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Hts121

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I'm here to tell you, the quickest way to fix healthcare is to get rid of all employee sponsored health care.  The majority of people around me opposed to government intervention are spoon-fed a plan by their employer.  If they were true "conservatives," they would join the ranks of the uninsured and shop for their families' insurance on the open market.  Only then would they know what a mess it is.  Only then would they know if their employers are screwing them or not.  Only then would they know that they cannot buy the same policy as someone 50 miles away in a different zipcode.

 

The "free market" doesn't exist in healthcare now.  Threats of socialism are only thinly-veiled protections for the current monopolies. 

 

I'm not saying Obama care is the solution.  But the current system sucks.  There has to be a better way.

 

So I challenge all my white collar friends to cancel their employer sponsored plan, flex spending accounts and other tax dodges, and shop on the open market as an individual.  Suddenly Obamacare wouldn't seem so bad....

 

Are you referring to the partial anti-trust exemption that the health insurance industry has?  I think that that definitely stifles competition.

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Gramarye or Hts, could either one of you explain in layman terms the implications of the idea that this law might set a precedent on the limitations of commerce power?  Not sure I'm following what Roberts would be getting at if that's what he ultimately aimed to do with his decisive vote.

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The commerce clause has traditionally been interpreted as the most wide-reaching provision in the constitution for facilitating the passage of federal legislation.  It allows Congress to not only regulate interstate commerce, but anything that meaningfully affects interstate commerce.  It was used to pass many civil rights laws, for instance.  It is a way for the federal government to step in and regulate in areas that are normally reserved for the states.  This is important because once the federal government regulates something then the supremacy clause applies and any conflicting state law is effectively superseded by the federal law on the same topic.  It's the provision that is most often used to "impose Boston values on Mississippi" if you catch my drift.  States' rights proponents have often begged the question of "where does it end"?  Roberts' opinion was that the commerce clause is not so expansive as to allow the individual mandate, thereby identifying a limitation on Congress' power to regulate under the commerce clause not previously recognized.

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And many people in Texas would rather impose Texas values on Massachusetts than vice versa.  One major point of federalism is to prohibit both and allow different states to have different values for their peoples.  The other was to have states as a vertical check and balance against the entire federal government, just as the three branches of the federal government were intended to horizontally check and balance each other.

 

And I'll second Hts' exposition of the Commerce Clause issue.  I'll also add that the Commerce Clause has been invoked not just for civil rights laws, but it also forms the basis of almost every enabling act and regulation of the EPA, the Department of Labor, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the Department of Education (its spending programs are valid under the Tax Clause, but its regulations are more aptly Commerce Clause), the FCC, the FDA, and more.  Our antitrust laws are founded on the Commerce Clause.

 

Pure taxing and spending programs operate outside the Commerce Clause, so Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and unemployment would survive without it.  There are separate enabling clauses in the constitution for the army, navy, and militia, as well as for roads.  However, in practice, ever since the New Deal, a *huge* portion of the federal government has been dedicated to actually regulating commerce and also social legislation enacted under the Commerce Clause.

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Gramarye or Hts, could either one of you explain in layman terms the implications of the idea that this law might set a precedent on the limitations of commerce power?  Not sure I'm following what Roberts would be getting at if that's what he ultimately aimed to do with his decisive vote.

 

Conservative criticism:

http://chasingjefferson.blogspot.com/2012/03/boundless-commerce-clause.html

 

The Framers never intended this clause to be an all-empowering provision authorizing Congress to do anything it deems a good idea, or to regulate private activity on private property just because if enough people did it it might “affect” interstate commerce. 

 

 

The controversial decision:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wickard_v._Filburn

 

Wickard arguably marked the end to any limits on Congress's Commerce Clause powers. The Court's own decision, however, emphasizes the role of the democratic electoral process in confining the abuse of the Congressional power, stating that, "At the beginning Chief Justice Marshall described the Federal commerce power with a breadth never yet exceeded. He made emphatic the embracing and penetrating nature of this power by warning that effective restraints on its exercise must proceed from political rather than from judicial processes."

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And to the extent that Roberts' opinion did recognize some limits on Congress' power under the Commerce Clause to basically run the entire economy, that does represent a step back away from Wickard, which is probably the one decision that economic libertarians despise most in the entire oeuvre of the Supreme Court, barring universally disgraced decisions like Dred Scott and Korematsu.

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Conservative criticism:

http://chasingjefferson.blogspot.com/2012/03/boundless-commerce-clause.html

 

The Framers never intended this clause to be an all-empowering provision authorizing Congress to do anything it deems a good idea, or to regulate private activity on private property just because if enough people did it it might affect interstate commerce. 

 

What the Framers' intended - which, absent some writing signed by all of the Framers endorsing that interpretation, is impossible to state with any certainty - is never the primary question even though people like to play that card when it suits their needs.  It is secondary at best to what they wrote.  We can never change or adapt what they intended if that intent is no longer suitable for the modern world.  We also should never assume that "the Framers" agreed upon any singular intent/scope/etc.  The divide between the Framers was no so much different than the divide we see between politicians today.  They strongly disagreed with each other on many points.  What they ultimately agreed upon was phraseology.  What they wrote is right there for all of us to see and capable of being changed/adapted as society evolves.  I give "the Framers" a little more credit than most in acknolwedging that they realized this reality.

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Conservative criticism:

http://chasingjefferson.blogspot.com/2012/03/boundless-commerce-clause.html

 

The Framers never intended this clause to be an all-empowering provision authorizing Congress to do anything it deems a good idea, or to regulate private activity on private property just because if enough people did it it might “affect” interstate commerce. 

 

What the Framers' intended - which, absent some writing signed by all of the Framers endorsing that interpretation, is impossible to state with any certainty - is never the primary question even though people like to play that card when it suits their needs. 

 

.....

 

What they ultimately agreed upon was phraseology.  What they wrote is right there for all of us to see and capable of being changed/adapted as society evolves.

 

I disagree with you 1,000 percent.

 

What the drafters of the Constitution Intended is every bit as valid- if not moreso- than the four other types of legal argument for interpretation.

 

Finally, the method of changing the Constitution as society evolves is conveniently laid out IN the Constitution via the Amendment Process.

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Again, you are assuming there was a singular intent agreed upon by the Framers.  The only thing they "agreed upon" (and I'm sure there was even some serious dissent here too) is what they wrote.

 

Regarding your last sentence, I wasn't suggesting anything else.  I know of no other way to change the constitution than to amend it.  The point being that their inclusion of an amendment process demonstrated that they clearly "intended" for what they wrote to be capable of being changed if the need arose.  Point further being that their "intent" in the late 18th Century should not be taken as scripture or "the WORD" today.

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Again, you are assuming there was a singular intent agreed upon by the Framers.  The only thing they "agreed upon" (and I'm sure there was even some serious dissent here too) is what they wrote.

 

Regarding your last sentence, I wasn't suggesting anything else.  I know of no other way to change the constitution than to amend it.  The point being that their inclusion of an amendment process demonstrated that they clearly "intended" for what they wrote to be capable of being changed if the need arose.  Point further being that their "intent" in the late 18th Century should not be taken as scripture today.

 

Again, you are assuming there was a singular intent agreed upon by the Framers.  The only thing they "agreed upon" (and I'm sure there was even some serious dissent here too) is what they wrote.

 

Regarding your last sentence, I wasn't suggesting anything else.  I know of no other way to change the constitution than to amend it.  The point being that their inclusion of an amendment process demonstrated that they clearly "intended" for what they wrote to be capable of being changed if the need arose.  Point further being that their "intent" in the late 18th Century should not be taken as scripture today.

 

I'm not suggesting there's no weakness to the original intent position. Certainly "singular intent" is one area to contest an original intent position. That doesn't discount the value and importance of utilizing intent in trying to understand the meaning and breadth of a law.

 

Your second paragraph...I'm not clear on what you're saying.

 

"The point being that their inclusion of an amendment process demonstrated that they clearly "intended" for what they wrote to be capable of being changed if the need arose."

 

Certainly!

"Point further being that their "intent" in the late 18th Century should not be taken as scripture today."

 

Perhaps not scripture (these are fallible human beings writing down words) but again, it's valuable to try and understand the context in which these laws were intended.

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The only thing that we can be sure that "the Framers" intended was to draft the Constitution.  They issued no other collective expressions of their intent.  The Federalist Papers were written by certain individuals who, while influential, remain only a subset of the Framers.  Other contemporary treatises are likewise flawed as legal authority.  We turn to them for some guidance when it is unclear what the Framers may have intended, just as we may turn to other documents surrounding a contract when the contract itself is ambiguous, but even when they get to come into play at all, they are non-binding and always subordinate to the primary text.

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How about this:

 

The framers meant the commerce clause to mean exactly what it says.  Centralizing control over interstate commerce was a central purpose of making a constitution in the first place, arguably the #1 driving issue.  In that sense there is no reason to believe they would have wanted that power to be mitigated.  Of course, in their day, interstate commerce was a much smaller proportion of overall commerce.  But they intended for the clause to be scaleable, without the need for an amendment process every time the balance between interstate and intrastate shifted.  Congress controls interstate commerce period. 

 

I believe the modern "states' rights" position is anti-constitutional.  What they're really advocating is a return to something like the Articles of Confederation, which would be catastrophic for business, just like it was in the days before the constitution.  Don't like regulations?  Have fun replacing 1 book of them with 50.

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There has been a lot of discussion about the commerce clause and the individual mandate.  This is all well and good, but I'm surprised there isn't more discussion on the Court's decision to allow for the Medicaid expansion, but only if it is voluntary--in other words, states can opt out.  The Medicaid expansion is the one part of the law most observers expected to be entirely upheld.  This could really become a can of worms.  For example: please recall that the way we got the national 21 drinking age was by tying it to highway funding.  States can still set their own drinking age...but it better be 21 or you loose all your highway funding! It's the carrot and stick approach and the same rationale used in the ACA to try to compel Medicaid expansion.  Seems like the carrot and the stick were OK back then when the drinking age was debated...but oh, not now! 

 

Also, let's not forget that of the 30 million Americans expected to get new coverage under the ACA, fully half of that projection was based on new Medicaid enrollments, not individual mandate enrollments.  Seems like the benefit of the law just got potentially cut in half...which is why I view the ruling as a "mixed bag" rather than an upholding of the law. 

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How about this:

 

The framers meant the commerce clause to mean exactly what it says.  Centralizing control over interstate commerce was a central purpose of making a constitution in the first place, arguably the #1 driving issue.  In that sense there is no reason to believe they would have wanted that power to be mitigated.  Of course, in their day, interstate commerce was a much smaller proportion of overall commerce.  But they intended for the clause to be scaleable, without the need for an amendment process every time the balance between interstate and intrastate shifted.  Congress controls interstate commerce period.

 

I actually agree with this.  The real problem is not the fact that more commerce has become interstate in the modern world, but that the definitions of "interstate" and "commerce" themselves seem to have expanded.  As one of my law school professors noted during his Supreme Court Term in Review session (which he did for the entire UVA legal community) after Raich came out: "In this case, the Supreme Court considered the question of whether the Interstate Commerce Clause permits Congress to regulate activity that is neither interstate nor commercial and found, of course, that the answer was yes."

 

No one is arguing that the FCC is unconstitutional, for example, even though the Framers would have no f'ing idea what a radio or TV was.

 

I believe the modern "states' rights" position is anti-constitutional.  What they're really advocating is a return to something like the Articles of Confederation, which would be catastrophic for business, just like it was in the days before the constitution.  Don't like regulations?  Have fun replacing 1 book of them with 50.

 

No, we're more in favor of rolling back the Great Society and (to a lesser extent) New Deal welfare state and the exponentially more intrusive central government that arose at that time and has largely continued to this day, with Wickard as one of its bedrocks.

 

As for regulations: First, in many instances, duplicative state and federal agencies regulate the same activity, so we already have a patchwork of 50 state regulations in addition to federal regulations.  Second, the exit option is much easier to exercise to move from state to state than country to country, so if New York alone had passed some ludicrous and Byzantine overreaction to a problem (e.g, Sarbanes-Oxley), firms could have fled to secondary American financial centers rather than taking most of their business to London, as many did.  Third, and most importantly, when there really is general agreement on the public benefit of a given law, it tends to get adopted in many states with significant uniformity.  The Uniform Commercial Code is not a federal law; it's a law that has been passed in substantially identical form by all 50 states.  That is the most prominent example, but there are others: the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act is the law in most states (outlawing giving all your money away or selling your car to your brother for $1 right before creditors try to collect from you, basically).  Federalism allows states to go their own way, but on many issues, most states will freely decide to go the same way.

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The only thing that we can be sure that "the Framers" intended was to draft the Constitution.  They issued no other collective expressions of their intent.  The Federalist Papers were written by certain individuals who, while influential, remain only a subset of the Framers.  Other contemporary treatises are likewise flawed as legal authority.  We turn to them for some guidance when it is unclear what the Framers may have intended, just as we may turn to other documents surrounding a contract when the contract itself is ambiguous, but even when they get to come into play at all, they are non-binding and always subordinate to the primary text.

 

Certainly what we're talking about is where text is ambiguous, seemingly contradictory or non-existent.

 

Again, when it comes down to analyzing Supreme Court decisions I cannot recommend this book enough:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Five-Types-Legal-Arguments-Wilson/dp/0890891079

 

Organized simply and logically, The Five Types of Legal Argument shows readers how to identify, create, attack, and evaluate the five types of legal arguments (text, intent, precedent, tradition and policy). It also describes how to weave the arguments together to make them more persuasive and how to attack legal arguments. In this book, Huhn demonstrates exactly why the legal reasoning in a case is difficult to analyze. Each type of legal argument has a different structure and draws upon different evidence of what the law is. Thus this book does not merely introduce readers to law and legal reasoning, but shows how the five different legal arguments are constructed so that various strategies can be developed for attacking each one.

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If Sarbanes-oxley was an overreaction... do you think Gramm-Leach-Bliley was?  I do.  Integrated foreign banks were described as a boogeyman scary enough to restructure our entire banking system. 

 

As for welfare programs, including health care, I don't understand how they're a federalism issue at all.  Unless you're suggesting that each state should have its own economic system, which brings me back to my earlier point.

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I'm reposting something bfwissel posted in the Ohio Politics thread:

 

Has Medical Malpractice Tort Reform Enacted any Positive Change in the United States?

http://www.feldmanshepherd.com/blog/2012/03/has-medical-malpractice-tort-reform-enacted-any-positive-change-in-the-united-states/

 

Of course, the "repeal and replace" crowd are largely of the opinion that any meaningful national health care law must include tort reform (many in the general public would even argue that is all we need).  In the link above, there are some interesting statistics which go to my often stated response that using tort reform to control/lower health care costs would be like feeding a tic-tac to a whale.  It also hints at the point I have previously raised that it is more than blatantly hypocritical for the proponents of "states' rights" to try and institute tort reform on a national level.  Tort reform should be and is traditionally enacted on a state-by-state basis.  Ohio is in control of its own courts as is every other state.  I would be very interested to see how Scalia would rationalize his opinion allowing Congress to pass tort reform to be applied to all 50 states.  There also is the hypocritical notion that the "politicians in DC" know better than a jury selected from a fair cross section of the local community.

 

Speaking of Scalia (and sorry for taking us a bit off-topic, but this ties in).... he is under a bit of fire for recent rhetoric and dicta....

 

Scalia's Critics Fault Justice Over Politics

 

Justice Antonin Scalia ended his 26th year on the Supreme Court with a string of losses in the term's biggest cases and criticism that he crossed a line from judging to politics.

 

Scalia's willingness to do battle with those on the other side of an issue long has made him a magnet for critics. But some of his recent remarks stood out in the eyes of court observers.

 

His dissent in the Arizona immigration case contained a harsh assessment of the Obama administration's immigration policy and prompted a public rebuke from a fellow Republican-appointed judge.

 

Scalia's aggressive demeanor during argument sessions even earned him some gentle teasing from his closest personal friend on the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Speaking at a Washington convention, Ginsburg said the term's high-profile cases may explain why Scalia "called counsel's argument 'extraordinary' no fewer than 10 times."

 

Ten lawyers who appear regularly before the Supreme Court, including two former Scalia law clerks, were interviewed for this story and said they too had taken note of Scalia's recent comments.

 

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/scalias-critics-fault-justice-politics-16714405   

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If Sarbanes-oxley was an overreaction... do you think Gramm-Leach-Bliley was?  I do.  Integrated foreign banks were described as a boogeyman scary enough to restructure our entire banking system.

 

I think TARP was the misguided policy there.  Allowing some of those unstable titans to collapse to earth might have hurt some people in the short run--but those people almost inevitably ended up hurt anyway, as the bankers took Uncle Sam's money and then started calling loans and accelerating foreclosures.  Gramm-Leach-Bliley combined with TARP was the worst of all worlds.  In the ideal world, the regulations that GLB loosened would never have been there in the first place, so GLB would have been unnecessary--but the market would have been allowed to wreak its creative destruction upon the banking sector.  The unstable conglomerates would have fallen (and many of their principals might well have faced shareholder actions for breaches of various fiduciary duties), and the country would be in significantly less debt.  The foreclosures would most likely proceed, just as they did anyway, but that alone is not a bad thing for the economy because of how high property prices had gotten.

 

As for welfare programs, including health care, I don't understand how they're a federalism issue at all.  Unless you're suggesting that each state should have its own economic system, which brings me back to my earlier point.

 

I wasn't.  It was a separate point, as this thread seems to have developed several sub-conversations.  (However, I do support restructuring Medicaid as a block grant program to the states, which is more in line with federalism principles than the current universal-entitlement model.)

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^Lehman Brothers was allowed to die to honor your principle of "moral hazard", then the  banking system proceeded to blow up nonetheless.  When "insurance giant" UBS was about to die, even treasury secretary Hank Paulson in the Bush government realized that they were living in a fantasy world and the government had to intervene.

... The unstable conglomerates would have fallen (and many of their principals might well have faced shareholder actions for breaches of various fiduciary duties), and the country would be in significantly less debt.  ...

What was the bill for the bailouts?  Do you have a number?

It was a single digit percentage of the debt burden caused by Bush's multitrillion dollar tax cuts.

Or that war

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^Lehman Brothers was allowed to die to honor your principle of "moral hazard", then the  banking system proceeded to blow up nonetheless.  When "insurance giant" UBS was about to die, even treasury secretary Hank Paulson in the Bush government realized that they were living in a fantasy world and the government had to intervene.

 

You mean Paulson and the administration and Congress caved to their big donors on Wall Street and sheltered them from the consequences of their actions.  A second failure would not have been as damaging as Lehman because allowing Lehman to fail--which was the correct decision--caused most of the short-term effects of allowing moral hazard and creative destruction to run their course to get priced into the market.  Fannie, Freddie, AIG, Bear Stearns, UBS ... the world could survive without them, and they were absolutely not worth $2.5 trillion to save (with more contingent liabilities still remaining).  Heck, the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler combined was about $80 billion ... a rounding error against the $2,500 billion spent on the banks, let alone the $12,200 billion the government was willing to spend on the banks.

 

What was the bill for the bailouts?  Do you have a number? It was a single digit percentage of the debt burden caused by Bush's multitrillion dollar tax cuts.  Or that war

 

According to the New York Times, the numbers are <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/02/04/business/20090205-bailout-totals-graphic.html">$12.2 trillion authorized and $2.5 trillion spent</a>, even the smaller of which is significantly more than we spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

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What was the bill for the bailouts?  Do you have a number? It was a single digit percentage of the debt burden caused by Bush's multitrillion dollar tax cuts.  Or that war

 

According to the New York Times, the numbers are <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/02/04/business/20090205-bailout-totals-graphic.html">$12.2 trillion authorized and $2.5 trillion spent</a>, even the smaller of which is significantly more than we spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Actually no, the smaller of which is in line with the cost of the wars according to the CBO or a bit less according to a study by Brown University. These numbers look a bit larger than some DOD estimates of the cost because those don't take into account the extra cost of VA benefits, interest on the amount borrowed to pay for the war, replacement costs for equipment worn out earlier than expected, or even the cost of paying hazardous duty pay and hostile fire pay to soldiers in combat zones. In other words, every estimate of the cost of the war is dependant upon what you include when adding up the cost.

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Fannie, Freddie, ... the world could survive without them, and they were absolutely not worth $2.5 trillion to save (with more contingent liabilities still remaining). 

 

This is off topic, but unless you mean survival of the world literally (which would be a high standard to hold anything to), I wouldn't include Fannie and Freddie in that list. Qualitatively different from the other financial institutions on your list.  Which is not to forgive them for any of their many sins.

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What was the bill for the bailouts?  Do you have a number? It was a single digit percentage of the debt burden caused by Bush's multitrillion dollar tax cuts.  Or that war

 

According to the New York Times, the numbers are <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/02/04/business/20090205-bailout-totals-graphic.html">$12.2 trillion authorized and $2.5 trillion spent</a>, even the smaller of which is significantly more than we spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Actually no, the smaller of which is in line with the cost of the wars according to the CBO or a bit less according to a study by Brown University. These numbers look a bit larger than some DOD estimates of the cost because those don't take into account the extra cost of VA benefits, interest on the amount borrowed to pay for the war, replacement costs for equipment worn out earlier than expected, or even the cost of paying hazardous duty pay and hostile fire pay to soldiers in combat zones. In other words, every estimate of the cost of the war is dependant upon what you include when adding up the cost.

 

And you didn't mention that TARP monies are being repaid or have been repaid...  http://money.cnn.com/2011/03/30/news/economy/tarp_program/index.htm

 

To whom do we send the bill for the wars?  We are going to need a sizeable lump sum to not only cover direct costs (medical care, loss of equipment, expenses) but also indirect costs such as the wide-ranging effects of PTSD and TBI.

 

I personally hated the bank bailouts.  Very hard pill to swallow.  It's easy to sit back and criticize now, predicting what might have been had we not issued the bailouts.  However, I believe there was a very strong consensus amongst experts (not just politicians "in the pockets of the Wall Street cronies) of all political leanings that letting the dominos fall at the end of Bush's 2nd term was simply too risky given the potential consequences.

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What was the bill for the bailouts?  Do you have a number? It was a single digit percentage of the debt burden caused by Bush's multitrillion dollar tax cuts.  Or that war

 

According to the New York Times, the numbers are <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/02/04/business/20090205-bailout-totals-graphic.html">$12.2 trillion authorized and $2.5 trillion spent</a>, even the smaller of which is significantly more than we spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Actually no, the smaller of which is in line with the cost of the wars according to the CBO or a bit less according to a study by Brown University. These numbers look a bit larger than some DOD estimates of the cost because those don't take into account the extra cost of VA benefits, interest on the amount borrowed to pay for the war, replacement costs for equipment worn out earlier than expected, or even the cost of paying hazardous duty pay and hostile fire pay to soldiers in combat zones. In other words, every estimate of the cost of the war is dependant upon what you include when adding up the cost.

 

The CBO estimate is the estimate of the present and future cost of the wars, whereas the NYT smaller figure is the amount actually spent to date.  If you believe that we are out of the woods on the financial crisis (and I certainly hope we are, but we have to concede the possibility that we aren't), then the smaller NYT figure may end up being close to the final figure.  However, if we slip back into recession, the actual costs will begin to rise again into that $9.7 trillion zone of potential-but-not-yet-actual costs.  Also, there are indirect costs of even just making that commitment, even if we ultimately never have to make good on those guaranties.  (Think of a parent who co-signs or guarantees a loan for his or her child.  If the child pays, the parent never has to.  However, while that guaranty exists, it *still* affects the financial profile of the parent.  It may even appear on his/her credit report--I'm not even sure about that one.)

 

Fannie, Freddie, ... the world could survive without them, and they were absolutely not worth $2.5 trillion to save (with more contingent liabilities still remaining). 

 

This is off topic, but unless you mean survival of the world literally (which would be a high standard to hold anything to), I wouldn't include Fannie and Freddie in that list. Qualitatively different from the other financial institutions on your list.  Which is not to forgive them for any of their many sins.

 

The world (or at least America) does need something like Fannie and Freddie; there is market demand for that service.  That is not the same thing as we need Fannie and Freddie.  That function could be served by another entity--one that provided the service without being as much of a racket.

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I personally hated the bank bailouts.  Very hard pill to swallow.  It's easy to sit back and criticize now, predicting what might have been had we not issued the bailouts.  However, I believe there was a very strong consensus amongst experts (not just politicians "in the pockets of the Wall Street cronies) of all political leanings that letting the dominos fall at the end of Bush's 2nd term was simply too risky given the potential consequences.

 

The consensus was not all that strong.  It's true that it was supported by a majority of each party--but at the same time, it was not the overwhelming majority of either party.  It was one of those rare moments in Washington where party lines really did break down--rather than seeing 95%+ of one party and <5% of another voting for a given measure, the bailouts passed with modest majorities of both parties.  I believe that many who cast those votes came to regret them later when the size of Wall Street pay packages rebounded and the larger economy did not.

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^^Agreed if you're writing a policy proposal for medium/long term housing finance reform (and maybe even then we don't really need something quite like F/F), but if you're standing over the hospital bed in 2008 deciding whether to hook F/F up to life support with no conceivable substitute for their role in the housing market waiting in the wings, things are a little different. Anyway, that's a totally minor point in this discussion. Just wanted to register my unease seeing them lumped in with the failed banks, not because management was less awful, but because role in the economy is quite different and the nature of the bailout was a bit different (e.g., the shareholders were completely wiped out).

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According to the New York Times, the numbers are <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/02/04/business/20090205-bailout-totals-graphic.html">$12.2 trillion authorized and $2.5 trillion spent</a>, ...

No way did we add those huge amounts to the public debt.  As Hts121 said, most has been paid back.  The public lost ~$60 billion, IIRC.

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We surely did not add two or twelve trillion dollars to the national debt as you imply.  TARP has cost the Treasury $32 billion.  Seventh line: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troubled_Asset_Relief_Program

Have anything to counter that?

I understand why some Americans are so hopping mad.  They have a misguided impression that the President paid off his cronies with public money. 

 

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We surely did not add two or twelve trillion dollars to the national debt as you imply.  TARP has cost the Treasury $32 billion.  Seventh line: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troubled_Asset_Relief_Program

Have anything to counter that?

I understand why some Americans are so hopping mad.  They have a misguided impression that the President paid off his cronies with public money. 

 

 

Like the GOP is trying to do for their healthcare cronies?  That is American politics.  If you want to look at public debt over the last 60 years, how much of it has gone to defense contractors.  We used to make butter, then guns during times of war.  Now we make guns 24/7.  Non stop.  If you ask me, this entire debate has been coming to head since the end of the second world war, when Economics 101 was forgotten.

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I understand why some Americans are so hopping mad.  They have a misguided impression that the President paid off his cronies with public money. 

 

Dubya did no such thing

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Ever wonder why Congress' approval rating has hit historical low points?  Maybe it is because they are more interested in playing politics and fighting useless battles than actually doing something to help the country.  Total waste of time here.  And, to top it off, they didn't even propose a replacement measure as the campaign trail rhetoric would suggest.  Time to get real..... stop the chest pounding and admit two things - (1) the ACA was the best the political tent of democrats could come up with and they don't have the political will to go any further than that; and (2) the GOP has no intention of replacing the ACA with anything other than the old system and a bunch of hot air for media fodder....

 

GOP-controlled House votes to repeal health law

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-led House has voted to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law. But the election-year move stands no chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

 

The vote Wednesday was 244-185. By the Republican count, it was the 33rd time in 18 months that the tea party-infused GOP majority has tried to scrap, defund or scale back the law since grabbing the majority.

 

http://news.yahoo.com/gop-controlled-house-votes-repeal-health-law-195734300--finance.html

 

 

Don't worry about he economy.  Don't worry about the impending 'fiscal cliff'.  Don't worry about education.  No, no, no.  The game's afoot and it is time to play...

 

 

 

 

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In their minds, they *are* doing something to help the country.  Considering that there are large numbers of people who want to see ObamaCare repealed, they're also not completely alone out there on an island doing this.  (Of course, they've taken many such votes since ObamaCare was enacted, but repetition is not always a bad thing, considering how easily any one vote can get swept away by the tide of events and ignored.)  Civil rights bills passed one house of Congress or the other many times over the years before they finally made it all the way through both houses and the White House.

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It just seems like there are more pressing priorities at this time, things that might actually pass.  And repealing health care reform is hardly analogous to advancing civil rights.  It seems petty and childish.

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In your mind, it's not.  However, I think the correlation between people who castigate moves to repeal Obamacare as "just playing politics" and people who support the law on the merits approaches 1.  Therefore, it's not really about distracting politics; it's about the fact that they continue to fight a fight that you'd rather they just concede and move on.

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It really is playing politics.  Plain and simple.  They know it will never see the light of day in the Senate and even if the Senate were to pass it Obama would veto, which they can't even dream of garnering enough support to override.  It's a total subterfuge and a complete waste of time.  In fact, if they diidn't know all of the above, I doubt they would do an outright repeal considering the consequences.

 

They should at least accompany a repeal with a comprehensive replacement plan which they can tell the public they collectively support.  Not some proposal from a think-tank.  I'm talking about a plan which the GOP controlled HOR can say - "here is what we will agree to..."  I'm sure whatever they come up with we will see the Left embrace and support 10 years from now, only to hear from its creators that it is the largest tax increase in the history of mankind and an outright assault on our individual freedoms!

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^I'm no fan of congress wasting time, but this is just silly. All of those people were still going to get paid whether they were voting on Obamacare or voting on something more important. The lights still had to be on. The expenses still existed.

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But that is time they could have spent focusing on job creation/the economy/the deficit/etc. Instead they spend their time on meaningless legislation.

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^I'm no fan of congress wasting time, but this is just silly. All of those people were still going to get paid whether they were voting on Obamacare or voting on something more important. The lights still had to be on. The expenses still existed.

 

Try that one on your boss after an unproductive day in which you accomplished nothing.

 

v Touche

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But that is time they could have spent focusing on job creation/the economy/the deficit/etc. Instead they spend their time on meaningless legislation.

We've seen the Republican ideas about how to fix the economy, the job market, and the deficit. I'd rather they focus on legislation that everyone knows isn't going anywhere than try to fix anything.

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Recently I heard someone say that Obamacare places a 3.8% sales tax on all home purchases. This sounded ridiculous, so I investigated and found this: http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/realestate.asp

 

The 3.8% real estate sales tax does exist, but it only takes effect in extreme circumstances.

 

First, an individual must make $200,000/year or a couple must make $250,000/year to be elligible. Next, you must make a PROFIT on a home sale of at least $250,000 at the point of sale as an individual or $500,000 as a couple. Finally, the 3.8% tax is only placed on the lesser of the following two values:

 

1) Income/year over $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for couples.

2) Profit over $250,000 from a home sale by an individual or profit over $500,000 for couples.

 

So, assume you are a couple who makes $325,000 together each year. In 2004 you buy a home for $300,000. Then in 2013 (when the law goes into effect) you sell your home for $850,000. Since you are a couple, your income is above the $250,000 by $75,000 and your profit from the home sale was $50,000 over $500,000 (subtract out original purchase price to get profit, not revenue). Since $50,000<$75,000, you are taxed 3.8% of the $50,000. This equates to $1,900.

 

Since only 3% of the population is within this income bracket, there is very little chance you are impacted. Just thought I should get this off of my chest and inform you all in case someone tries to use this argument again. The first time I heard it was yesterday.

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^I feel some retort involving the phrase about penalizing "job creators" and "small businesses" is required..... I'm not sure why it is required or how it ties in, but let's just make sure it's on the record so that no one can allege bias.

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But that is time they could have spent focusing on job creation/the economy/the deficit/etc. Instead they spend their time on meaningless legislation.

 

Repealing Obamacare will help job creation, the economy, and the deficit.

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But that is time they could have spent focusing on job creation/the economy/the deficit/etc. Instead they spend their time on meaningless legislation.

 

Repealing Obamacare will help job creation, the economy, and the deficit.

 

In your opinion.

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But that is time they could have spent focusing on job creation/the economy/the deficit/etc. Instead they spend their time on meaningless legislation.

 

Repealing Obamacare will help job creation, the economy, and the deficit.

 

That is speculative at best.  Regardless, it is beside the point of this being an utter waste of time and effort..... just like any effort to pass single payer would be an utter waste of time and effort...... just like passing a bill which declares now and forever until the end of time that the sky is blue, water is wet, and pigs can't fly would be an utter waste of time and effort.

 

Like I said, if you want to repeal it and offer an alternative which you can present with a straight face so we know where you stand on the issue of health care reform, then go right ahead.  But if the GOP doesn't have the political will to at least present a plan THEY can agree upon (even without democratic support), then why bother?  Let's not pretend that they passed this repeal with any hope or intention that it would ever become law.  No way in H-E-double hockey sticks that they pass a repeal during an election year which could ever potentially lead to countless voters being kicked out of their current insurance plans.  I don't think they would do that even in a non-election year.

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