing our healthcare system isn't going to do anything about that, unless it restricts our liberty, or makes us poorer. Maybe we should go in the opposite direction, and hope that more wealth, and more medical progress, with enable us to buy the benefits of eating right and exercising a lot, without having to actually do it...

Posted by: Brett Bellmore | Apr 30, 2005 10:06:02 AM

Anyone who's read comments on this blog knows that "Al" is a moron. Here's more proof: a book about elderly deaths in Chicago (that's the USA, Al) caused by a heat wave in 1995.

Al does have a point here. Within private healthcare framework elderly deaths due to a heat wave are normal, a proof that the system works well, according to the specs; while under national healthcare system it's obviously a failure.

Posted by: abb1 | Apr 30, 2005 10:19:43 AM

Al, you are truly a blight upon a great name.

It is -- and I mean this with all sincerity -- endlessly amazing how totally fuckingly stupid you can be. It boggles the mind.

Posted by: Al Gore | Apr 30, 2005 10:46:32 AM

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