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Sun Jun 2, 2013, 10:49 AM

Krugman: We Are Not Having A Serious Discussion, Obamacare Edition

We Are Not Having A Serious Discussion, Obamacare Edition

I fairly often receive mail pleading with me to take a more even tone, to have a respectful discussion with people on the other side rather than calling them fools and knaves. And you know, I do when I can. But the truth is that on most of the big issues confronting us, there just isn’t anyone to have a serious discussion with. Ezra Klein offers a nice illustration of this point today, in his takedown of Avik Roy on Obamacare in California...Roy is widely considered a good example of a reformist conservative, not to mention a health policy wonk.

Klein tries really hard to keep his temper even; too hard, I think, because I wonder how many readers will stay with him all the way through. But to cut to the chase, Roy claims that Obamacare will cause soaring insurance rates, using a comparison that is completely fraudulent — and I say fraudulent, not wrong, because he is indeed enough of a policy wonk here to know that he is pulling a fast one... he points out that the insurance premiums that will apparently be charged on the California exchange will be higher than the lowest rates being offered by some insurers in California right now.

As Klein says, this isn’t just comparing apples and oranges; it’s comparing apples with oranges you can’t even buy...California has a basically unregulated individual market, in which insurers are free to reject whoever they choose, and charge whatever rates they choose. This means that a few young, healthy people with no record of prior medical problems can get cheap plans; these are, of course, precisely the people who need insurance least, and these plans are cheap not just because they’re only available to the very healthy but because they don’t provide much insurance. If you’re not healthy or wealthy enough to get by with this kind of insurance, too bad.

So looking at these rates tells you nothing at all about the success of a program that offers insurance to everyone, regardless of medical history, and sets fairly high minimum standards for the quality of that insurance...I know that a lot of people wish we lived in a country where debates about things like health care policy were serious, honest discussions of debatable points. I like to hope that by the time I retire I’ll actually live in a country like that. But right now, and surely for years to come, it’s basically facts versus fraud.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/01/we-are-not-having-a-serious-discussion-obamacare-edition/

Roy was Romney's health policy advisor.

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Reply Krugman: We Are Not Having A Serious Discussion, Obamacare Edition (Original post)
ProSense Jun 2013 OP
The Magistrate Jun 2013 #1
Laelth Jun 2013 #2
ProSense Jun 2013 #3
hfojvt Jun 2013 #4
ProSense Jun 2013 #5
hfojvt Jun 2013 #7
ProSense Jun 2013 #11
hfojvt Jun 2013 #16
ProSense Jun 2013 #17
hfojvt Jun 2013 #21
Major Nikon Jun 2013 #19
hfojvt Jun 2013 #20
Major Nikon Jun 2013 #22
hfojvt Jun 2013 #24
Major Nikon Jun 2013 #25
ProSense Jun 2013 #26
ProSense Jun 2013 #6
adieu Jun 2013 #9
Flatulo Jun 2013 #13
msongs Jun 2013 #15
ProSense Jun 2013 #18
hfojvt Jun 2013 #10
ProSense Jun 2013 #12
hfojvt Jun 2013 #23
ProSense Jun 2013 #27
ProSense Jun 2013 #28
n2doc Jun 2013 #8
SHRED Jun 2013 #14

Response to ProSense (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 10:51 AM

1. 'Facts Versus Fraud', Ma'am: Exactly

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 10:54 AM

2. Facts vs. fraud.

Yep. Krugman nails it. It's near impossible to have a reasonable conversation with the right because they're not interested in facts. Their only interest is in pushing their agenda, and they believe they can "make up" facts, as they need them, to justify and support their agenda.

How can having a discussion with such people accomplish anything?

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 11:33 AM

3. Republicans are frauds. n/t



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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 12:14 PM

4. facts vs. fraud, except when it is fraud vs. fraud

like in the case of - ATRA, for example. Where Obama and Krugman call that tax cut a tax increase, and ignore the simple FACT that most of the tax cut goes to the top 20%, and then Krugman, who should know better, because he IS a wonk, claims that a tax cut that favors the rich is going to REDUCE inequality.

or the accursed payroll tax cut. Where both Obama and the CBPP argue that it is a "middle class tax cut" when the simple FACT is that it, again, heavily favors the top 20%, and provided almost as much tax relief to the top 1% as it did to the bottom 20%.

The problem is that NO politician should be trusted, but then the other problem is when supposed honest brokers like Krugman and the CBPP play fast and loose with the facts.

Even on this issue though, isn't it true that lots of young people ARE healthy.

And as for "they don't provide much insurance". I wonder if health insurance should be mostly for catastrophic coverage? Sorta like homeowner's insurance or car insurance. Right now it seems to me kinda like health insurance is similar to homeowners insurance that also covers "lawn mowing and the electric bill" or car insurance that also covers "oil changes". More and more things are added to the coverage.

And then people wonder why insurance is so expensive.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #4)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 12:23 PM

5. You must know

facts vs. fraud, except when it is fraud vs. fraud

like in the case of - ATRA, for example. Where Obama and Krugman call that tax cut a tax increase, and ignore the simple FACT that most of the tax cut goes to the top 20%, and then Krugman, who should know better, because he IS a wonk, claims that a tax cut that favors the rich is going to REDUCE inequality.

...that Krugman isn't the "fraud."

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022913318


Again, whenever you make ridiculous claims, I'll remind you that these are nonsense:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=2797907
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=2759656

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Response to ProSense (Reply #5)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 12:42 PM

7. speaking of honest discussions

shall we try to have one here?

Your link calling my claim "nonsense" just goes (so far) to two other links where you call my claim nonsense.

So which part is nonsense again?

1. the part where ATRA is a tax cut. or
2. the part where the tax cut favors the rich

or did you have something else in mind?

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #7)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 01:03 PM

11. The

"So which part is nonsense again?"

...part where you appear incapable of comprehending that the income tax is progressive.

Seriously, your claim is drivel. If a person is taxed at 35 percent and it increases to more than 39 percent, that's not a tax cut.

No amount of denial and spin will make it such.





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Response to ProSense (Reply #11)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 01:54 PM

16. oh yeah

I forgot about that "argument".

The argument that tax cuts MUST favor the rich, because the income tax is progressive. The one we heard when the Bush tax cuts were first proposed "tax cuts favor the rich because the rich pay most of the taxes".

"Seriously, your claim is drivel. If a person is taxed at 35 percent and it increases to more than 39 percent, that's not a tax cut. "

If that was what happened, my claim would be drivel. But that is NOT, as you SHOULD know, what happened. You seem to be making a fraudulent argument there is you are claiming that is what happened, or claiming that that is ALL that happened.

taxed at 35% and then increases to more than 39%.

That DID happen, as long as you want to leave out the first part. Taxed at 39.6%, cut to 35% and raised back to 39.6%.

But that is NOT the tax cut part.

Again, as you SHOULD know, the tax cut part follows.

1. tax cuts on the first $400,000 of income - permanent ones

2. tax cuts on dividend income, now taxed (permanently) at only 20% maximum instead of like wage income at up to 39.6% (this provision ALONE is a tax cut for Willard Mitt Romney of almost $1,000,000 a year, but "yawn" why should Democrats or progressives care? A million dollar annual permanent tax cut for Romney was a HUGE victory for Obama voters (at least according to Krugman)

3. estate tax was AUTOMATICALLY going to $1 million exemption and 55% rate, instead was cut to $3.5 million exemption and 45% rate.

Of course, there is a slightly tricky part to this - a trojan horse, if you will. The Bush tax cuts. They expired on Jan 1, 2013 (thanks to Obama giving them two more years of life).

Here's the tricky part. Suppose, a bill was passed (and signed by Obama) some time before January 1, 2013 to make the Bush tax cuts permanent - ALL of them. Myself, I would argue that that bill represents a huge tax cut for the rich, just like the original Bush tax cuts.

BUT since the tax cuts are already in place, this would not be a NEW tax cut. But it would certainly be - more years of tax cuts, heavily favoring the rich, and, as such, should not be approved by Democrats.

But where does the line end. If 100% of the Bush tax cuts being permanent is a tax CUT, then what about 99% or 98% or 78%?

I would argue that even 1% of the Bush tax cuts being kept is a tax CUT. Because the Bush tax cuts were set to expire, so any measure to keep part of them going, is another cut, EVEN if it is passed before they expire.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #16)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 02:07 PM

17. "Here's the tricky part. Suppose, a bill was passed"

If, spin, more spin...

Drivel!

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Response to ProSense (Reply #17)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 03:03 PM

21. well thank goodness we are having a serious discussion

Admittedly, the evil side is clever. They pass the tax cut for the rich when the tax cut for the rich is already in play.

That way they can SPIN it, as NOT being a tax cut for the rich.

The bottom line is, that taxes for the top 5% were automatically going to go up by $1.9 trillion and a bill was passed to CUT that tax increase DOWN to just $600 billion.

Well that bill, even though you and others may claim you do not understand it, was a tax CUT for the rich, of $1.3 trillion over the next decade.

And if 2008 proved anything, it is likely that cat will NEVER be put back into the bag.

Before Obama, the Bush tax cuts had an expiration date. After Obama, they are permanent.

That's gotta be "change you can believe in."

Or something.

Oh, and drivel right back at you.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #16)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 02:24 PM

19. So you are arguing over semantics on a completely different subject

...and this somehow is your proof for fraud on Krugman's part?

Brilliant!

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #19)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 02:56 PM

20. it's not semantics

there is real money involved.

ATRA gave $1.3 trillion in permanent tax cuts to the richest 5% http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022130101

Krugman claimed that ATRA was going to REDUCE inequality. Yet, since the Bush tax cuts were scheduled to expire, to pass these permanent tax cuts for the rich, actually INCREASES inequality. Krugman should know that, but for some reason, he fraudulently spun it the other way.

My argument is over $1,300,000,000,000. NOT about semantics.

Semantics is what Krugman and Obama used to call a $1.9 trillion tax cut that was reduced to $1.3 trillion a tax "increase".

It's not a tax increase in my eyes, it is a slightly smaller tax cut that is being sold to a gullible public as a tax increase. Krugman, like myself, has the ability to see through the fraud. But instead of exposing the fraud, he chose to defend it.

I am sorry if I cannot explain it in a way that you will understand. Unfortunately, I am sure that if Krugman had chosen to fight on the side of the bottom 80% WITH me, instead of fighting on the side of the top 20% AGAINST me, that I would not have to waste time trying to explain things on DU against the holy word of an icon.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #20)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 03:13 PM

22. Homer's postulate

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #22)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 03:16 PM

24. so you don't care if society becomes more unequal?

Okay.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #24)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 03:18 PM

25. Yes, that's it

Brilliant!

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #20)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 03:18 PM

26. You're right,

"it's not semantics," it's nonsense, and the other poster is correct: You're hijacking the thread to push your drivel.

"ATRA gave $1.3 trillion in permanent tax cuts to the richest 5% http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022130101

Krugman claimed that ATRA was going to REDUCE inequality. Yet, since the Bush tax cuts were scheduled to expire, to pass these permanent tax cuts for the rich, actually INCREASES inequality. Krugman should know that, but for some reason, he fraudulently spun it the other way."

Not only is the income tax progressive, but the numbers don't lie.

Pre Bush tax cuts: lowest tax bracket 15 percent and top tax bracket 39.6 percent.
Bush tax cuts: lowest tax bracket 10 percent and top tax bracket 35 percent.
President Obama's tax deal, lowest rate 10 percent, top rate 39.6 percent.

Do the math and it will show that the gap between someone earning $50,000 and someone earning $500,000 closed to more than what it was in the 1990s. Add the health care law tax and the gap closes even more.

Krugman:

Some notes for myself: how much impact have Obama’s policies actually had on current and prospective inequality?

The main policies to consider are PPACA (the health reform) and ATRA (the fiscal cliff deal with its associated tax rise).

I’m not a fan of the Tax Foundation’s work, but their analysis of the distributional effects of Obamacare looks about right: significant benefits to the bottom half of the income distribution, paid for largely by taxes on the top few percent (the Medicare surcharge and the extra tax on investment income). The Tax Policy Center — whose work I do trust — has the Act reducing the after-tax income of the top 1 percent by 1.8 percent, the top 0.1 percent by 2.5 percent.

Meanwhile, ATRA raises taxes relative to a continuation of the Bush high-end tax cuts: after-tax income down 4.5 percent for the 1-percenters, 6.2 percent for the top 0.1 percent.

Putting this together, we have a roughly 6 percent hit to the 1 percent, around 9 to the superelite. That’s only a partial rollback of these groups’ huge gains since 1980, but it’s not trivial.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/20/obama-and-redistribution/

You fail to comprehend that closing the gap is significant. If the gap closes by even a single $1, it's a positive step.

Krugman also takes the additional health care tax into account, and he's not alone.

<...>

Perhaps the best prism through which to see the Democrats’ gains is inequality. In the 2008 campaign, Mr. Obama said that his top priority as president would be to “create bottom-up economic growth” and reduce inequality...In the 2009 stimulus, he insisted on making tax credits “fully refundable,” so that even people who did not make enough to pay much federal tax would benefit. The 2010 health care law overhaul was probably the biggest attack on inequality since it began rising in the 1970s, increasing taxes on businesses and the rich to pay for health insurance largely for the middle class.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/03/us/politics/for-obama-fiscal-deal-is-a-victory-that-also-holds-risks.html


Employers already take out 7.65 percent of workers’ wages to support the elderly and disabled. Of that, 1.45 percent goes toward paying Medicare’s hospital bills. Obamacare increases the Medicare hospital tax by 0.9 percent, beginning in 2013, for anyone who earns more than $200,000 ($250,000 for joint filers). It also creates a new, 3.8 percent tax on investment income, setting income thresholds at the same $200,000 and $250,000 levels mentioned above. Taken together, those two provisions are expected to generate $210.2 billion over the next decade.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022078875


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Response to hfojvt (Reply #4)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 12:27 PM

6. And is this

"And as for "they don't provide much insurance". I wonder if health insurance should be mostly for catastrophic coverage? Sorta like homeowner's insurance or car insurance. Right now it seems to me kinda like health insurance is similar to homeowners insurance that also covers "lawn mowing and the electric bill" or car insurance that also covers "oil changes". More and more things are added to the coverage. "

...from the Ron Paul school of health care (http://www.democraticunderground.com/100288476)? You wrote the above nonsense, and you're running around calling Krugman a "fraud"?





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Response to ProSense (Reply #6)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 12:46 PM

9. That would be fine

(to have insurance for only catastrophic cases), but we don't have a set price for regular stuff. If I get a really bad cold or flu, I just want some quickie medicine to fix me up. Pretty standard, right? But, what's the cost if I go to the hospital?

First off, I have to self-diagnose. I have to make sure that yes, all I have is a simple flu, so when I walk up to the counter, I can just ask, "cure for flu, please," and pay what's showing on the price list.

Second, there's no price list, and if it were, the current price for "cure for flu" is probably around $2000 or maybe more.

That's why there ought to be universal health care.

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Response to adieu (Reply #9)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 01:25 PM

13. Actually, there is a price list. Hospitals keep a database, called the 'Charge master', that

details the list price for every item, procedure or treatment they offer, right down to a Tylenol or a puff of oxygen.

You'll never get to see the Charge master. It's used when negotiating with insurers. Medicare negotiates from the bottom up, private insurers negotiate from the top down. Persons without any insurance are charged the list price, which is why a simple appendectomy can cost you your home or your life savings.

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Response to Flatulo (Reply #13)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 01:47 PM

15. all hospital/doctor fees should be posted on the internet so we can shop around nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #15)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 02:20 PM

18. There is alway room for improvement:

Obamacare Is Already Forcing Private Insurers To Lower Their Premiums
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022825372

Sunlight as Disinfectant — New Rules on Disclosure of Industry Payments to Physicians
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1305090

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Response to ProSense (Reply #6)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 12:59 PM

10. THAT was just speculation

since I do not claim to be an expert in health care economics. I would need a lot more facts that I currently have at my disposal.

However, if we are going to have a "serious" discussion, wouldn't that involve actual communication - listening and honest questions and responses beyond the insulting "you must be Ron Paul".

Uhm, yeah,. presumably "catastrophic coverage" would prevent things like death, and bankruptcy. The hospital bill, the outpatient surgery (if necessary) would be covered. Things like viagra would not be.

I think it is ridiculous for health insurance to cover things like viagra.

And it is certainly not fraud for me to point out that "the more things health insurance covers, the more expensive it will be".

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #10)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 01:05 PM

12. Well,

"THAT was just speculation since I do not claim to be an expert in health care economics. "

...I agree. You don't appear to be an expert, more a spin doctor.



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Response to ProSense (Reply #12)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 03:14 PM

23. I think my irony meter just broke

Me, I am just a guy with a master's degree in economics who works now as a full time janitorial supervisor. In my spare time, I fight for a more progressive tax code and for policies that will benefit the bottom 80%, or even better, the bottom 60%.

For whatever reason, you like to call me names and mock me. Maybe you just can't handle the truth. Maybe I am not very good at explaining things and kinda rude to boot. Lord knows I have my detractors here. Indeed, they seem to be legion.

For what it is worth, I think you are a dishonest piece of excrement who could give a shit about somebody like me who is in the bottom quintile.

But have a nice day anyway.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #23)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 03:22 PM

27. So

"Me, I am just a guy with a master's degree in economics who works now as a full time janitorial supervisor. In my spare time, I fight for a more progressive tax code and for policies that will benefit the bottom 80%, or even better, the bottom 60%. "

...is that why you're running around trying to prove that Krugman is a "fraud" or as you claimed previously "a tool"?

You don't know other people's status, but go ahead and play victim with your inferiority complex.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #23)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 04:20 PM

28. Oh, and

"For what it is worth, I think you are a dishonest piece of excrement who could give a shit about somebody like me who is in the bottom quintile."

...you really don't want to know what I think of you. "Dishonest" is part of it, but the rest is a lot worse.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 12:44 PM

8. Only liberals need "be nice"

It's always ok to say whatever vile thing comes to mind, so long as you are a conservative. Lie, insult, threaten, it's all fine with them.

"Be respectful"= shut up and nod your head.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 01:32 PM

14. Avik Roy is a filthy little corporate whore liar


And that's his good traits.

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