The 10 Biggest Lies Being Told About the Government Shutdown


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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294 Responses

  1. Avatar Mose says:

    Right on. Thank you.Report

  2. Avatar Kim says:
    Real impacts, real people. Even those rich enough to be able to afford houses.Report

  3. Avatar Cascadian says:

    Awesome post. Well done.Report

  4. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Gov’t Shutdown Lie #11: “We’re not going to be disrespected.”Report

  5. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Excellent piece Tod.

    I’m not sure what else to say. They are anarchists, radicals, and live in little protected spheres where they only have to face a primary challenger further from the right-wing and sadly those people exist.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Thats why they can’t fold. The GOP beliefs might be delusional but their delusions held by the truest of true believers. They are dancing on the edge of the abyss and dragging the country down with them. Just fold GOP, just fold.Report

    • Avatar dhex says:

      “They are anarchists”

      do people really believe this? i keep hearing it, but i refuse to believe people believe it.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        Do you think opponents to Obamacare really believe it is the worst legislation in the history of mankind and will turn the United States into a post-apocalyptic nightmare ala the Road or Soviet Union?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Do you think opponents to Obamacare really believe it is the worst legislation in the history of mankind

        Maybe they do, but many of those same people apparently don’t hate the ACA with the same white-hot intensity:

        A few weeks ago, a CNBC poll purported to show major differences when asked about the law in different manners: 46% were against Obamacare, while only 37% were opposed to the ACA.Report

      • “Do you think opponents to Obamacare really believe it is the worst legislation in the history of mankind and will turn the United States into a post-apocalyptic nightmare ala the Road or Soviet Union?”

        Not me. But I don’t think their hypocrisy/hyperbole makes them anarchists.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:


        That poll says something not great about race relations in America in my mind.

        To everyone else, I will call them authoritarians because that is what they seem to be. These tea party zealots think that they are the only legitimate source of authority, governance, policy, and power, and they forgot that elections have consequences (unless they can use it to lecture Democratic politicians when we are in the minority).

        Ted Cruz can go to Princeton and Harvard Law and be aokay but any Democratic politician who does is an insufferable elitist.

        I see them as Avignon Popes speaking with an authority that they do not have and they would be correct if the interpretation is that I don’t like them very much.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @newdealer, if you want to put the health care debate in race-relation context, you really should look at the two links I posted in this comment.

        The first, from TNC, provides numbers (and is part of a whole series of posts on the topic worth reading), the second provides social the context of people who believe ACA is the worst law ever.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I see them as Avignon Popes speaking with an authority that they do not have and they would be correct if the interpretation is that I don’t like them very much.

        This is a beautiful sentiment.

        Now I’d just ask you to see that there are Buddhists, Protestants, Atheists, and Mormons out there who are unmoved by your assertions that we need to respect how the Papacy truly resides in Rome.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:


        I’ve become just as much as a hardened culture warrior as they are.

        If it is 100 percent acceptable to be a rock-ribbed Republican. I think it is 100 percent acceptable and non-traitorous to be an unrepentant bleeding heart liberal.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        You don’t understand the metaphor, Jaybird. Politics, not theology, was the problem. In those days, the authority over the Church was not the exclusive province of the Pope. The Holy Roman Emperor said he controlled the Church’s relations with the outside, secular world. You see, the Church was also the largest landowner in Europe. Someone had to be the landlord. The Pope was sposta confine himself to spiritual matters, basically assuming the role of the Emperor’s priest.

        Naturally, the Popes saw things differently. The papal bull, Unam Sanctam said Popes trumped Kings and Emperors. But in the political world the Pope was also a king of sorts, ruling over the Papal States, which extended well into the south of what’s modern France.

        The Avignon Popes represented the power of the French kings. Italy hadn’t been invented yet. Rome had descended into anarchy: there was no point in the pope returning. A few cardinals tried running the Papal States but it was all a botch.

        The Avignon popes were more than tools of the French kings, they were also horribly corrupt. The first Avignon pope, Clement V, basically destroyed the only working banking and postal system in Europe at the time, the Knights Templar. They’ve become encrusted in rumour, myth and Dan Brown googly-moogly, but the reality is astonishing enough. They were sophisticated enough to run the first credit card, rental transport and hotel reservation systems. Well, nothing doing but what the French had to destroy it all.

        The Avignon Popes spoke with authority — it just wasn’t their own authority. But as there were no popes in Rome for most of the Avignon Era, nobody else did, either.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        “Do you think opponents to Obamacare really believe it is the worst legislation in the history of mankind and will turn the United States into a post-apocalyptic nightmare ala the Road or Soviet Union?”

        not entirely, no. but i mean, republicans are anarchists in the same way i’m made out of string cheese and the dreams of fireflies – that is to say only with a whole lot of lsd applied.Report

      • Avatar Coke-Encrusted Hollywood Exec says:


        Oh, god, thank you. This explains SO much. Carmela must have found my stash of “special” sugarcubes, and used them in my Earl Grey this morning.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        “not entirely, no. but i mean, republicans are anarchists in the same way i’m made out of string cheese and the dreams of fireflies – that is to say only with a whole lot of lsd applied.”

        and now i’m appalled that i didn’t reword that as “…with a liberal application of lsd”.

        ugh, me.Report

    • Avatar NotMe says:

      You sound like that Harry Reid spouting all sorts of silly names.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        See my clarification above. I could say the same whenever Sarah Palin calls people elitist for simply living in New York City or San Francisco.Report

    • Avatar dino says:

      You do know what an anarchist believes in right? It is certainly not the warfare state, crony capitalism, ag subsidies, TSA, drone strikes, NSA, transvaginal ultra sounds, or legislating morality. What is it about those positions that make conservatives or the Republican Party, anarchists – i.e., the absence of government? Those things are all based on using state coercion to bring about outcomes they find desirable. That isn’t anarchism. It is the same thing Democrats/progs want, you just differ very slightly over a few things on how you want to use state based coercion. The great divide between the duopoly high liberals claim exist is illusory.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      I’ve already addressed this but will so again. They aren’t anarchist or radicals. Yes, they “live in little protected spheres…” but that is what’s called “democracy” and is inherent in the current system. You attack them for pursuing their own selfish interests, you attack the system as it’s designed. I have no problem with that at all, but I don’t think that’s your intent.Report

  6. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Okay… sorry… I couldn’t get past the video for lie #1. Can someone explain to me why the female host is wearing a cheerleading outfit? I mean, seriously? WHAT THE FUCK, FOX NEWS!!!Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Can someone explain to me why the female host is wearing a cheerleading outfit?

      Isn’t it obvious?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Okay… we know why. But I’d like to hear FNC or one of its true believers offer up a defense that doesn’t include something about political correctness, calling me gay for even asking, or something-something freedom.

        At the very least, we can now put FNC where it belongs: in the bargain bin with the straight-to-VHS hit “Bring it On 8: Bringing the Brought”.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Okay… we know why.

        Yeah. Cheerleaders need to wear the Required Uniform. I just don’t understand how Doocy gets away with wearing suits. Shouldn’t he be dressed in an cute elephant costume and speak to us through one of those big colorful cones?Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Her g-string was at the dry-cleaners.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        I thought g-strings were for sluts?

        No… wait… that’s birth control.Report

      • Avatar Will H. says:

        Clinical trials have shown buttsecs to be a remarkably effective form of birth control.
        And you know what that means . . .
        Democrats trying to give it to everyone, plans to keep it behind the pharmacy counter forthcoming, and Rush berating others while partaking himself.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        I strongly suspect Rush Limbaugh was himself the unholy product of clandestine buttsecks.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        A rectopic pregnancy?Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        Damn, BP. I wish you wouldn’t have said “Limbaugh.”

        I was kind of looking forward to the Rush fans descending after Will’s comment.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        ’tis a miracle, Father Murray. Ye wouldna believe wot I joost saw coomin’ oota Ronald Reagan’s arse!Report

      • Avatar Will H. says:

        It didn’t occur to me they were Counterparts.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        In high school, there was a contest for students to design a poster promoting safe sex.

        My submission showed a stick figure illustration of two people having buttsecks. Caption: “Do you think this hurts?”
        Next panel showed a woman giving birth.
        Caption: “Try this.”

        I was turned away when attempting to submit it.

        I ended up tossing the thing under my bed. Years later, my mom found it. Given that it was on a large piece of poster board, she somehow got it into her head that I had been attempting to solicit buttsecks by holding this sign up at baseball games, rock concerts, and the like.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        A long time ago (not really), in a country far away (not Japan) the government decided to pay a video game company to make an educational video game about stds. When released, it promptly got banned from the xbox.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        @kazzy — “Given that it was on a large piece of poster board, she somehow got it into her head that I had been attempting to solicit buttsecks by holding this sign up at baseball games, rock concerts, and the like.”

        That was YOU?

        (You were kinda cute back then.)Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Normally, I’m all for bashing Fox News but this entire weak has been too depressing to excited over the usual sexism and hypocrisy of the conservative establishment. When can I live in a sane, governable country?Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      … precisely.Report

  7. Avatar North says:

    Todd, I think you might want to expand on #8 or elaborate. Not only are conservatives telling the young that they’d be better off financially by just paying the fine, they also add that young people can always opt into the ACA once they have gotten ill. This, of course, is also a whopper. If you get sick and opt into the ACA it won’t kick in unless you opt in during the enrollment period. So sure, you can just buy in once you get sick, so long as you schedule getting sick or wounded during the enrollment period. If you get sick or hurt outside of that window then all those hospital bills will land on you. Call it lie 8.5 maybe.Report

  8. Avatar zic says:

    Space awesome.

    I want to add something clever, but clever is not in me now; overwhelmed by disgust. The GOP is not entitled to their own set of facts.

    And I’d like to add GOP lie #12, “The shut down isn’t about scary brown people who don’t deserve help.Report

  9. Avatar Mike H Rice says:

    I don’t fully choose a side of the aisle and stick with it… I’ve never fully understood why it’s so often seen as a failing

    Because no one likes someone who is wishy-washy.

    Government Shutdown Lie #7: “Obamacare forces young, healthy people to pay the hospital bills of the old and sick; that’s called Socialism.”

    No, that’s called insurance.

    Only if it is voluntary. This “lie” is 100 percent accurate.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Yeah, I think there’s room to disagree on this. Forcing people to purchase insurance might be socialism, but having young (or healthy, really) people subsidize sick ones is just insurance. I’d call it a stretcher.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Wrong, and rather painfully so:

      Workers comp, auto liability, medical malpractice, commercial construction liability, product liability, professional bonding… there are many, many forms of insurance that are mandatory. That doensn’t make them “not insurance.”Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        I’d quibble in that those are only mandatory IF some other action is undertaken.

        With the new health insurance mandate, the only action that need be undertaken is being alive.

        So, there is a difference. Whether that makes it evil or socialism or whatever, I’ll leave to others.

        Thing is, as I believe Rose pointed out… even if it is socialism… so what?Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        @kazzy – See below, here.

        You are confusing two different things. The pooling of risk is not socialism. Period. The way you pay for that pool may (or may not) be socialism, but pooling risk is by its very definition insurance.

        If it seems like I’m quibbling over technical BS, I’m not. Part of the reason nothing productive gets done on this front is that politicians and voters alike don’t take the freaking time to understand – even at a shallow level – what the hell they’re talking about before they decide what to do when remaking/tweaking/letting alone a breaking, nationwide insurance system.

        It’s never going to get properly fixed (by either free market or the govt.) if everyone on both sides continues to think basic principles of insurance don’t matter.Report

      • Avatar Will H. says:

        I’ll insert this objection here.

        At any other time in history, I would have the right to wander off into the mountains for five years or better, should I care to do so, and completely disengage.
        With Obamacare, I do such a thing, and I’m subject to penalty (and due to the IRS collecting the penalty, other assessments as well) immediately should I forswear my disengagement and return to civilization.
        It’s a head tax, plain and simple.

        I didn’t walk into a store and buy anything today.
        Did I engage in economic activity by doing so?
        When adjudication of statutes becomes so cross-grained to common sense, tossing the statute is a sensible option.

        That said, though there are things about Obamacare that bug, I think some manner of change is due, and I don’t expect the program to remain in current form for an extended period.

        Additionally, Rose’s article has an idiosyncrasy common among the Left– that of conflating (inordinately, in my view) “health care” with “health insurance,” where the two are not the same.
        Of course, one might expect some degree of health care from health insurance; but the extent that expectation is reasonable is another matter.

        Health care is something I support generally.
        Health insurance isn’t a thing I particularly support.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot9 says:

        Actually, Will if you return to society and document that you had no income during those years (which you might have to do if the IRS started to wonder why you hadn’t filed income taxes), you would be exempt from the fee for violating the mandate.

        If you don’t have to file income taxes, you are exempt from the ACA tax:

        If you did have income during those years, you will have to pay back taxes and an added (assuming you do this a few years from now and how much you earn while eating snakes) 2.5% income tax for each year you went all-Thoreau.

        And do note, that when you went Thoreau, had you hurt yourself and come limping into a hospital, that hospital has to treat you, and all the while has to be ready to treat you, regardless of your insurance status. So, if you have money, the government requires you to pay for that hospital to be prepared to help you if you get hurt by mandating you to buy insurance, enrolling in Medicaid, or paying a small additional income tax.

        If you forfeit your citizenship and leave the U.S., then you don’t have to pay.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        If I was trying to sell anyone on reforms to health care policy, I’d simply start with Individual Mandate and walk them through the statistics. Everyone will eventually need some health care. We already have “free” health care: go to an emergency room, they have to treat you. EMTALA. Demonstrate how awful this approach is, inefficient and overpriced. once people get a grip on how EMTALA has distorted the price of health care, they’ll see the need for reforms.

        The worst thing about Obamacare is how stupidly it was sold to America. Basic health care should be as simple as paying your taxes. Want more health care? You can buy it, pay for it over time, or buy insurance, which becomes the most obvious route. Forcing it on people was stupid. Fining people for not enrolling: stupid.

        Get Mitt Romney to sell this stuff. He did a fine job in Massachusetts. Market oriented, common sense proposition. Obamacare is a dog’s dinner: badly prepared, rushed through, alienated millions of people, provided ammunition for Obama’s enemies — and didn’t completely fix the problem.

        I say Obamacare is a good start. But parts of it have to go away. Other parts need big fixing. Implementation has been a horror. So badly was this thing designed, it’s now a casus belli, shutting down the entire nation.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        Please allow me to clarify. I am not arguing as to whether the PPACA amounts to socialism. That term is so misused and abused that it is not particularly useful.

        My point was that health insurance as it is/will be under PPACA is different than auto insurance et al. because the former requirement is a conditional one.

        IF you choose to drive a car, THEN you must have auto insurance.
        IF you choose to practice medicine, THEN you must have malpractice insurance.

        With the new health insurance mandate, the only “if” is if you are alive or not.

        I, personally, have some issues with that.

        Now, I recognize that there are some goods/services we are “mandated” to purchase via the tax system. I don’t have to buy fire insurance because I de facto have it via taxes, something I cannot opt out of. Perhaps this is a distinction without a difference, but I would have rather seen health insurance structured thusly than the model the PPACA landed on.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        Kazzy: Actually, you require health insurance if you CHOOSE to avail yourself of health care in the US.

        Which is, pretty bluntly, the one thing that everyone is going to do in their lives.

        I admit, it’d be simpler just to tax everyone and run single-payer or nationalize the whole system. Which would cheerfully avoid your moral problem.

        But then that makes your moral problem seem more like a technicality. The act of taking money from you, without your choice, and then providing you healthcare in return — is it okay if it’a a tax and a national system? But morally wrong if it’s a mandate and a private insurance system?

        So like..Britain or France is morally okay, but Germany is not?Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        We already have “free” health care: go to an emergency room, they have to treat you.

        Certainly they have to stabilize you. But if you show up with a cough and the CAT scan says “lung cancer”, they can tell you that you’ve got six months to live and discharge you. And they’re entitled to try to collect from you — if you’ve got assets and income, it may be a very non-free visit.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        Even if you never plan to see the doctor, you must still pay for insurance OR pay the fine.

        I’m not sure the mandate rises to the love of a moral issue for me… but it doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t like the idea of the government saying, “You must buy a product from one of these private suppliers.” Can I square this with my acceptance of tax funds paying for public services? I’m not sure. As I said, that may be a distinction without a difference, but one sits much better with me than the other. The public/private thing may be part of that.

        I’ll be honest and say I haven’t fully thought it through. I just know that since I learned about the mandate (and this is going back to shortly after the election when a friend of mine working in a then-Congressman’s office was helping to draft the legislation), it did not sit well with me.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot9 says:

        Michael Cain,

        Yeah, but people can (and often have to) escape the gigantic bill by declaring bankruptcy, which means the hospital doesn’t get paid.

        And when people put off surgeries and treatments until they become emergencies, that costs more in emergency care than we would spend in preventative care, and a portion of that emergency care is never paid for, either by giving fake info to the hospital or by declaring bankruptcy after treatment.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot9 says:


        “You must buy a product from one of these private suppliers.”

        You know, that isn’t how the mandate really works. (Though Scalia agrees with you, IIRC.) Effectively, the mandate increases nominal tax rates for everyone (by a flat amount or percentage, depending on whether it is 2014, 2015, or later, and depending on your earnings), but you get a tax credit that covers all of that new tax as long as you have health insurance. If you don’t make enough to pay taxes, and you don’t have to file, you don’t have t pay the new tax either.

        However, the D’s, for obvious reasons, didn’t want to say they were raising taxes on everyone and then giving credits to incentive people to get health insurance. They preferred the Heritage Foundation’s rhetoric about how part of the problem in the system was freeloaders who didn’t want to buy health insurance when they were healthy, but would buy it when they were sick, and would use free clinics and emergency rooms that were paid for by the rest of us. (In the primaries, Obama was against this rhetoric of saying the problem was free-riders who need to be fined and against the mandate in general, but he gave in when he became president.) This rhetorical description was thought by Blue Dogs to be something that would make the ACA more appealing to conservatives who might then vote for it. (Hahahahahaha, how wrong they were. Conservatives hate it because it is tinged with associations to team other guys.)

        If the R’s wanted, they could offer to restructure the mandate as a tax credit while also restructuring the tax code to bring in more revenue (and flatten nominal rates, if that floats your boat). This would change nothing about the mandate except how it is described, nominally. (Actually, it would make it easier for the IRS to enforce the mandate/credit/whatever-you-call-it.)

        When there is a tax credit for doing something, we don’t say that you must do that. The so-called mandate merely applies to people who don’t want to take advantage of the (let’s call it) “I got health insurance credit,” who also make enough money to pay taxes.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot9 says:

        Here is a better way to put it.

        The so-called mandate is just a law where everyone gets a new sort of tax credit/deduction that allows them to lower their total-federal-income-tax-owed-before-deductions-and-credits stated on their 1040, only if they have health insurance. This is different from other credits and deductions in the tax code that are entered on the 1040 and then subtracted from the total-federal-income-tax-owed-before-deductions-and-credits to determine how much you actually owe in federal income taxes.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot9 says:

        “You must buy a product from one of these private suppliers.”

        I think you can buy an individual plan not on the exchange, too (there must be some process to certify that it is a good enough plan to satisfy the mandate, I would guess), to avoid the mandate, though you wouldn’t get the subsidies (or the negotiated prices of the exchange). Not sure that you’re denying that, I just wanted to raise this issue. You can buy from any insurance provider who will offer you a good enough product.

        I might be wrong about this. A quick Google didn’t answer the question.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        Regarding “… one of these private suppliers”, what I really meant was “… a private supplier.”

        I see your argument about viewing this as a tax/tax credit situation. I’ve actually made that argument and think it makes the whole thing more palatable (and likely avoided the whole Constitutional challenge). More broadly, I generally disagree with dictating social policy via the tax code, but I accept that that is where we are currently at.

        I also recognize that health care and health insurance is somewhat of a unique situation. One’s own health is simultaneously deeply personal AND a social issue. I do not like the idea of legislating healthy behavior, either through laws or the tax code. I do not like the idea of turning sick, injured, or dying people away from ERs and hospitals because of something-something-personal responsibility. I do not like that so many people can’t or don’t have health insurance. I do not like health insurance is coupled with employment. I do not like the government telling me that I have to buy something on the private market.

        All of these violate one principle I hold or another. Some of them are in conflict with one another. I don’t know that there is a perfect solution. I think the status quo before PPACA was very imperfect and straight up wrong in some areas. I think the PPACA is imperfect and straight up wrong in some areas. As I understand it, my sense is that the latter is better than the former, but time will tell.

        However, my initial initial initial point is that people can be opposed to the mandate for reasons wholly unrelated to “socialism”. And, separate from that, even if the mandate is a form of socialism (which I don’t think it is), that doesn’t make it necessarily wrong or evil. Socialism isn’t inherently wrong or evil.

        Also, most people don’t know what socialism is.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot9 says:

        Hey Kazzy,

        I get you.

        But there are only so many options:

        1. The government buys health insurance for everyone. (Canada)

        2. The government buys everyone their healthcare directly. (UK)

        3. The government helps the poor and the sick who can’t afford their high premiums buy health insurance by a.) subsidizing the poor, b.) requiring insurance companies to not charge the sick too much for insurance (community rating), c.) incentivizing (via the mandate or tax credit) everyone to have insurance to prevent people from free riding and waiting until they are sick and getting the insurance then (at the rate the government is creating), and d) (optional) incentivizing empoyers to offer health insurance to their employees. (Obamacare)

        4. The government a.) requires everyone to have health savings accounts by law (infringement of liberty to do with your money what you want), b.) helps the poor and sick who can’t save enough to pay their bills, c.) sets price controls on healthcare providers. (Singapore, which might be more freedom-killing than the ACA)

        5. The government tolerates a percentage (will be a higher percentage as health costs get higher and as economic inequality grows) of the poor not getting healthcare or only emergency healthcare. (China and the U.S. currently)

        There are some variations of each, but that is all the options. IMO 5. is inexcusably unfair and immoral and, as we have seen, incredibly expensive. Singapore’s system is likely unconstitutional, and politically infeasible given that people would have to give up their employer-provided health insurance. The U.S. voters are too right-wing in general still to accept 1 or 2, so again politically impossible.

        That leaves us with 3., which -all in all- most people won’t even notice day to day, year to year, except the sick and the poor who don’t currently have health insurance. That sounds like a pretty awesome compromising and moderate solution to one of the most devastating problems facing the U.S. to me.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        I would probably choose 2 than 1 than 3. The main problem with the PPACA (and any reform effort) is that it is trying to fix a system that is royally fucked. It is ultimately a fool’s errand. My hunch is that the PPACA will get us somewhere better than the previous status quo, especially if it is allowed to proceed without interference… but that is just a hunch.

        If we were to start from scratch, it is unlikely we’d end up with either the PPACA or the prior status quo.

        I get what you’re saying and think, ultimately, you and I are not far apart. The difference that appears is largely a practical vs principle thing. I don’t oppose the law. I just have issues with some pieces of it.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot9 says:


        “If we were to start from scratch”

        One downside of the American political system, with all its choke points for legislation, is that it is almost entirely impossible to remake an important system from scratch. Change must be small and incremental.

        In a parliamentary system, you can ram through a bigger, systematic, from scratch remake of, for example, a healthcare system.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        the main problem with health care reform is that it’s trying to fix a different problem.Report

    • Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

      Taxpayers have been paying for those seeking emergency care, but unable to pay, long before Obamacare.Report

  10. Avatar Scott Fields says:

    Lie #3 might be expanded to say “Democrats forced the government shutdown, Republicans have actively been trying to prevent it, yet the President refuses to even negotiate with us.

    The most pernicious part of this whole debacle is where the Republican have drawn the line on what counts as compromise and how the courtier press is far too often carrying their water for them. At no point has negotiation been any part of this. This has been about extortion starting back when the Republicans refused to allow the Senate budget bill to go to conference. They wouldn’t allow it, so they wouldn’t lose the leverage they are trying to apply now via a fiscal crisis.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      To the Republicans, compromise is “heads I win, tails you loose.” Giving the Democratic Party anything that they want is simply unacceptable to these people. Its all or nothing. The Clean CR is based on GOP-approved sequester spending levels and the Republicans are still demanding at least a delay in Obamacare.

      Fish-heads, they nothing more than a collection of fish-heads who are willing to destroy the world to get what they want. We should make all of them live in France on welfare payments for the rest of their lives.Report

      • Avatar Scott Fields says:

        Senator Cruz is out today saying the Republicans have comprised because they first wanted to repeal the ACA and now they only want to defund it. The generosity is almost too much to bear.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

        I’m torn between wanting to see Ted Cruz get the nomination in 2016 and lose for being the world’s biggest asshole, and being afraid he might actually win.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot9 says:

        The defunding but not overturning is like leaving the dead-unfunded corpse of Obamacare on a spike for all future healthcare reforms to see and fear.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        Giving the Democratic Party anything that they want is simply unacceptable to these people.

        Have you been paying any attention at all for the last eighty years? Per-capita social spending, adjusted for inflation, has been increasing relentlessly for generations. The Democrats have been getting what they want, over and over again, for longer than anyone here has been alive.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Let’s stipulate to lots more social spending. Does corporate welfare count as social spending? Isn’t the mortgage interest deduction social spending? Wasn’t the bailout social spending?

        Social spending, unlike military spending, actually returns to the economy and doesn’t stack up obsolete hardware at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. Let’s just consider all these expensive weapons systems in terms of what they do for Society. Some of those weapons systems were mighty useful. Others, let’s just state this for the record, were not. They were expensive boondoggles, built to solve problems we never had. The military didn’t like them, some of them got people killed because they were so bad. The top half of M60-A2 would periodically jump out of its turret ring and shear the tank crew in half. The crews refused to fire it after a while. Got so bad the IG sent out a test crew to fire it — and it sheared their crew in half.

        Don’t tell me social spending is the problem, to the exclusion of every other sort of wasteful spending. We’ve had two big-ass wars lately. Very expensive and stupidly fought wars, waged on the credit card. Most nations have to raise their taxes to fight wars. Not the USA under the Republicans.

        And yet you have the temerity, the ignorant gall — to call social spending a problem. Even if every dime of it was wasted, which it isn’t, every dime of it goes into an American pocket and spent in an American store. Much of it goes to the families of our troops in uniform, who, because of the crappy wages we pay them, qualify for it.

        Don’t bring up the Democrats and Social Spending if you want to be taken seriously. Eisenhower, a man who would know about such things, predicted the rise of the military-industrial complex and warned about it. The Republicans have their own form of social spending, all right. Just a different part of society. Some “social” spending is wasted money, very much along the lines of the military industrial complex’s waste and fraud. But the Democrats arrange for the money to be spent in America and not turning billions of dollars into bomb craters in far-away countries.Report

  11. Avatar James K says:

    Government Shutdown Lie #7: “Obamacare forces young, healthy people to pay the hospital bills of the old and sick; that’s called Socialism.”

    No, that’s called insurance.

    No it’s called cross-subsidisation. There’s no reason why health insurance should be structured so people pay the same amount regardless of risk, and I think a lot of what’s wrong with your health care market is caused by it. That’s not to say it’s socialism, and that’s not to say the Republicans should be trying to break the government over it, but insurance doesn’t have to work that way, and there are good reasons why it shouldn’t.Report

    • Avatar RTod says:

      But they don’t pay the same amount. They pay less, but are still within a fixed range that forces the healthy to pool risk with the sick.

      Every health insurance group works in this same fashion.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        The fairest kind of insurance is where everyone pays their own medical bills, because then no one subsidizes anyone.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        There are definitions of “fair” that involve similar concepts.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        The fairest kind of insurance is where everyone pays their own medical bills, because then no one subsidizes anyone.
        That’s the one where anyone who isn’t rich dies when they get cancer. And if you don’t earn enough, the ER tosses you on the street to die because you’re not gonna be able to pay back your ICU time if they saved you.

        Americans disagree on calling that ‘fair’.

        Since we rejected that as fair, we move onto a different definition of ‘fair’.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        It would make more sense to appeal to “The Good”, it would seem to me. Make appeals to “Our Responsibility”, perhaps.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Make appeals to “Our Responsibility”, perhaps.

        Like our responsibility to not bug gulps? Or smoke? Or ride in the car wearing a seatbelt?

        Where does the kind of responsibility of which you speak start and stop? And what about people who are responsible, but get cancer anyway, or get hit by a bus or have a kid severely disabled, like our very own Rose?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        It seems to me that those questions and issues are more interesting than the question of whether it’s fair for cells to suffer from unregulated growth.Report

      • Avatar Stella B. says:

        When the ACA was the Republican plan, they called the individual mandate “personal responsibility”. RINOs.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot9 says:

        I think people might be missing Mike’s joke. He is describing a system where no one has health insurance, i.e. where everyone pays their own bills when they come up.Report

      • Avatar James K says:

        But there’s no need to use insurance groups. Each person should pay in their expected costs of future healthcare (plus a bit to reflect the insurer’s overheads and cost of capital). That means that insurers don’t see sick people as less profitable than healthy people, which reduces their incentive to try and get drop their sick customers.

        This is result in some people being unable to afford their insurance rates, but that’s where the government should step in – not with price control, but with income supplementation.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        Does that mean people with pre-existing conditions and/or health profiles that put them at greater risk and/or need should pay more? Even if being situated thusly is entirely out of their control (i.e., the result of the “genetic lottery)?

        That is where I struggle with your logic, though I see the appeal of it in the abstract. It is one thing to tell a smoker, “You have chosen to engage in a unhealthy habit with increased health care costs, so we are passing those along to you via your premiums.” Similarly, it is one thing to tell an aggressive driver, “You choose to drive above the posted speed limit as evidenced by your multiple speeding tickets. This increases your risk of an accident and the cost of damage in an accident. We are passing these costs along to you via your premium.” I wouldn’t really object to either of those.
        But would we say to someone born with MS, “Your condition is expensive. We’re going to need you to pay 20 times the going rate for your premiums”? I struggle with that. Going back to the auto insurance analogy, I would similarly reject charging more to met out-of-hand because of group tendencies among the different genders.Report

      • Avatar James K says:


        Does that mean people with pre-existing conditions and/or health profiles that put them at greater risk and/or need should pay more? Even if being situated thusly is entirely out of their control (i.e., the result of the “genetic lottery)?

        The reason for charging people based on their risk isn’t because it’s fair (markets don’t really do fair), it’s because of the incentives it creates. If people at high risk of being sick pay enough to make them a good bet for insurers (same as everyone else), then insurance companies would have no reason to deny sick people coverage, and would be happy to accept sick people as new customers. I believe that a lot of the perverse behaviour US insurance companies have is driven by the fact they are required to sell their services at a loss (a loss on average, not just a loss in any given year) to some people.

        When markets generate prices you feel unfair, the solution is not to force the prices to change (as that inevitably produces perverse incentives), but to use transfer payments (welfare) to redress the imbalance.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        That is why I support something more akin to what Britain has.

        However, if everyone pays insurance consistent with what they expect to claim, then why have insurance at all? Why not just pay out of pocket?Report

      • Avatar James K says:


        That is why I support something more akin to what Britain has.

        The trouble with government-run hospitals is that they depend on having a reliable government. Recent events suggest this may be a problem for the US. While I’m not a fan of having the government take over an entire industry (which is what the NHS is) , it’s still probably a better option than the system you have now, if only because I can’t conceive of a system worse than the one you have now.

        However, if everyone pays insurance consistent with what they expect to claim, then why have insurance at all? Why not just pay out of pocket?

        Insurance exists to remove uncertainty, especially around events that are very unlikely, but very costly if they do occur. For example, you have a house that’s worth $300,000 and has a 0.01% chance of burning down. That is an expected cost of $300 per year (easily affordable for a most home-owners), but if the house actually burns down, you have to come up with $300,000 which is going to be a problem. So you buy house-burning-down insurance to ensure you can afford to rebuild if the event happens. The insurance company will charge more than $300 per year, since they have overheads and costs, but you’re buying peace of mind. And since the insurance company insures a lot of people’s houses, everything averages out for them anyway.

        Small, regular health expenditures shouldn’t be insured against, because all you’re really doing is cycling your out-of-pocket payments through a 3rd party (at additional cost). Insurance is there to cover rare, catastrophic expenditures. People who can’t afford their regular health costs have a problem insurance can’t fix, direct government assistance (ideally in the form of welfare) is called for.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        I get what you’re saying.

        It’s possible Canada’s system is better. Or some hybrid of the two. Or something else entirely. But our current system is fucked. And while there is a certain fairness to what you propose (everyone pays based on their own risk), there is a certain unfairness because some people will have additional risk for reasons entirely out of their control.

        I don’t mind charging people with bad driving records more for auto insurance. Or people who build their houses in flood plains more for homeowners insurance. Hell, I don’t even mind charging smokers more for health insurance.

        But charging people with genetic abnormalities exorbitant sums to secure the treatment they need to live? Or charging people who are genetically predisposed to certain conditions more because of their higher risks? That just seems wrong to me. You note that social welfare systems can alleviate some of this, but as you clearly know about our current government, it is hard to rely upon those remaining consistent and effective.

        Part of the difficulty with government controlled industry (e.g., the American education system, the British health system) are inadequate checks-and-balances that assure both accountability and that the “right” people are making decisions. This doesn’t seem like an intractable problem, but one that too many people benefit from perpetuating.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

        I believe that a lot of the perverse behaviour US insurance companies have is driven by the fact they are required to sell their services at a loss (a loss on average, not just a loss in any given year) to some people.

        Again this is complete and utter bollocks. Insurance companies aren’t required to cover anyone until Jan. 1st 2014, and they’ve been steadily making sure everyone who loses them money gets dropped one way or another, either through manipulation of group plan pricing (to force firms using them to get rid of specific employees) or through fudging medical loss ratios to the point where high deductible insurance isn’t very useful.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        “I believe that a lot of the perverse behaviour US insurance companies have is driven by the fact they are required to sell their services at a loss (a loss on average, not just a loss in any given year) to some people.”


        I am not sure why you believe insurance companies to be perverse, or why you think they are being forced to sell products at a loss. The first is debatable, the second simply isn’t true.Report

      • Avatar Trumwill says:

        They are sort of “forced” to sell their product at a loss to certain individuals in group plans. Of course, that’s the contract they signed in order to get the business of the people they will not lose money on. But is that maybe what James is referring to?Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        Dunno, but I wouldn’t think so.

        Every insurance plan has people who they write at a loss. It’s why the insurance plans exist at all.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Yeah, but outside of group markets, insurance companies are at least allowed to assess actuarial risk. Sometimes they’ll come in above the actuarial numbers, sometimes below. But they can be charged accordingly. Not with group plans, though. It’s in the contract.

        Indeed, they can already know that they’re losing significant amounts of money on somebody and still be forced to take them on in COBRA. Of course, “forced” is here in quotation marks because they freely signed the contract that made it thus.

        But I have a theory that one of the reasons that insurance companies throw roadblocks up for COBRA coverage is precisely because they are likely to be losing money on a lot of the individuals signing up, but they don’t have a choice as to whether or not to take (or keep) them.

        I remember back on the west coast, I actually had to drive to the insurance company’s corporate headquarters to hand-deliver the check because, after all of the crap they had been pulling, it was the only way I could be assured that they would acknowledge receipt of payment.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        “Yeah, but outside of group markets, insurance companies are at least allowed to assess actuarial risk”

        But this is the point of the exchanges – to create new large group markets.

        And in a forced participation, pass-through system, there’s no disadvantage to having high losses so long as you can expect them. In fact, whether you are being paid a percentage over and above claims cost or fee-for-claim, high losses usually mean ore revenue for an insurer.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        COBRA: I did a gig for an insurance firm in the Chicagoland area. They’d provide COBRA insurance to firms. For a few pennies a life, they’d keep firms legit. But when the ex-employee tried to activate COBRA, they’d issue horrible policies with go-away prices. The only people who took them up were terminally ill.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Tod, I understand the reasoning of the exchanges. I am just pointing out the particular cases where even before PPACA (which I gather is what James is talking about) insurance companies have been obligated (contractually, though in part due to legal incentives) to insure people that they know – or would know if they could look – they are going to lose money on. And generally speaking, in these cases people are charged the same rate regardless of their risk level.

        My comments here aren’t pro-PPACA or anti-PPACA. I am mostly just pointing to what James might be talking about.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Blaise, I am confused. Aren’t COBRA prices supposed to be almost exactly what was being paid before? Meaning that, if while you were employed, your employer paid $500 a month and you paid $300 a month, for COBRA you would be charged roughly $800? (I think they might get to tack on a bit more for administration, but only a bit.)

        For our part, the rates were within reason (unlike our most recent go-around). It was just a matter of them giving us the runaround until finally we had only a few days left and I had to make the drive.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        All the law requires is to offer continuation coverage. That’s it. An offer, that’s it. They’re all terrible. COBRA, as implemented, is a scam, coming and going. The coming part: these firms are mulcted for COBRA coverage, by law. The going part: COBRA coverage is offered at go-away prices. Of the tens of thousands of continuing coverage offers I saw, only a few dozen were actually accepted.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

      There’s no reason why health insurance should be structured so people pay the same amount regardless of risk, and I think a lot of what’s wrong with your health care market is caused by it.

      Sorry James, but this is complete and utter bullocks. No one in the US has ever had it structured so people pay the same amount regardless of risk. In fact a lot of the reasons why there’s such a huge pool of uninsured people is because there are literally uninsurable people whose premiums are SO high that they’re essentially unable to afford insurance due to preexisting conditions or other issues.

      Claiming a non-existent thing as causing a problem in a market is…well, rather silly.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

        More specifically, even under PPACA rating restrictions won’t fully equalize enough to make the premium rates the same. PPACA restricts the use of the following factors previously used for rating differentiation: gender, health status, use of services. They’ll still be allowed to use age (capped at 3:1), individual vs. family enrollment, geographic area and tobacco use.

        Employers are also allowed to differentiate premium subsidies for their employees based on optional things like health improvement program participation and/or meeting fitness goals. (The spread here though is much more modest, ~30%).Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        My employer pays the same for the employee who smokes, drinks, doesn’t exercise, and eats Big Macs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as they do for the employee who is a vegetarian, health nut, and fitness fanatic.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

        Well that’s because your employer is a liberal arts college. It even has LIBERAL in the name. Bunch of commies.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @jm3z-aitch, but doesn’t that happen after the employer’s rates are determined based on the past history of the groups cost? I thought those things are worked into the rate structure, but at a higher level. It’s your employer distributing the costs evenly based on the group rating; and a smoker or heart-transplant patient in the group may very well have raised rates for everyone else, and a similar-sized group lacking that smoker and heart-transplant patient may have lower rates.Report

      • Avatar Scott Fields says:


        Isn’t this due to the way your employer has structured their provided plan versus requirements made by the insurer?

        Your employer’s incentive is to structure the plan they use in such a way as to attract the best candidates for the college, no? Maybe some of the best professors are chain-smoking fatties, so they have to sweeten the pot to get them in?? 🙂Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

        I wonder actually if the system that exists at present is because the university doesn’t know it can do things differently. Specifically the fact that it will now be allowed to change how much each employee contributes based on their own metrics for behavior….hmm.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

        This is from KFF’s primer on the subject:

        …the ACA does permit employment-based health plans to charge employees up to 30 percent more on their premiums(and potentially up to 50 percent more) if they fail to participate in a wellness program or meet specified health goals.


      • Avatar Shazbot9 says:

        Yeah, I am pretty sure that large employers have to pay based on how healthy the employees have been in the past, or based on an estimate of how healthy the employees are likely to be, given their demographics. Maybe not.

        This isn’t mandated by the government, companies and their employees (through collective bargaining often) have decided this is a compensation that should be offered, and insurance companies agree to sell insurance in that way.

        If you did it differently, the insurers would have to pay more to screen the individual employees. Not doing that saves money, which is one reason why the group rates are better than average rates for individuals not buying in an exchange.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        your employer still hires smokers?Report

    • Avatar zic says:


      That’s the one where anyone who isn’t rich dies when they get cancer. And if you don’t earn enough, the ER tosses you on the street to die because you’re not gonna be able to pay back your ICU time if they saved you.
      Americans disagree on calling that ‘fair’.

      I seem to recall a novel that addresses this topic, a classic written by Charles Dickens, called A Christmas Carol. It was Tiny Tim’s insurance plan, and the Ghost of Christmas’ Future indicated some serious concern with it.Report

    • Avatar James K says:


      Your government’s dysfunctions are going to be a problem no matter how it chooses to intervene, I guess the real point of disagreement between us is how best to address issues of fairness. Markets aren’t moral institutions, their function is not to figure out how much you “deserve” to pay for things, but rather to set prices so as to ensure supply and demand are properly matched. If the end result is unfair, then the best way to deal with that is with non-market mechanisms like welfare.Report

  12. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Boehner has been quoted as saying he’ll avoid defaulting on the federal debt…

    This is the piece that I’m fascinated with right now. Boehner is reported to have said that he’ll pass a debt ceiling bill using Democrats. At least in theory, that means something that can attract enough House Republicans to pass there, as well as pass in the Senate. I figure he gets exactly one chance at it. Such a bill needs, I think, two parts: one to raise the debt ceiling and one to appropriate funds for paying principal on maturing debt. That combination would turn the Treasury lose far enough to protect the “faith and credit”, but leave everything else in the budget that’s currently shut down untouched.

    Such a move would be pretty much throwing the Tea Party lot under the bus. Or leave them twisting in the wind, whichever is the more appropriate metaphor. Once the Treasury is set, Boehner can just let them bring bill after bill to the floor, looking worse and worse, and when his polling says the time is right, let a sane bill get voted on. None of the Tea Party people are complete dummies; they must have some basic sense of tactics, or advisers who do. The only way to avoid this would seem to be to remove Boehner from the Speakership. If nothing else, that would bring things to a screeching halt, which appears to be an acceptable state of affairs for them.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      None of the Tea Party people are complete dummies; they must have some basic sense of tactics, or advisers who do.

      I invite you to read this post again.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

      I’m actually convinced that the tea party caucus is actually really THAT stupid.

      Seriously, you care about the deficit, but are actively blowing it up by making it harder for the government to service its own debt.

      That’s like being a puritanical asshole who hates debt and therefore when he needs a line of credit DELIBERATELY going to grey market super duper high interest loan dealers to get money.

      How the fuck do these people balance their own check books?Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      I think Bohener means he would do something like the 2011 agreement and a bare but technically correct use of the Hasert rule.

      Not fully using the Democratic plan but I could be wrong.Report

    • Avatar Shazbot9 says:

      I don’t think it is stupidity on any individual’s part. Rather each intelligent actor in the system that is conservative media, think tanks, media, and the Republican party is acting in their own individual best interests (or according to what they see as good), which results in a system that is hurting those individual actors and the rest of us too.

      The party itself, so to speak, has gone insane and stupid (metaphorically) even if the people running it are sane and smart (to some degree).Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      “Such a move would be pretty much throwing the Tea Party lot under the bus.”

      If I got your scenario correct, the government is still partly shut down, but the full faith and credit of the United States is protected. Furthermore, funds for Social Security, Medicare, and the Military are for all practical purposes, fully flowing. ( Additionally, it seems now that most DoD civilians will be back at work Monday).

      Under the bus? This scenario seem to me to be the Tea Party wet dream; well, the one that doesn’t involve Fox newscasters in cheerleading outfits.Report

  13. Avatar wardsmith says:

    I’ve been happily gone from this site for many months now, and only came back to peek at Kyle’s new book (report). The one-sidedness continues as usual.

    Yes, there is a gov’t shutdown and yes, if you wear blue colored glasses (as Rtod has never removed) it is quite easy to blame everything on the Republicans. However, I’ve argued on this site going back literally four years that Obama has been completely derelict in his duty as President to submit any form of budget request to Congress to be approved or modified by them as required by law. Now some here who are blue colored apologists since the beginning of time like to pretend that the law isn’t actually a law, but that argument is bullshit. Look up the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, which primarily extended the budget process from the previous deadline of July to Oct and added some committees. However, even though the law was passed over the veto of Nixon by a Democrat supermajority, Democrats later determined that although it was a law (THEIR law) they had erroneously left out penalty provisions. Therefore, while the Democrats for years have been in flagrant violation of the law, their attitude is it ain’t illegal if there ain’t a prison term associated with it.

    Fundamentally the Republicans are NOT responsible for the government shutdown because they are refusing to pass “continuing resolutions’, which has been the vehicle this irresponsible government majority (Democrats for those not able to keep score) have used for 4 years to avoid having to answer for how they spend our money. It was always wrong, it would be wrong in a private enterprise and it is wrong today. Let the President submit an actual budget request that can be argued in Congress the way this tri-parte government was designed, or just throw in the towel and admit that we’ve left the world of representative democracy and have entered King Obama land. Democrats are of course happy that THEIR king is in charge, but as Jaybird has wisely opined, imagine that shoe on the other foot.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Oh shut up you partisan hack.Report

    • Avatar Scott Fields says:


      While you were away from the site, you must have also been away from newspapers. The Senate Democrats passed a budget for 2014 in March of this year. Since then, they have requested the formation of a conference committee to reconcile that budget with the House version. This conference is the venue to allow actual budget requests to be argued in Congress the way this tri-parte government was designed, as you rightfully demand. The President has a 2014 budget on the record too, but as you surely know, it is immaterial to the aforementioned process.

      Now, with bills having passed both chambers, what could possibly be preventing the Congressional debate that would provide answers for how the respective Parties would spend our money? It’s a good question, I think you’d agree. Maybe you could ask the House Republicans, since they’ve blocked the formation of the conference committee for 6 months now. Want to guess why? I’ll give you a hint – they wanted the threat of a government shutdown and default as leverage for the negotiations.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Oh, shut up, you partisan hack.Report

      • Avatar wardsmith says:

        Scott, the Republican House has submitted a budget every year since 2009 and once they had the majority, they passed them. Those budgets were thrown in the garbage by the garbage man Harry Reid. Now that there is a crisis (totally manufactured of course, as was the continuing resolution Budget Control Act (BCA) fiasco), Harry pretends he is the adult in the room. This is the same Harry who said, “It would be foolish for us to do a budget”. The “budget” recently passed by the Senate, with $1Trillion in new taxes has no hope whatsoever of getting through the House and this was known by one and all (including the 4 Democrat Senators who voted against it because they are up for re-election this year). Yup those blue tinted glasses are fitting very well. Meanwhile, since the House’s budget was done first, why is it the Senate “needs” the House to create the “committee”? Couldn’t the Senate just as easily create their OWN committee to “resolve” the House budget? Oh noes, that wouldn’t cause the political shitstorm the Democrats want!

        I thought I had written something different about Obama, but seem to have neglected the word “reasonable” in front of budget as in the president hasn’t submitted a reasonable budget in four years. What I mean by that is simple, even when Obama had a supermajority in Congress (both sides) his “budget” LOST with not ONE Democrat voting in favor of it! When your budget “proposal” loses 97-0 with abstentions you haven’t submitted a legitimate budget proposal. Ergo, you aren’t doing your job as President. Ergo you’d better hope you have an ignorant, illiterate voting block backing you. Ergo Democrats will win the Presidency from here on out because they’ve created the educational system that is Guaranteed to produce ignorant illiterate voters.

        Tod is right that Republicans can’t win the Presidency but he is wrong on the why. Stupid voters plus a stupid sycophant press = stoopid presidency. And when the economy well and truly comes crashing down, you’ll all act surprised.

        2008 was just a hiccup.Report

      • Ward- the Senate budget may well have no chance of passing the House, but the same is true of the House’s budget in the Senate. That is not abnormal – to the contrary, it’s the norm, as it is fairly uncommon for the two houses to pass identical legislation on the first go-around. When the house and Senate pass two bills on the same subject that are not identical, the next step is to iron out the differences, which is done in a conference committee. The bill that comes out of conference then needs to get passed by both houses, which is what almost always happens. The thing with a conference committee is that it can’t work unless both houses appoint conferees.

        The other thing about bills reported out of conference is that they have to get voted on. Boehner didn’t want to appoint conferees because the outcome of any conference was going to be unacceptable to the Tea Party faction, who don’t seem to realize that they are a minority of one house of Congress but acceptable to a majority of the House.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @gaelen, from what I’ve been reading about ACA, the problem with the president’s budget was obviously its length, about 2,000 pages. The alternative submitted by House Republicans was 56 pages, mostly with fill-in-the-blanks numbers.

        You see, the length of a document is what matters; a big document means big government. A small document means small government, and is obviously superior. This is the criteria that matters; not the actual content of those documents.

        So if we take ACA, and shrink it down to microfiche-size print and have it on three pages, it would be an acceptable law. Same with a budget, as long as it doesn’t give anything to moochers but supports the captains of industry.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      You mean a budget request like this?

      Or this (Sorry for the wikipedia link, but much of the government-provided information is unavailable because the government is shut down.)Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      However, I’ve argued on this site going back literally four years that Obama has been completely derelict in his duty as President to submit any form of budget request to Congress to be approved or modified by them as required by law.

      Ward, he’s submitted a budget request every year. He’s been late a bunch of times. Is that what you’re complaining about?Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      “I’ve been happily gone from this site for many months now, and only came back to peek at Kyle’s new book (report).”

      @wardsmith: I will hold off reading the rest till later in the weekend; I’m pretty sure I will disagree, and will no doubt have a response.

      Till then, I will simply say this:

      It’s good to see you back, my friend, if only briefly. I’ve missed you.Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

      And here’s link to the President’s 2013 budget proposal. I’ve no blue collared glasses and I’ve been disgusted by governance via continuing resolution. But where are you getting this idea that Obama has not submitted budgets? Can you please provide your source, now that contradicting sources have been provided?Report

      • Avatar Will H. says:

        Just to say ‘Thank you’ to Mr. Aitch at this point, for making me learn to present arguments better by strict observance of issues. (though I’ll say we haven’t always agreed on what “the issues” are . . . ) Discussion in this manner has helped to hone my presentation skills in off-site areas to great extent, and I am sincerely thankful.
        Nice work.

        And I echo the sentiments of Tod & Zic as expressed above.Report

      • Avatar LWA says:

        Maybe this was the source:


      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Cool. That makes my day.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        Just out of curiosity, how have Obama’s budgets fared in both the house and the Senate? All I remember is the ’12 getting zero votes.Report

  14. Avatar zic says:

    Comment stuck in moderation for two links, one to OMB and one to Wikipedia. Sigh.Report

  15. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    No, that’s called insurance.

    See Major Zed’s comment on your original post on this topic. Subsidizing the premiums is very different from using premium payments to cover actual health care costs.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      He was wrong then, and he is wrong now. They are actually two different things:

      Using rich people’s money to pay poor people’s premium = Socialism

      Using healthy people’s premium to pay sick people’s healthcare costs = Insurance

      The PPACA does both of these things. But that does not mean that spreading risk is socialism – it isn’t. It’s insurance. No matter how how you want to queue up your talking points.

      The difference is actually really, really important.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        Nice comment, Tod. Well said.Report

      • Avatar kenB says:

        Tod, I think you’re mixing up two different things. It’s true that an insurer uses the premiums collected from all its clients to pay the claims of the ones who’ve had an adverse event requiring payment, so if you want to call that insurance, go ahead. But nothing in that arrangement requires that the less risky people pay for the risk of the more risky people.

        Take life insurance — if you’re 25 and healthy and I’m 55 and horribly unhealthy, I’ll pay a dramatically higher premium than you. If we’re covered by the same company, then both our premiums go into the same bucket of money to pay out any claims, but our premiums are each based on our own risk profile. The healthy young person is not paying for the risk of the unhealthy old person.Report

      • Avatar kenB says:

        Crud, screwed up the italics…Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        (as Inspector Clouseau) Your italic problame — is solvayed.Report

      • Avatar kenB says:

        Merci beaucoup!Report

  16. First, Obamacare is a cure far worse than the disease, devised by an anti-American radical trying to destroy — or fundamentally transform — a once great nation.

    Second, Thomas Sowell analyzed it best:

    “You cannot blame other people for not giving you everything you want. And it is a fraud to blame them when you refuse to use the money they did vote, even when it is ample to pay for everything else in the government.
    ??”When Barack Obama keeps claiming that it is some new outrage for those who control the money to try to change government policy by granting or withholding money, that is simply a bald-faced lie. You can check the history of other examples of “legislation by appropriation” as it used to be called.”

  17. Avatar aaron david says:

    The problem Tod, is that most of these aren’t lies. They are differences of opinion (albeit very strongly held opinions.) I know you think they are Brazen Untruths, but 2,3,5,7-10 come down to differences of opinion, and the other three are what all politicians tell you when they want you to vote with them.
    I’m a Libertarian. I think both parties are awful. But calling a difference of opinion a lie, well, in my eyes that is where our problems start.Report

    • Avatar Scott Fields says:

      Sorry, aaron, but I must strongly disagree. Our problems start when objective facts are dismissed as opinion merely by assertion.

      If you could back up your claim that any of these ten statements is true with the same level of care that Tod has used to make his case that they are lies, then perhaps you’d have a point. If you can not, then kindly don’t make that claim.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        Government Shutdown Lie #8: “Young people would be better off financially paying a fine and opting out of Obamacare.”
        Tod presents nothing other than his opinion that this is bad. He links to a post he wrote on how insurance works, but doesn’t explain how this helps my finances He doesn’t like the ads, but doesn’t explain how this helps my personal finances.
        You might think that paying into this is best, but I don’t. You might find them contemptible, as Tod does. I don’t. I would prefer to save my money, for a rainy day of my choice. My Choice.
        I am not going to go through Tod’s points one by one, because it would be pointless. You wont agree anyhow. I would love to be wrong about this, but sadly wont be. And that is my point. These are open to interpretation, and that saying that someone who doesn’t share your opinion is a liar is pretty sad.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        I think you make a good point here regarding objective vs subjective analysis. Unfortunately, your unwillingness to go point by point ultimately means Tod’s post goes unchallenged. If you can make the arguments, you ought to make them.Report

      • Avatar Scott Fields says:


        I’ll grant there is a healthy dose of Tod’s opinion in #8, but there’s fairly clear rationale behind that opinion, so it strikes me as more substantive than an assertion. And I don’t think it’s a matter of opinion to claim the objectives of Generation Opportunity are to undermine the ACA – they profess as much. The financial well-being of young people is not their interest in the matter. I don’t know that it would be better if you bought insurance or not – I agree it’s your choice. But, I admit surprise that you’d call accepting that additional risk makes you financially better off.

        As for your claim that I won’t be convinced by your arguments, that too is an assertion absent any evidence.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        Kazzy, I have a very busy day today (yay, Banking,) and putting together an analysis of each point, and not just a quick rundown of one, will take a bit of time. That said, I will see what I can put together in the next few days.
        But in the meantime, I am going to push back on you. Tell me what the single, non debatable fact of point 10 is. And keep in mind, just as I do not get to determine Liberal policy and opinion,Tod does not get to determine Conservative policy or opinion.
        Scott, you are right, my assertion that you would not be swayed by my arguments is just that, an assertion. Thank you for not calling it a lie.Report

      • Avatar LWA says:

        I would love to meet a financial advisor who suggests that as a life plan- “Go without insurance! Its totally worth it!

        Its the same as retirement- No matter how special a snowflake someone imagines themselves to be, over the long run there is no better strategy than putting away money and staying insured.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Find a way for a financial planner to get 2% of something, watch him start suggesting it to clients.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        Seriously? Show me one professional financial planner, money manager or investment councilor that recommends to their client to not buy health insurance. Just one. Anywhere.

        What makes it a lie, though, is this: There’s not one single Congress Critter, Fox News exec or Koch brother who would advise his or her own children or grandchildren, “You know, I want to really encourage you to not have health insurance. And when you have kids of your own, don’t insure them either. It’s a sucker’s game. Just roll those dice”

        As to JB’s point: I have never met a financial planner who sells health insurance, and I know a hell of a lot of financial planners that work on a fee basis. Don’t know a single one that recommend to their clients that they be naked on the health, home or auto insurance fronts.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        Tod, appeals to authority are not facts.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Just because you can’t point to a physicist that believes in phlogiston …Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        Aaron, it’s not an appeal to authority fallacy unless the authority isn’t actually an authority.

        Appealing to Richard Feynman about physics is not an appeal to authority fallacy.

        Appealing to the financial planning community about the fiscal benefits of insurance is not an appeal to authority fallacy. You can assume there’s a bit of self-interest in there, certainly, but that’s not the same thing.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        “Appealing to the financial planning community about the fiscal benefits of insurance is not an appeal to authority fallacy. You can assume there’s a bit of self-interest in there, certainly, but that’s not the same thing.”
        I see what you are saying Patrick, but I think my point still stands. Tod may know all the financial planners in all the gin joints, and they might all recommend the same thing, but they don’t necessarily know my finances, and what is important to me. Tod is still not presenting a fact.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Don’t know a single one that recommend to their clients that they be naked on the health, home or auto insurance fronts.

        Of course not. 2% of “naked” is “even more naked”.

        Edit: my joke prior should have taken this tidbit into account earlier. I apologize.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @aaron-david perhaps the problem here is that you’re only thinking of a narrow aspect of you, as you conduct your life in good health.

        Without insurance, if you have a serious medical problem, you will be billed the absolute top price for the care you get. If you cannot afford to pay for that care, it will be absorbed into the system, and drive the prices for everyone else up. This is one of the reasons that costs for care are so high in this country, your potential inability to pay for your care gets rolled into the prices charged for my care.

        That is the #1 problem here: you’re evaluating this as if you’re not going to have a problem that requires treatment, and potentially expensive treatment, you’re failing to consider the cost to you if such a thing occur without insurance, and failing to consider where that cost will be shifted if you cannot afford that care.

        But you’re sure that should the need arise, you’ll have access to that care.

        Sorta reminds me of TBTF bankers.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        To be fair, Zic, we don’t know that this is the case.

        There are, to be sure, people right now in this country who believe that they should have the right not to buy insurance, and they believe most solidly that if they ever got sick in a way they couldn’t pay for it, they would not expect the hospital to actually cover their costs.

        Whether or not they’d still believe that or expect that when they actually got sick is something else.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        If I were to criticize, I would look at this:

        There’s not one single Congress Critter, Fox News exec or Koch brother who would advise his or her own children or grandchildren, “You know, I want to really encourage you to not have health insurance. And when you have kids of your own, don’t insure them either. It’s a sucker’s game. Just roll those dice”

        I’d wonder idly whether the Congress Critters, Execs, or Kochs have descendants who have access, for some reason, to health insurance plans that most of us thought we’d be getting when we agitated for the PPACA.

        Because, indeed, we’d be fools to not sign up for what we thought we’d be getting.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @patrick, that’s probably true, to some degree. I know a man in his early 60’s, has heart trouble, needs a by-pass. Has had two trips to the ER, where they’ve basically saved his life, but will not have the surgery recommended due to lack of insurance.

        Instead, he’s gambling; waiting until he hits 65 and socialized medicine will cover it.

        I do not know how the bills from his two ER trips were handled; I doubt he could afford them; and would guess the cost was absorbed into the system, driving the costs for others up.

        But here’s the rub: if you’re having a heart attack in a public place, onlookers are not going to just let you die; they’re going to call 911 for an ambulance. You’re not having insurance, the decision to let you die, would then be a burden of decision on them while you’re in crisis.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        Oh, I agree, that’s fundamentally a flaw in the “well, just let ’em die, even if it’s me” philosophy… it’s practically not possible to verify insurance coverage or ability to pay before beginning emergency care.

        One legitimate counter to this is, “You can provide emergency, life-sustaining care, and if the person cannot afford to pay the bill, the hospital bills the government and the government attaches the cost of the emergency care directly onto the tax liability of the person without coverage” Then the first responders and emergency care workers can do their job, people can opt-out of buying insurance if they want, but they still can’t free ride entirely.

        You’d then have to have a way to cover the people who would never make enough money to pay off their medical bills, but those costs and whatnot would be inside the federal tax system and revenue streams instead of sitting out in the healthcare marketplace where they get cost-shifted to other consumers.

        It certainly would make people hate the tax man more, but it’s about the only way I can see to fairly cover all of everyone’s bases, if you’re actually concerned with freedom to opt-out.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @patrick, your argument here is basically why I suspect the penalty will morph into a medicaid buy-in.

        Right now, medicaid is often more generous than private insurance; it pays providers less per service, but tends to pay for more services more easily than private insurance. I expect to see less services covered — some base line of basic care established (death panels!) — and the penalty turning into ‘you get this stuff, but nothing more.’

        I also expect that this same Medicaid buy-in will funnel many people into clinical trials to measure efficacy, and that there will be periodic spouts of outrage over control/test group placement, etc.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        Tod may know all the financial planners in all the gin joints, and they might all recommend the same thing, but they don’t necessarily know my finances, and what is important to me.

        If you’re making a normative claim here, that’s true. But, I don’t know that this is actually relevant to Tod’s original point.

        If you honestly believe that it is in your best interests not to carry insurance, that’s your utility calculation to perform. I happen to think that the actual conservative principle would be to carry a proper amount of insurance to cover (at the very least) your spouse and dependents in the event of a life-altering event.

        It would be possible (see comments elsewhere on this subthread) to allow individuals to opt-out but still prevent in-market cost shifting to other consumers. Would you be open to such a system?

        Maybe that mighty-might have been a good amendment to pursue back when they were building the thing for those who have a principled objection on the basis of freedom.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        Zic, actually, I am presenting this in a theoretical frame work. The point I am trying to make here is that Tod is presenting opinions, not facts. Facts are indisputable claims, such as “Aaron was born in 1971.” If you dispute this, I present my birth certificate. “Tod thinks,” or “all financial planners recommend” does not show any facts. It show opinions, indicated by the words thinks and recommends. Patrick may or may not be right about this being a true logical fallacy, (and the more I think about it, the more I disagree with him,) it still does not make anything Tod said a fact. Opinions do not make facts.
        There are points in Tod’s post that are inescapably lies, such as #1. There are others, such as #2, that Tod even states are true. What he points to as the lie in that point is strictly a matter of opinion. Tod feels it is misleading, but I don’t. The key word here is feels.
        If Tod had said “Here are the 10 things that Conservatives are saying that I think are Evil” I wouldn’t have a problem with the post. I might disagree (or not) with it, but that is another matter. The real problem I have here is that by calling opinions lies, Tod is guilty of his own accusations.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        Not quite.

        Someone can say that in a case, Tod’s opinion is incorrect, but his contention is that those people are making a claim that they themselves do not believe.

        Whether or not the claim is true or not is incidental.

        If, as Tod contents, people are recommending to their children, their friends, and themselves that they get insurance as it is the fiscally responsible thing to do, and they are simultaneously making a public claim that getting insurance is not the fiscally responsible thing to do, then they are, in fact, lying by their own assessment.

        Whether or not getting insurance is the fiscally responsible thing to do.

        Opinions are not facts. However, I wouldn’t call an educated evaluation quite the same thing as an opinion (but that’s a different conversation).Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        $50,000-$100,000 for a heart attack. That’s bare bones. You really want to be on the hook for paying that much?
        66% of Americans don’t have $1000 in their bank accounts. That is less than what it costs to get an xray done at my local hospital.

        Americans are fundamentally fiscally irresponsible, and the Republicans are asking people to be even more so.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I don’t know about you, pal, but I do understand math.
        I can actually tell you real numbers of how much it will cost you.
        You know how much your cashflow is, on a month to month basis.

        Americans are already in debt up to their ears.Report

  18. Avatar George Turner says:

    The idea of letting the same vicious people run health care who are spending more to close the National Parks than it take to operate them is ludicrous, not to mention closing parks that don’t even get federal money. Such people are evil and vindictive, concerned only with inflicting as much pain as possible. The shouldn’t be allowed to run one hospital, much less two of them.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      Hi George, it’s good to see you.

      But I’m having a bit of trouble understanding what you’re getting at here, because the government won’t be running any more hospitals then it does now.

      And it’s always been involved with health care, seniors, for instance, get socialized health care, we call it Medicare. And through CDC, we’ve done a pretty good job at tracking contagious disease, particularly from contaminated food. I have my issues with FDA, but they do seem to try to make sure that the drugs we take are put through proper clinical trials; same for cancer treatments. NIH has funded a very large portion of the research that’s become standard medical practice, from cancer treatment to drug discover to heart health.

      But there’s nothing in Obamacare that has the government taking over hospitals that I know of. Now if you care to prove to me I’m wrong, I’m more than willing to be proven wrong. But just because someone’s telling you that the government will take over hospitals doesn’t mean it’s true.Report

      • Zic, on George’s behalf: the Obamacare legislation is 2,700 page and creates 150 new bureacracies, agencies, boards, commissions and programs. In control of the purse strings, bureaucrats will be making a lot of medical decisions even more than happens now with private insurance. Need I find you the clip on rationing (death panels)?

        Furthermore, the more I read the original article the more I am in shock and disbelief.

        I watch a lot of Fox News and Glenn Beck, probably what’s referenced by the pejorative “conservative media,” and I’ve never heard the statements listed as lies numbers one and two. NEVER! And the clip there did not provide evidence.

        And numbers 3 and 4 are purely supposition. Yes, there are some of us who agree with Donald Trump: Obamacare is the ultimate government shutdown. As such, desperate times call for desperate measures. But I’m quite sure nobody is happier about a government shutdown than Barack Obama. Cmon now, barricading the WWII Memorial when the vets arrive? What is that indicative of? He’s really playing this thing. And that’s the truth!Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        Terry, it’s too bad that when they were putting together the health legislation the Republicans were MIA. You know would rather scuttle the works than put together a good reform. It’s really hard for me to forget all of the little intransigents that realities are built on. If you’re going to act irresponsibly, you can’t then wine that your being disrespected when called on it.Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        Obamacare legislation is 2,700 page and creates 150 new bureacracies, agencies, boards, commissions and programs. In control of the purse strings, bureaucrats will be making a lot of medical decisions even more than happens now with private insurance. Need I find you the clip on rationing (death panels)?

        Your argument sounds good, and you’ve obviously heard it over and over, and think it’s meaningful and important and symbolic. But, in fact, it’s vaporware.

        All government creates agencies and boards; that’s how it’s administered. So that there are agencies and boards is to be expected, and how many would depend on what the needs are. Since this is one of the most complex pieces of legislation adopted by Congress, that it creates a lot isn’t surprising. This claim of fact that’s actually smoke and mirrors is pretty common, too. It’s the ‘big government’ claim, as if size matters. It doesn’t. Competence matters.

        The 2,700 pages is equally vapid, and shows you have zero comprehension of the formatting of legislation; something you might want to investigate before you continue making yourself seem like an ignorant rube throwing that number around. Believe me, when your Republican House member here’s you say that, he’s not thinking that you’re informed, he’s just relieved you bought into the propaganda, because he knows that you’re a sucker who he can depend on without any notion of actually questioning what he does..

        Right now, a lot of the decisions are made by corporations. In secret. You have know way of knowing if those decisions are made based on quality of care or cheapness of care. At least a public process is open to public scrutiny. I consider your ‘death panels’ a feature, not a flaw, in part because with the process open to public scrutiny, I can at least investigate if the decisions are evidence based, and not profit-driven.

        Finally, lets talk about rationing. There’s going to be a shortage of doctors. Because people will be making a run, finally getting health care. But if those people already need that care, and can’t get it because they can’t pay for it, the need for the doctors is already there; it’s just that the rationing is invisible to you, it’s focused on the people who cannot afford care. It’s already happening.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        you know who sits on those fucking boards? Corporations and their goons. Making decisions that benefit them and screw their competitors. Citations available if necessary.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      So vicious. How DARE Obama comply with the ADA!

      Who does he think he is! Applying the law so…fairly and evenly.

      It’s hilarious. I’m sure the same idiots yelling at the park rangers for CLOSING the memorials would have been yelling at them if it was OPEN for violating the law.

      Still, keep it up, George. That’s a winning argument there. “Yes, the GOP shut down the government. But Obama like, totally implemented it in a way I disagreed with. It’s ALL HIS FAULT”.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      Worth noting that statute doesn’t allow them much choice. When the appropriation runs out, “except for emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property” things have to be shut down (and in particular, the places where the workers work closed) with all due speed. National Parks get closed first because it’s really, really easy to close most of them — close the gates at the end of the day and put up the signs. The same statutes also make it illegal to accept volunteer efforts, or workers funded by someone other than the government. The RNC’s offer to pay to keep the WWII memorial open would have been a clear violation if accepted, with potential jail time for whoever let it happen. I keep thinking that politicians ought to know what the statutes say, even though my time as a legislative analyst should have taught me better.

      Seriously, people keep talking like the executive branch has lots of choice; in fact, unless they can make the case that failure to stay open imperils lives or property, Congress has set things up so that the executive has almost none.Report

    • Avatar Patrick says:

      Honest question, George:

      So they leave (some of) the parks open because they have a revenue stream that pays for the maintenance.

      And then somebody drops a cigarette in the park and starts a fire. Now we’re pulling state and federal resources in to fight a fire.

      Does this mean that we just made some non-exempt federal employees exempt? How do we justify possibly making work for people who are furloughed, or better yet working without pay, because somebody wants to go camping? If someone is injured in the park, do we un-furlough rescue workers?Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        You have to understand that the GOP shut down the government for the moochers and the looters, not for the people they like.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        You have to understand that the GOP shut down the government for the moochers and the looters, not for the people they like.

        As much of it as they could for the “moochers and looters,” anyway. Since Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are all permanently appropriated, those parts are still rolling along. Interesting that DoD is now going to take a broad view of the emergency legislation whose advertised purpose was to keep paying military personnel and use it to put the vast majority of their civilian employees (reportedly about seven-eighths) back to work and drawing pay also. Not clear to me that the GOP had intended to “like” quite that many people.Report

  19. Avatar Cascadian says:

    I like the thought that even though Yosemite is closed, Sunnyside campground, a.k.a. Camp 4 is most certainly still open and rollicking in their freedom. Wish I was there.Report

  20. Avatar just me says:

    How are the subsidies for Obamacare payed for? I have seen that some are taxes levied on manufacturers and some are levied on us through medicare tax increases and on investments. Most of the sites I have seen that have a list of what pays for Obamacare seem like partisan sites though. Is there a better place to go and see a real break down on how the subsidy side will be financed?Report

  21. Avatar dino says:

    It is truly a brave new world where social democrats / egalitarians are loving a policy that forces people to purchase products from private oligopoly firms. I only ask this — if W offered this plan as his own in say 2006, wouldn’t all of you decry it as give aways to corporate interests and selling out the people to protect the bottom line of health-insurance and related companies? Cult of the Supreme Benevolent Overlord Obama is strong with this group.Report

    • Dino,

      I confess that I would probably more critical of W offering such a plan. So you do have a point. But I think I would support it, assuming it not be worse than the ACA.Report

      • To clarify my point, I am critical now of the ACA for protecting “corporate interests and selling out the people to protect the bottom line of health-insurance and related companies,” but I support it despite this probable effect. I tend to trust Obama’s motives more than W’s, so I cut him a little slack. In that sense, I am acting partisanly.

        But, to extend the ad hominem back to the GOP, I doubt that c. 2006 we would’ve seen a significant number of GOP’ers in government criticizing W.’s (hypothetical) program with the same vitriol that they’re criticizing O’s.

        So my partisanship, while probably a bad thing, is not something that keeps me awake at night, especially concerning the ACA because I sincerely believe that it, for all its faults and costs, will eventually make things better for those who have had a lot of difficulty getting health care. Time will tell if I’m right or wrong, and my bar for success is much lower than most persons’ (see here: )Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      The same way that the citizens of Massachusetts rose up against corporate thug Romney when he did the same?Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Cult of the Supreme Benevolent Overlord Obama is strong with this group.

      Back when the ACA was going thru committees and being vetoed by Lieberman until the final bill was agreed uponby both houses, I don’t recall any liberal being happy it. At the end of the day, lots of liberals supported it tho, since it achieved a bunch of important goals. So it seems to me that liberal support for the ACA was begrudging at best. There is plenty for everyone to criticize about the mechanics of the bill, and plenty to criticize against other models.

      Liberals do, however, defend the ACA from politically-motivated attacks pretty vigorously, and often that can be confused – I think anyway – with attributing a Obama Worship or whatever. There’s certainly an element of that. But mostly, it seems to me, they defend the policy and attacks on Obama because they support the policy. They’d rather see it enacted than not, and they’d rather they prefer it over any alternative being offered right now. Attacking Obama personally, or attacking Dems for engaging in a Cult of Personality type thing, won’t change they’re support for the ACA. In fact, it only acts to entrench the type of partisan-based blindness that you’re criticizing the other side of engaging in.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      Dino- Liberals types were intensely critical of the ACA. There was a loud subset, often dubbed, Firebaggers after the website Firedoglake, that thought D’s should rebel against the ACA even if it meant NO health care reform. If you look that the polls of people against the ACA a good 20-30% are liberals who think it should have gove much farther. There was a lot of pressure on the D’s to have public option like medicare. Really this all happened, it was in all the papers. L’s wanted more than a national version of Romneycare but it seems that this was all the there was votes for.

      Of course Conservitives shriek that the D’s didn’t even consider their opinions or that the ACA is the most socialist thing ever. So at least we can agree they are full of it.

      Liberals in general would have been over the moon that the R’s actually tried to do something about health care. Since Romneycare was never the most popular thing on the liberal side it wouldn’t have been super popular but it would have been something which is more than the R’s have done.

      As a postscript i’ll add that the idea of private insurance companies providing HC with strong regulation and mandates works really well in Germany and Switzerland so its actually a viable proven model of HC delivery and also a good path for us to wander down given the path dependence of where we have been. I always write this last para, just for myself since it contains completely irrelevant data.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        We have a time in recent memory with Medicare Part D where we see liberal type folks caving on the opportunity to make a President of the opposite party look bad for the sake of passing policy they like.Report

  22. Avatar Kazzy says:


    I look forward to if/when you’re able to flesh out your points. I encouraged you to do so because I think you are more likely to change minds here than you might think. Not all minds. But more than at your typical political blog.

    Regarding 10, I can’t really comment. I’ve ceased really trying to make sense of what terms like conservative or liberal mean. I’ve said before that you can look at a vast majority of stances and find something that would make a conservative support it and something that would make a liberal support it, at least based on the various current working definitions of those two terms. I mean, the drug war is largely a conservative position and the “Big Gulp ban” is a liberal position* and each side’s opposition to the other is based on some derivation of “Don’t tell me what I can put in my body.” Yes, there is more nuance than that, but my point is that I don’t really know what it means to use those terms any more so I tend not to without at least some qualifier attached.

    Anyway, should you get the chance to flesh it out (and I understand how life can interfere with that), I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

    * I recognize that neither side is monolithic and that liberals probably supported the “Big Gulp ban” less than conservatives support the drug war, but I think the point still stands: both sides will invoke “Keep your hands off my body” and “We have a collective interest in your health and well-being” when it suits them.Report

  23. Avatar BITFU says:

    “But what do the kids think?”

    I guess that’s what Ordinary Gentleman is doing with this Tod Kelly post because clearly Tod is a high school sophomore fulminating about those “meanie conservatives who tell all these bad lies!”

    And I guess this remedial post was distributed among other high school sophomores who are defending Tod in the comments, as they demand support and proof for all counterclaims while accepting what Tod writes at face value: [See Scott Fields.]

    Tod’s post is a silly infantile strawman post and here’s why:.

    The ten most egregious falsehoods about the shutdown being perpetrated by the GOP and the conservative media today

    Tod writes this prelude, but does so by onlyoffering the “Fox and Friends” morning show for #1, Rand Paul for #5 and Glen Freaking Beck for #6 as support for the entire piece.

    Ten lies and a stupid morning show, and extremist Senator and a fringe internet radio host. That’s it. For the rest of the post, Tod simply links to other Left-leaning sites or wikipedia.

    Go through the stupid list:

    Government Shutdown Lie #1: “The government shutdown will have no negative effects on people or the economy.”

    Fox and Friends.

    Government Shutdown Lie #2: “The government has been shutdown a total of 18 times in the past 38 years, so there’s really no big deal about this shutdown.”


    Boehner, McCain, McConnell…did any of them say “no big deal?”

    Here’s a post from Fox News published 10/01

    The title reads: “Now What? Government shutdown to be felt across America”

    3. Government Shutdown Lie #3: “Democrats forced the government shutdown, Republicans have actively been trying to prevent it.”

    This “Shutdown Lie” is an entire debate, not a self-evident example of mendacity.

    4. Government Shutdown Lie #4: “Shutting down the government to stop Obamacare is something the American people support.”


    What group within the GOP establishment is saying this? [And not a cherry-pick. You wrote: egregious falsehoods about the shutdown being perpetrated by the GOP and the conservative media today

    So give us some example(S)

    Government Shutdown Lie #5: “Obamacare has been forced upon the American people, and its opponents have never been given the chance to either debate or contest it.”

    Rand Paul. OK, then let’s hold the ENTIRE Liberal and DEM Establishment liable for the statements of Dennis Kucinich. Infantile

    Government Shutdown Lie #6: “Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have given themselves a special deal that allows them to opt out of Obamacare because they already know it’s bad for you.”

    Glen Beck? Because this fringe internet radio host said it, the GOP and Conservative media are perpetuating lies?!

    Does every utterance from Michael Moore represent the entire Liberal Establishment?

    Government Shutdown Lie #7: “Obamacare forces young, healthy people to pay the hospital bills of the old and sick; that’s called Socialism.”

    Conservatives have many more bad things to say about ObamaCare. Many feel it’s a piece of shit legislation that goes way beyond the hint of socialism.

    Lots of Progressives hate it too, btw. Are they lying. [See Yves Smith and NakedCapitalism]

    Government Shutdown Lie #8: “Young people would be better off financially paying a fine and opting out of Obamacare.”


    Evidently, a bunch of Conservative politicians and media types have been offering this blanket advice to young people. Musta missed that one.

    Government Shutdown Lie #10: “Supporting the government shutdown in order to stop Obamacare is the conservative thing to do.”

    And then Tod writes the most inane commentary. One would almost think the Shutdown an illegal act on the part of Conservatives?

    Because if it’s not illegal, then the Shutdown is also part of the Law of this Land…which, according to Tod (and me too!) should be respected.

    Tod, I know you wanted to come strong with this here spine of steel stand of yours’…but it was a weak and sophomoric effort.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      If you bothered to look at pictures of Tod in his gravatar, you would clearly see that he is a middle-aged man and not a high school sophomore. The sophomoric nature of your very long paragraph is noted though.

      If you think there is “no support” for Tod’s claims please prove it. Saying no support, no support over and over again is not evidence or an argument. It is doing the very thing that you accuse Tod of doing.

      Honestly what is most fascinating about this entire fight is that a lot of conservatives seem to be in shock absolute shock that liberals are fighting for what they believe in and not backing down.Report

      • As for your last paragraph, you gotta admit it’s a little bit shocking that the libs are sticking to their guns, at least for now. [/good natured comment]Report

      • Avatar North says:

        I must admit I’m enjoying the liberals standing firm and the conservative astonishment at same.Report

      • Avatar BITFU says:

        Aaron David’s responses were spot on and far more concise, yet he was told that unless he’s going to take the time to go point by point, he should refrain from criticizing this exemplary piece from Tod.”

        Aaron even said, “Gee guys. I kinda have a job here, it really is a bit much to ask.”

        So BITFU, as a public service, takes on this wildly tedious task, and what is BITFU told?

        “Gosh, did you really need to go ‘point-by-point’ saying NO SUPPORT”. OK, there…sorry ’bout that.

        Anyways, as for your statement: If you think there is “no support” for Tod’s claims please prove it.

        C’mon, man, are you really serious here? Tod makes the sweeping claim of a concerted effort on the part of Conservative Establishment (which includes elected GOP officials and “the Conservative media”). Tod proceeds to construct 10 “mendacious vignettes” of Conservative duplicity with one strawman after another.

        For example, the yet-to-be-defined Conservative Establishment is not positing Government Shutdown Lie #1: “The government shutdown will have no negative effects on people or the economy.” This just isn’t true. Some Conservatives downplay the effects, but plenty of others are making the claim that this Shutdown will hurt–as I demonstrated in my original comment.

        The reality of the situation is a far cry from Tod’s claim of some concerted effort to perpetuate a series of lies. [And now that the Pentagon has recalled half of the entire furloughed workforce and now that all workers will get 100% of their back-pay, the underlying claim of dishonesty with regards to the deleterious impact is looking a bit shaky on its own.]

        Face it, Tod wrote a ridiculous post because he failed to back it up.
        I called him out for writing a juvenile post and I more than met the standard of proof required of an Internet Commenter.
        And yet, you demand more proof, not from Tod–the author…you know, the one who took on the burden to begin with by penning this piece, but from a Commenter.

        And not only that, but you’re committing an error in logic because you’re demanding that I prove a negative (“i.e. Tod provided NO SUPPORT”), while giving the person with a positive, affirmative duty (i.e. to provide some freaking support a free pass.)

        Re-read Tod’s post. I realize how tedious of a task this will be, but go ahead. He makes a sweeping claim–as is the wont of tenth graders–and offers up 10 egregious lies of Tod’s own construction(!) and backs the entire mess up with a reference to Fox and Friends, Rand Paul and Glen Beck. It’s WEAK. You know, I know it, and I’m sure Tod knows it. [Scot Fields? He doesn’t know it, and won’t ever know it. I hate to say that, but it’s true. And you know this too.]

        Look, I know you’re sympathetic to the notion that this mess is the fault is all the fault of Conservatives. Fine. That’s a different debate; it really is. But you’ll never find a sound, rational basis for articulating this claim if you advocate the juvenile claims of a post that grades out at a C minus in a 10 grade civics class. [Tod, I was in a good mood when I graded your paper and I thought a grade of D to D+ might prompt your parents to ground you when all those fun Homecoming festivities are right around the corner! But do a little better next time, OK, sport.

        GO TIGERS!]Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Oh, no, it’s not shocking at all.
        This /was/ the plan.Report

    • @bitfu

      You know, there are some points in your comment worth discussing. But your tone is waaaaaaaay overboard.

      In my experience, Tod engages people who bring thoughtful and substantive criticisms to his posts. In fact, he goes out of his way to see where his opponents come from. And for all I know, he might do so with you comment. But I also imagine there’s a “honey” vs. “vinegar” effect here.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        I will agree that the hyperbole is high, but he is spot on with his criticisms.Report

      • Sometimes, though, tone is at least part of the substance. And it’s not just the hyperbole, but also the personal attacks.

        I admit there is a pretty strong anti-conservative slant at this blog (a slant I share, by the way, for good and for ill) and that the big divide here seems to be between certain stripes of liberals and certain stripes of libertarians, with the few conservatives here having sometimes an uphill battle in answering adherents to those two sides. But this blog isn’t “Lawyers, Guns, and Money.” People can disagree with the OP and in general will get a hearing. The schoolyard name calling is unnecessary and counterproductive.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:


        I think you are right that this site generally seems to tilt to a left/liberal/libertarian view point depending on the poster.

        But we do have some conservatives like Will Truman, though I wonder whether Will could be or has been considered a RINO by the Tea Party set sometimes. He could speak to that more than I could. Mike Dwyer and Tim K as well. Though both post not so frequently. I see Will as being a kind of Rockefeller Republican or at least more socially moderate in many ways.

        The issue is that Will and I probably disagree about a lot but Will generally makes statements that invite dialogue and is open to points.

        Someone who comes out with name calling and/or Fox News calling points is harder to engage with on a substantive level. Another fairly frequent conservative poster has made arguments against gay marriage like “If I could marry anyone I want, I would marry Charlize Theron”

        I don’t know how to argue against a statement like that. I don’t know what to do with a statement like that except throw my hands up.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Will, Dennis, Mike generally don’t parrot Fox/Talk Radio talking points. So there is a lot of room for actual conversation and quality thought.Report

      • NewDealer,

        I don’t disagree, and I had Mike, Will, and Dennis in mind when I wrote that comment. I do think they each have an uphill battle in making their arguments in these threads. I’m not sure that’s a good or bad thing (I’d have to ask them their thoughts first), but I appreciate their contributions. They acquit themselves well, and this site is a much better place with them as contributors. Will, in particular, I often either find myself agreeing with, or disagreeing but without being able to easily ignore his arguments.

        And then, as you point out, we have the FOX/NEWS parrots, and it’s hard. I’m not sure if Bitfu really is a parrot, although he or she strikes me as very much a red-team kind guy or gal. He might, perhaps, have a point that Tod is focusing on the more extreme versions. Even if Bitfu is right, I still hesitate to call the arguments strawmen, and I find most of Tod’s point compelling, save for a pedantic quibble about the socialism vs. insurance point (I believe it can be both).Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Pierre, “uphill battle” is quite correct. If I make a conservative point that I want to see defended, I can spend all afternoon clarifying and defending it. That’s sometimes true of a libertarian point, though often someone else will come up to the plate or the same or better points will be made elsewhere. I don’t often make liberal points, because by the time I run across the discussion three other people have already made the point that I was going to.

        ND is correct that my creds are suspect in the conservative and Republican community.

        It’s noteworthy that of the 30 or so contributors, only two or so voted for Romney. I consider that less-than-ideal, but it’s not something easily addressed.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        FWIW I don’t consider Mike, Will or Dennis “conservative” by any of the current definitions. Some of the older definitions might apply.Report

    • Avatar Scott Fields says:

      @bitfu – I’m a high school junior, thank you very much. 🙂

      And I’ve still brought more to the discussion than name calling and an overuse of all caps.

      I’ve only defended one of Tod’s examples and I did so on the merits, not face value. I say the same thing to you as I did to aaron – if you want to wave away information inconvenient to your position by dismissing it as opinion, back it up. If you can’t, back down.Report

  24. Avatar NewDealer says:

    This is an interesting essay on the differences between Burkean Conservatism and Reactionary Conservatives. Reactionary Conservatives are:

    “backwards looking, generally fearful of losing their way of life in a wave of social change. To preserve their group’s social status, they’re willing to undermine long-established norms and institutions — including the law. They see political differences as a war of good versus evil in which their opponents are their enemies. For them, compromise is commensurate with defeat — not political expediency. They believe social change is subversive to the America with which they’ve become familiar, i.e., white, mainly male, Protestant, native born, straight. “Real Americans,” in other words.”

    The Tea Party appear to be reactionary conservatives based on polling in the article:

  25. Avatar Damon says:

    Let’s be sure to add the lie that the ACA is not health care reform. It’s health insurance reform.Report

  26. Avatar Damon says:

    “Adding insult to injury, Republicans and the conservative media seem to be focused primarily on the shutting down of non-essential tourism spots and the National Zoo’s “Panda-Cam” being on hiatus.”

    And let’s be sure to talk about how the gov’t has gone out of it’s way to ensure more pain on the american public to make the point that this shutdown will hurt everyone. Mt. Vernon is a private organization and the park police put up barriacades in the parking lot telling folks the place was closed. Park police and LEO have been station on walking trails in parks telling people to leave. They aren’t saving money, they are spending more. And all those servers with the “we’re shut down” signs? Servers are still up.Report

    • You seem to be ignoring that those park police and LEO’s aren’t getting paid, either. However, LEOs are just about always going to be deemed “essential” employees, so it’s a question of where they get deployed, not whether they get deployed.

      You also seem to be ignoring the potential liability of anyone getting hurt on federal property during the shutdown, not to mention the fact that nothing is maintenance-free. It’s not as if hordes of tourists have a reputation for cleanliness.

      It is amazing to me the extent to which supporters of the shutdown strategy are shocked at the consequences of their action. It is even more amazing to me the extent to which such proud purported advocates of the notion of individual responsibility are absolutely unwilling to accept responsibility for the consequences of their own actions.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        The optics, though, are certainly… well. They’re significantly different for having workers be hired to put up barriers to prevent people to visit open-air memorials than they are for showing the litter and detritus left behind by those teabaggers who are only pretending to care about the country as they visit the Vietnam Memorial.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        I saw an article in the Times about how some districts are threatening their congresspeople with farther-right primary challenges if they cave:

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        some districts are threatening their congresspeople with farther-right primary challenges

        But those districts were gerrymandered fair and square! Those were supposed to be “safe” seats!

        To be perfectly honest, I think that this is one of those good things that representative democracy can come up with from time to time. One of the good things that Republicans have going on for them in this is that they are communicating that they honestly don’t care if the person they put up loses to a Democrat. Say what you will about Christine O’Donnell’s candidacy, her loss has put bite into the whole “we will primary you!” threat.Report

      • But of course workers aren’t being hired for that – they’re people who would be working anyhow – and aren’t getting paid in any event.

        To me, the optics are of a bunch of people whining that something they demanded is actually affecting them in some minor way in addition to all the millions of people they don’t give a hoot about who are being affected in a major way.

        This is what they demanded, whether they knew it or not. Let them own it.Report

      • Avatar Scott Fields says:

        I think the argument here, Mark, is that their actions are not the ones leading to any of the negative consequences, so their individual responsibility isn’t relevant. It’s a pretty neat trick.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Indeed. “Barry-cades” is the talking point of the moment.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        I have to admit that Barry-cades is kind of clever.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        It’s a pretty neat trick.

        Yeah it is. And that trick – turning liberal arguments upside down and using those very same arguments against liberals and Democrats – is increasingly becoming how conservatives define their politics and policies. It makes political discussion impossible since debate never moves beyond the surface politics – “You guys should own up to causing this.” “Why? We didn’t cause these outcomes, the Democrats did.” – to discussions about policy.

        It’s like being stuck in a weird meta-loop without any hope of getting back to the real world.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:


        Except that the Admin came up quickly with a solution for the “barry-cades” with their First Amendment signs. How well are these antics going to work in districts that are not super-GOP friendly? I think most people clearly blame the GOP for the shutdown if the polls are accurate and can tell the GOP are being insincere.

        Primarying and holding your representatives accountable is good up to a point unless it puts you permanently in a minority party.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        Stillwater and Scott,

        I think that these “tricks” work for a while but then they stop working. Do we have any evidence that the tricks are working beyond the super-GOP so far? As far as I know and can tell, the polling on who blames who has not changed that much. My facebook feed is largely very angry at the Republican Party (this is not the most scientific of polling places)Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I think most people clearly blame the GOP for the shutdown if the polls are accurate and can tell the GOP are being insincere.

        Then this will bite the GOP in the butt and bite the GOP in the butt *HARD*.

        I can live with that.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:


        I’d say they have been very successful and will continue to be successful using it. It’s primarily – increasingly almost exclusively – a rhetorical approach (ie., trick) designed to push against the political dimensions of an argument rather than respond to or even address its content. So it renders the substantive content of a claim inaccessible to debate. Instead, the debate become about the debate itself. (Meta!)

        In the best case scenarios, it acts entrench fundamental political and ideological divisions between groups or individuals because ideological divisions between groups are no longer disagreements about policy (or facts in the real world) but about the background assumptions and argument structures which people invoke to describe the real world. The real world retreats into obscurity.

        {{I hope Chris doesn’t read this!! I’ll have some splainin to do.}}Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        I think Stillwater just came up with the new tagline.

        Ordinary Times

        like being stuck in a weird meta-loop without any hope of getting back to the real world.Report

      • Avatar Scott Fields says:

        Stillwater –

        It’s like being stuck in a weird meta-loop without any hope of getting back to the real world.

        As you’ve been following this thread, you’ve likely noticed there is no “real world” to get back to. It is all in the eye of the beholder – it’s all subjective. Expertise (“most of the authorities may agree, but I found two who disagree and anyway the authorities don’t know me”), consensus (“stoopid people misled by a stoopid press”), even statistical data (“look at the bias of the statisticians”), are readily dismissed as meaningless and those who are paying attention to these things don’t even though how clueless they are.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Let’s correct a few points:
        Unpaid park police are putting up barricades on PRIVATE property. Hmm, yeah..that’s shutdown related. And an excellent directive. Go to where you’re not needed rather than where you are.

        There is no liability on federal property. Immunity.

        I’m not “in favor” of the shutdown. I just consider it a element in American “democracy”. And I have no responsiblity for the shutdown. I didn’t vote for anyone who could be blamed for causing it, on either side, so my consience is 100% clear.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        @Damon Could you provide a link where the government is shutting down private property vs. a private business on government property?Report

      • @Damon wrong again, sovereign immunity doesn’t exist when it comes to slip and fall and other personal injury cases of that nature because of the Federal Tort Claims Act. If you get hurt on government property and the government is at fault, whether it be due to negligence or some other tort, the government is liable for your injuries.

        And what private property, exactly, has been shut down, as opposed to private businesses located on government property?Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        @ Damon and @ Cascadian.

        I stand corrected on the immunity thing. Frankly, I’m stunned at that, but meh.

        As to the rest. Mount Vernon. Link

        Seems the park police “misunderstood”. Right….Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        Yup, seems like an understandable mistake that was quickly corrected.Report

      • Given that the parking lots actually are owned by the NPS, I’d say that it’s pretty likely that this was an honest mistake, especially given how quickly it was corrected.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        “You seem to be ignoring that those park police and LEO’s aren’t getting paid, either.”

        This talking point bugs me in three ways – 1) there hasn’t been a payday yet since the shutdown 2) there was little doubt that all of them were going to be paid for their time anyway, now there’s no doubt as all furloughed are getting paid regardless 3) they’re probably getting overtime, *because* they’re going out of their way to erect barricades and stand duty where no one usually does. LEO’s are going to come out of this thing with a windfall.

        And regarding maintenance – they’re still letting people onto several areas under control of the park service park land, but they’ve closed the parking lots. So what are people doing? Parking on the grass fields, and tearing them up. And filling the trashcans anyway.

        If they’re making efforts to preserve some spaces because of short staffing, they’re actually accomplishing the opposite.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Soft-pedalling the shutdown is pretty much nonsense. The GOP has hugely overplayed its hand. All these ridiculous micro-spending bills and marching into the WW2 memorial, much eating of cheeze, declaring everyone will eventually get paid.

        They aren’t serious about a shutdown. They’re so full of shit the only real danger we face is Ted Cruz detonating in Statuary Hall like some jihaadi in a cheap suit. Only he won’t need a Harness of Ayyash. Cleaning up that mess will take some overtime.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Cops working without pay who will probably be paid eventually are getting a “windfall”. That’s Fox News-worthy.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        They’re *not* working without pay. Saying the same thing over and over again does not make it so.

        They’re working on deferred pay, and always were. They have not missed a paycheck yet.

        You don’t think they’re manipulating overtime, as agencies always do?

        And since when is Fox anything else but a cop fellater? Heck, they’re the ones who originally brought to the the air COPS – ‘You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you at least 5 civil rights violations without any consquences’Report

    • Avatar LWA says:

      I love how the big talking point now is that the shutdown is costing a lot of money, more than had the govt/ been left operating.
      Which is exactly what people had said would happen, that the shutdown is wildly expensive, inefficient, and accomplishes nothing.
      But now it is inconveniencing retirees in RVs and Medicare hoverrounds, so I guess it is a big deal.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        I don’t love it, but I do appreciate the irony of it.

        I’m also interested to see, if this continues, the Tea Party reveal what government it loves with their efforts at micro-funding in the House.

        We know they like:
        1) Veterans, but not the civil servants who process their paychecks;
        2) CDC, but only the part that tracks disease and develops vaccines for the flu;
        3) National Parks, but not enough to really fund their maintenance or to expand the park system;
        4) NIH, when it helps kids battling cancer;
        5) Fighting forest fires.

        But I haven’t really paid attention, that’s just headline gleaning. Did I see that they think they should actually pay working employees? Were there whispers that they should pay the furloughed, too, giving them unplanned paid vacation?

        If this nonsense continues, I expect we’ll start hearing about passports. inability of merchants to import good through customs, and problems with food safety.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        I love how the big talking point now is that the shutdown is costing a lot of money, more than had the govt/ been left operating.

        Oh, that’s rich.Report

  27. Avatar Charles says:

    I believe that we are all being played. Just prior to the shutdown and appearing on the news networks – out of no where – were former Secretary of State and National Security AdvisorHenry Kissinger and former United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter Zbigniew Brzezinski. (Both men are very powerful Jews and both men are members of the Council of Foreign Relations)

    Brezezinki in his book “Between Two Ages” written in 1970, page 300 said that ” More intensive efforts to shape a new world monetary structure will have to be undertaken, with some consequent rusk to the present relatively favorable American position.” He makes some very Marxist viewpoints on pages 72, 73, 83, 118, 123, 252, 296, 304 and 308 of that same book.

    Brzezinski and Kissinger both believe that it is necessary to forge a world government. Alliances must be made with Russia and China and that American dependence on oil must be from these two countries.

    Next, move into the non-developed nations and insert instability within them. This gives the United States excuse to enter into those lands, position itself their in order to control the people and their resources. Africa is the next to be assaulted and controlled.

    The recent government shut down was carefully planned out by powerful members of the CFR and both the President and members of the Democratic and Republican parties are in on it. We are the dumb loons that they are playing. Why are they doing it? To first create massive dissatisfaction among the American people with the way our government is being run. They must present a badly broken government in need of a fix. We are all be prepared for the coming of a fixer of our government woes.

    Neither the President Democratic or Republican Parties are running this ruse upon us.

    A war will break out between Iran and Israel. It should be plain to see that the recent U.S. instigation into Libya, Syria, Egypt, Iran and other area in that region is a strategic positioning of U.S. power there in preparation for war with Iran. A fight is being picked and none of this has to do with “terrorism.” Terrorism is a lie and a made up word pushed off on the American people and the world to cover for the real evil that is taking place: Expansionism and world domination.

    As an American, I already see that our government leaders do not really care about American citizens. They would go as far as shut the government down and that proves the point. A President is not really a President – well at least not the current one. White men act as if THEY are President. That too, shows the stuff America is really made of.

    It was not called terrorism when America (ruled by White men) dropped the most powerful weapon of mass destruction upon a people – the atomic bomb. It was not called terrorism when we engaged in “Shock and Awe” campaigns in Iraq. Certainly the people on the receiving end it was “terrifying.”

    Many of the programs on American television feature White people – in real life – shooting and blowing stuff up. I wonder why? The American government has shown a willingness to bomb and blow people up rather than sit down with them and talk. Talk to them to understand the reasoning why America is so despised by so many nations of non-White people.

    There is no “War on Terrorism.” It is a cover for expansionism and world domination and control of its resources. Without such control, the United States – the largest consumer of the worlds natural resources – would die. That is the real reason why we see so much trouble in the world.

    Much of what is happening is being incited by sources you have been told to put your trust in.Report

    • Avatar LWA says:

      Please, explicate for us the symbols on the back a US dollar.
      Whatever can they mean?Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      The paranoid style in American politics:

      The paranoid spokesman, sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms — he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization… he does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated — if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        I’ve said it before but I think this is one of the best books if not the best book written about American politics and thought.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        He was prescient, no?

        “… manning the Barry-cades of civilization”Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Thanks to you and your paranoid methods of link posting, I’ll now be reading this.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Excellent zic! I think you’ll like it.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @stillwater, I’ve done the first two pages so far, and I keep thinking back to this weird event.

        It’s the spring of 1978, and I’ve just moved to Boston. I met a woman from Iran, full black dress, and we became ‘friends.’ I’d talk about how we needed to take back our government from the military industrial complex, and she’d sit there and bob her head, tell me that her brothers were, upon leaving university after graduating, we’re going to do just that. The last time I saw her, she showed me her hair.

        And then the whole Iran Hostage thing happened.

        It’s been a life-long lesson that this kind of speak often has people who mean opposites think they’re on the same page.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        the worst thing about that essay is that it encourages people to read it and think it applies to everyone but them. it flatters the reader to think that their rhetoric is not asinine and their beliefs not susceptible to paranoid stupidity.

        and when it overwhelms one of the two major party backers, you get people believing the people who have power and with whom they identify with somehow have little or none – and the answer to such an imbalance is always more power for their leaders so they can smash their foes.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @dhex, maybe. But I just posted a comment (right before yours) about how this had made me consider my rhetoric as part of the problem, to the point of allowing me to think someone with nearly 100% diametric views agreed with me.

        I’m not that unusual, no?Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        “I’m not that unusual, no?”

        when it comes to that particular essay, i’d say yes. but that’s me. my own model of american politics is one of a sports bar. we can call it ressentiment’s!

        more seriously with your example, i don’t see that as rhetorical blindness so much as a framework issue or a definition issue, particularly with “taking back”.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:


        Hoffstadter does not in the essay that the Left and Progressive forces in American politics have equally been victim to the paranoid society and if he were alive today, I think he would be able to point to examples of the paranoid style on the left/progressive side.

        He was however writing during the age of Goldwater and the right-wing starting to take over the GOP.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        Though I agree with you that the politics of ressentiment’s seems to be the dominant paradigm of American culture wars.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        “Hoffstadter does not in the essay that the Left and Progressive forces in American politics have equally been victim to the paranoid society and if he were alive today, I think he would be able to point to examples of the paranoid style on the left/progressive side.

        He was however writing during the age of Goldwater and the right-wing starting to take over the GOP.”

        i know. so what? everyone thinks they’re smarter than the other. that’s part of why they’re the other. but everyone is also afraid of them, which is the other part, because the other is crazy and scary and ruthless and cunning and made out of babies. and it’s not a fringe thing – it’s very much an average american thing. they are paranoid; we’re just aware of what’s going on.

        and so we get a huge pile of absurdities. some are more telegenic than others, but i largely believe it to be the price of greater cultural freedom. it’s stupid and ugly but it beats having less chaos.

        no one in american politics ever says “our enemies are much smarter than we are” unless it’s a lead up to “…and we will do better once we get our hands on this funding and these toys and further violate those constitutional ideals, because we are americans and the american spirit is an unstoppable juggernaut of hell yeah!”

        i’m a big fan of jesse walker’s book on the subject because it not only flatters my view that paranoia – or at the very least, deep mistrust verging on loathing – is the general operating principle of all political groups, big and small. i think it’s somewhat driven by our inability to understand the views of others is hampered by emotional attachment to our beliefs and a general fear of the self-governance of others.

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        ND, the more conspiracy minded parts of the Left, like Oliver Stone and the wackier elements of the OWS/anti-Globalization, are good examples of the paranoid style on the other hand of the political spectrum.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        I see some competition for Stillwater’s tagline.

        Ordinary Times

        an unstoppable juggernaut of hell yeah!Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:


        i think it’s somewhat driven by our inability to [1] understand the views of others is hampered by emotional attachment to our beliefs and a [2] general fear of the self-governance of others.

        Re: 1: yea of course. But that’s consistent with Hofstadter’s thesis, not in opposition to it. His view is that there is a strainof thought that exists in the US and is realized at the political level. He’s not providing an analysis of the totality of political thought.

        Re 2: that’s not as big a problem for some of us as it is for others, but I don’t think that’s actually what’s going on in this dynamic, or 9agains!) is inconsistent with Hofstadter. I don’t think that people are afraid to let people self-govern. Rather, it’s that they want to make sure the the values they believe in are preserved or even maximized in policy. And that’s not a crazy view: each and every one of us that advocate for any particular policy framework are trying to maximize the values we believe in.

        I think the value of Hofstadter’s writing on this topic isn’t directly political. It’s a descriptive view of a certain type of thought process that is realized in politics, but his view isn’t political itself. The question is a) is the description coherent, b) are there people who the description applies to and c) does the type of thinking described constitute a dominant strain of thought in US politics. To me, it clearly does. I’m not sure that a response which claims that the very people who engage in “the paranoid style” of thought won’t realize that they do constitutes a refutation of the view. I mean, it only would if Hofstadter wrote the paper for to advance a particular political agenda. But he isn’t. At least, there’s no reason to think he is.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        But he isn’t. At least, there’s no reason to think he is.

        Unless you’re paranoid.Report

      • I’ve read that essay several times, as well as his manuscript “Age of Reform” and several other essays. And frankly, I don’t know what I think of Hofstadter, or even if I understand him. His “Age of Reform” is a bit too end-of-history-ish for me: reform movements were plagued with status anxiety and backward looking hypocrisy until FDR was elected, and then all was light. (

        I have a hard time considering “Paranoid Style” the best thing ever written about American politics. It’s a thought piece, provocative and not altogether wrong, but it’s very nit-pickable, so much so that I wonder about its value. I’m not sure that what he describes is distinctively American. However, I’m equally unsure that he’s claiming it’s distinctively American. He might just be saying that he’s studied this for America and found it to be true there, but it may or may not be true of other places.

        I’ll give him credit for at least acknowledging Goldwaterism was a real thing, but I think it’s a bit too neat the way he tries to situate it in the “paranoid style.” He still seems to have the mindset of “‘lo, these benighted people do not know whereof they speak. Forgive them, Columbia, for they know not what they do.”

        My biggest takeaway is that it’s a style he’s writing about and not paranoia per se. Even a reasoned policy can be pursued and advocated in a paranoid style. At least, I think that’s what he’s arguing. One of my former professors, however, has pushed back on my interpretation of Hofstadter, reminding me that much of what Hofstadter focuses on (e.g., anti-Catholicism) is not just any reasoned policy directed at legitimate fears, but truly paranoid policies, assuming “policies” is not too generous a term. If that really is Hofstadter’s point, and if he’s not also making a larger point about paranoid styles, then his essay is of more limited utility. It’s been a while since I’ve last read the essay, but I don’t remembering Hofstadter considering the rhetoric of “economic royalists” or the 400 families figures into any acknowledgment of a certain FDR-friendly paranoid style.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Eventually, that Hofstader essay makes it into every thoughtful political wonk’s reading list. They were fearful times, the early 60s. The 50s were bad, the early 60s were a nightmare. My old man was a Goldwater kinda guy. You’re not paranoid if They really are out to get you.

        The Korean War was still fresh in everyone’s minds. The Korean War is a blank spot on the American political timeline. Ever had a really bad accident, or known someone it’s happened to — they can remember everything but the accident itself? That’s what the Korean War did to America. We still don’t like to talk about it. Like Don Draper, we emerged from it with a new identity. WW2 we remember and glorify. Vietnam, largely the same story — we make movies about it now. Generally speaking, as time goes by, we embed our wars in the veneer of hagiography. But that never happened with Korea. America got whacked, hard. Lost a lot of men. Even our Korean War monument is somber thing, no glory in those men’s statues, slogging along under their ponchos, though truth was, not all of them had decent weather gear and lots of them simply froze to death.

        America wasn’t paranoid so much as it was repressing a bad memory. America needed psychotherapy. Its veterans did — and they didn’t get much of it. Goldwater’s extremism was, IMHO, a reaction to that terrible episode.Report

    • Avatar Mlke Schilling says:

      Brezinski is a Roman Catholic.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

      Dude, Stormfront is that way. —->

      Protocols of the Elder of Zion is not considered a reliable source here.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Dude, Stormfront is that way. —->

        Oh, I get it. A bunch of white space. Well played.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

        I admit my sarcasm/snark reserves kick in when someone starts talking about Jewish men in power, world marxist conspiracies and some other bizarre hodge podge of fringe conspiracy nutjobbery. I’m just surprised there wasn’t some truther and birtherism mixed in and perhaps some goldbuggery for good measure.Report

  28. Avatar Cascadian says:

    @MichaelCain @willtruman So, a while back we were discussing the possible break up of the States. Would either of you classify our current difficulties as a “failure of federalism”? I think it’s pretty clear that the US political system is no longer working. Do either of you think this could degenerate to the point of disunion?Report

    • Avatar Patrick says:

      I don’t know that we need to stay local to see the failures of federalism.

      I mean, we’ve got the EU, right there.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        That’s a bit too flippant.

        I’m in favor of a more federated system, myself.

        But the failures of federated systems are pretty predictable, after all.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        I think the question about Federalism seems to be in what areas should we have it. Where does it make sense and where does it work? Those people with principles seem to push it as a universal solution that should be applied across the board.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        Yes, that’s true, Greginak.

        And yes, that comes with its own problems.Report