Corrente

If you have "no place to go," come here!

letsgetitdone's blog

letsgetitdone's picture

Neoliberalism Kills: Part Two

During Part One of this series, I approached the end of my post with this paragraph.

Apart from the political opposition from the insurance companies that Medicare for All would have engendered, I think the main justification for abandoning Medicare for All and switching to the PO and eventually the PO-less ACA, was actually neoliberalism. The President, his main advisers, the Democratic leaders in Congress, and most progressives working for Washington progressive organizations were steeped in neoliberal doctrine. They viewed the Bush tax cuts and the two Wars as unpaid for. The ARRA stimulus Act was similarly unpaid for and added to deficit spending and to the debt-subject-to-the-limit. They believed and most believe today that the Federal Government can have solvency problems if the debt-to-GDP ratio increases too much, and interest rates on the national debt are driven up by the bond vigilantes.

A Medicare for All Act would have required Federal spending on health care to rise by $800 - $900 Billion per year over present levels. They were not ready to cover that with higher tax revenues, and they were not ready to deficit spend it because they viewed that as fiscally irresponsible, and believed then and still believe now that it's necessary to decrease the debt-to-GDP ratio over time.

So, they wouldn't consider spending for Medicare for All. They wouldn't look seriously at the hundreds of thousands of lives they were consigning to oblivion, at the bankruptcies and divorces they could prevent, or at the obvious fact that while HR 676 would have cost the Government $900 Billion more in money annually that the Government can create at will and at zero real cost; it would have saved the people who have to pay for health insurance, and health care out of pocket and in the form of “co-pays” $1.8 Trillion annually, thus providing a marvelous boost to the economy. Instead, they just said to everybody, that it was impractical and that the United States couldn't afford it; but that it would be able to to afford a self-supporting PO bill, and later when that was taken off the table, a deficit neutral insurance bailout like the ACA.

My friend Lambert Strether liked Part One and cross-posted it at Yves Smith's Naked Capitalism site. But the above statement bothers him because he thinks that using the label neoliberalism alone without explaining what aspects of that paradigm provided the justification for taking Medicare for All off the Table, and who the political actors are who adhere to this, makes my treatment incomplete. Even though I agree with the view that it's easy enough to google “neoliberalism” if someone doubts what I mean by the “term,” I also agree with Lambert that it would add something to Part One for me to be more specific about my thinking and show the connections between neoliberalism and the decision to take Medicare for All off the Table. Hence, this Part Two. Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

Neoliberalism Kills: Part One

During the run-up to passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I wrote a number of posts (here, here, and here) assessing the ACA very negatively, and pointing out the shortcomings of the various versions of this bill, preceding its final passage. My focus was on contrasting varying versions with HR 676, the Conyers-Kucinich Medicare for All bill, in relation to its likely impact on fatalities, bankruptcies and divorces attributed to lack of health insurance coverage in the US. Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

Paul K's Strange Logic

In an October 12th Post entitled “Foreigners and the Burden of Debt,” Paul Krugman made the following comment.

”. . . we’d all agree that deficits make us poorer if they crowd out investment spending — which they would if the economy were near full employment, but won’t if we’re deeply depressed. All we have to do is realize that net foreign investment — purchases minus sales of assets from and to foreigners — is also a form of investment. Or to put it a bit more simply, sure, budget deficits can make us poorer as a nation if they lead to bigger trade deficits.”

Read below the fold...
letsgetitdone's picture

These Folks are Soooo Clever . . .

Last week, Reps. Michael Honda, Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva, Jan Schakowsky, John Conyers, Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey stalwarts of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) begged for mercy from “the Gang of Eight” in a letter.

Here's what they said and my commentary on their “loser liberalism.”

”Thank you for your work - past and present - towards solving one of the greatest policy challenges facing us today: the unsustainable path of our national debt. We appreciate the bipartisan and collaborative spirit with which you've approached your negotiations. . . .”

Thanks vanguard progressives for embracing the major premise of the austerity ideology, namely that the national debt is on an unsustainable path. I'm here to tell you that this idea is false and also terribly harmful to progressive aspirations to end economic stagnation and get everyone, who wants to be, employed at a living wage. You can't win an argument if you start by agreeing with your opponent's false premise. Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

Promises for America

The polling since the conventions shows that Democrats are doing better than expected. President Obama now apparently has a clear lead over Mitt Romney. Democratic Party control of the Senate seems likely to survive this election year of many more Democratic rather than Republican Senate seats up for election. And, even in House races, it looks like the Democrats will pick up a number of seats; though whether they can pick up enough seats to take back the House is still an unlikely prospect, and without the House President Obama's second term is likely to be much like his last year and three-quarters, rather than his first two years. Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

Alan Grayson's Right; But He Misses the Larger Point

Alan Grayson's e-mail on Moody's warning that it might reduce the US's AAA rating, suggested that Moody's was either threatening a downgrade because it wants to get the Bush tax cuts for the rich extended, or, alternatively, that “Moody's is living in what Aristophanes called "Cloud Cuckoo Land."” He says this because Moody's is upset about the possibility that the US may go over the so-called “fiscal cliff,” even though if it did, it would theoretically result in $560 Billion of deficit reduction annually, without further legislative changes, and it makes no sense on the surface for a rati Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

No Plan B?

Bob Woodward's releasing a new book, so we are now seeing articles based on it. A few days back, The Washington Post published the ”Inside story of Obama’s struggle to keep Congress from controlling outcome of debt ceiling crisis.” This account is a pretty downbeat one of how our political leaders and President Obama handled the debt ceiling crisis of the summer of 2011. I want to comment on what for me was the most salient point: that during the crisis, the President had no “Plan B” to get around the debt ceiling beyond negotiating a deal with Congress. Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

No, Barack, It Just Ain't Gonna Happen!

Who else thinks the President's speech didn't include any plans to create the 29 million full-time jobs for the dis-employed? Please raise your hand!

About jobs he said:

”We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years.”

Read below the fold...
letsgetitdone's picture

"We" Don't Owe $16 Trillion; and You Don't Owe $50,000

Just saw John Sununu, one of Republicans favorite Bushie junk yard attack dogs all up in arms about the debt subject to the limit (the so-called national debt) reaching $16 Trillion dollars, and going on to tell people that every man, woman, and child in the United States now owes $50,000 to pay that debt off. Now, I'm here to tell you that all that is bull shit.

The debt subject to the limit is a debt incurred by the Congress and the Treasury Department because when the Government spends more than it taxes, the Treasury Department issues debt instruments in the name of the US Government even though it doesn't have to do that in order to deficit spend. These instruments make the Government a debtor. But they don't make any individual man, woman, or child in the United States a debtor. So, the idea that YOU owe $50,000 or even a single dollar is BS. You've signed no such note. You've not charged a single dollar on your credit card for this purpose. And you've not made a single promise that any portion of the national debt will be paid by YOU. Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

It's Not About the Food Stamps; It's About a Job At a Living Wage

Got this in an e-mail yesterday from my brother, Hal:

“June food stamp Recipients Hit All Time High As Three Times As Many Americans Enter Poverty As Find Jobs, bringing the total to a new all time high of 46.670 million and once again rising fast.”

Read below the fold...
letsgetitdone's picture

Our Money Isn't Fake, It's Fiat!

A report on protests at the Tampa convention appearing in the Hill (h/t Lambertstrether) partly focused on views about our economy and financial system of an Occupy protestor named Andrew Speirs. The report says:

“Protesters with the Occupy movement were also in full force with calls to dismantle the United States’ economic and political system.

Read below the fold...
letsgetitdone's picture

Fix the Debt The Progressive Way!

In the shadow of the election campaign, receiving comparatively little attention from the media is another accelerating effort to prepare the way for a “grand bargain” that will legislate a long-term deficit reduction plan embodying “shared sacrifice,” including entitlement cuts that will weigh heavily on the vulnerable including, the young, the elderly, the old, the disabled and other disadvantaged groups; and that will also further exacerbate the rapidly growing inequality problem and increase the threat to our increasingly fragile democracy. Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

One Simple Measure That Would Save Social Security and More

The Fiscal Times is a digital rag funded by Peter G. Peterson to propagandize the ideology of neoliberal austerity. Yesterday, a post by Josh Boak highlighted the proposal of “fixing” Social Security by lifting the cap on payroll taxes.

”Social Security already appears to be running aground, just two decades before the program — which accounts for about 20 percent of federal spending — is projected to crash into insolvency.

Read below the fold...
letsgetitdone's picture

Republicans Should Destroy Their Own Party, Nationwide!

Mine is a simple, and very serious, if, perhaps, modest, proposition. But let me stipulate, first, that even though this post is about the Republican Party, it in no way indicates support for, or a positive evaluation of the Democratic Party over the past 35 years. I've recorded my opinion of the Democratic Party's behavior and of the present Administration's reprehensible performance for years now, and feel no need to repeat my frequent and very angry evaluations in this post. Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

Ryan's Follies: Back to Liberty

More on liberty from Ryan's reply to the President's 2011 SOTU. These are about that old Republican hypocritical favorite, “small government.”

”The President and the Democratic Leadership have shown, by their actions, that they believe government needs to increase its size and its reach, its price tag and its power.”

What planet does Congressman Ryan live on? The Democrats have done very little to increase the size of Government. The measure of that is that the average annual growth in Federal Government spending is the lowest it's been in the period since Dwight Eisenhower became President. In addition, Federal spending as a percent of GDP is still extremely low compared to National Government expenditures by the nations mentioned in my last post, and has only risen about 5 percentage points from Bush Administration levels, in response to the economic crisis, which, remember, was caused by policies avidly supported by Paul Ryan and conservative Republicans.

In addition, the President, much to his discredit, has done all he could to keep Government expenditures revenue neutral or revenue positive, beyond expenditures for defense, the stimulus, and increases in social safety net expenditures resulting from the recession. His health care reform bill is a disgraceful attempt to bailout the insurance companies without taking them over, because he would not entertain Medicare for All, since it wasn't “revenue neutral.” Never mind that enhanced Medicare for All would have saved the private sector $900 Billion per year in Medical Costs, and that the stimulus involved in an additional $800 Billion of Federal deficit spending would probably have created an addition 2 million jobs, at least. Read below the fold...

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - letsgetitdone's blog