Posts Tagged With: republican

Public Option Cheaper?

Obamacare wins; but would the ‘Public Option’ have been cheaper, asks this reporter from Pacific Standard magazine?.

Although the Supreme Court has largely upheld the Affordable Care Act, one new study–by the country’s largest private health insurance provider–concludes that a public option like the one Obama rejected could save states and families money.

June 28, 2012 • By No Comments and 0 Reactions

Even though public debate over American health care policy has been trapped in legal limbo, research into the nuts and bolts of fixing American health care has never gone away—and, in fact, has evolved in strange new directions. In at least one case, a major health care provider has concluded that a single payer system was viable at the state level.

In late March, a study by the Lewin Group, a research subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare, the country’s biggest health insurance provider, found that a broad single-payer plan would save the state of Minnesota $189.5 billion from 2014 to 2023, and lower annual health care costs for families by over $1,300. But it would also cost the state’s insurance industry more than 42,000 jobs, as health care moved from a paid service to a public benefit.

UnitedHealthcare is based in Minnesota. A liberal Minneapolis think tank, Growth and Justice, commissioned the study. It supposes a publically funded and administered program, with far greater public involvement than the federal Obamacare plan approved today by the Supreme Court. The researchers claimed the modeled program would “cover a broad range of health services for all Minnesota residents, including those now covered by federal and state programs and undocumented immigrants.” It would eliminate insurance premiums for employers and workers. The investigation—of a system that could have been rendered all but illegal had today’s ruling gone against the Obamacare plan—imagined a system funded from “current funding for government health programs” and several tax increases: alcohol, cigarettes, a bump in a state payroll tax, or an increase in Minnesota’s income tax.

The study is here.  The possible future it describes is controversial. As of today, though, it also appears to be legal. Let the shouting resume.

About Marc Herman
Marc Herman is a writer in Barcelona. He is the author of The Shores of Tripoli.
Categories: -- Circuses, Medical Issues | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Supporting Conservative Solutions

From Wikipedia

Crowd Funding

Crowd funding or crowdfunding (alternately crowd financing, equity crowdfunding, or hyper funding) describes the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money and other resources together, usually via the internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.[citation needed] Crowd funding occurs for any variety of purposes,[1] from disaster relief to citizen journalism to artists seeking support from fans, to political campaigns, to funding a startup company, movie [2] or small business[3] or creating free software.

Another aspect of crowd funding is tied into the United States of America JOBS Act which allows for a wider pool of smaller investors with fewer restrictions. The Act was signed into law by President Obama on April 5, 2012. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is going to have approximately 270 days from the enactment date to set forth specific rules and methods to ensure that funding will actually take place.[citation needed]


In 1997, fans underwrote an entire U.S. tour for the British rock group Marillion,[4] raising $60,000 in donations by means of a fan-based internet campaign.[citation needed] The idea was conceived and managed by fans without any involvement by the band, although Marillion has since used this method with great success as a way to fund the recording and marketing of its albums[citation needed] Anoraknophobia,[5] Marbles,[6] and Happiness Is the Road.[7]

The United States based company ArtistShare (2000/2001) is documented as being the first crowdfunding website for music followed later by sites such as Sellaband (2006), IndieGoGo (2008), Pledge Music (2009), Kickstarter (2009), RocketHub (2009), GoFundMe (2010), Rock The Post (2011) and in the UK Sponsume (2010) and PleaseFund.Us (2011)and Peerbackers (2008).

Electric Eel Shock (EES) the Japanese rock band who have toured the world became one of the first bands without previous significant record sales to fully embrace Crowd Funding. In 2004 as an unsigned band they raised £10,000 from 100 fans (the Samurai 100) by offering them guestlist for life [8]. Two years later they became the fastest band to raise a 50,000 budget through SellaBand [9]. They licensed the album internationally including to Universal in their native Japan.

Franny Armstrong was a pioneer of crowdfunding in the production of the eco-movie The Age of Stupid starring Pete Postlethwaite. The film was crowd-funded by a £450,000 budget being raised by selling “shares” to 223 individuals and groups who donated between £500 and £35,000.[10]

Morton Valence are an early example of a relatively obscure band to independently enter into crowd funding without using a third party website such as sellaband.[11] In 2007 Franny Armstrong discussed her project with bandleader Robert “Hacker” Jessett[12] who adapted it to work for the independent music business raising £20 000 to record and promote the concept album Bob & Veronica Ride Again. [13] [14]

The Professional Contractors Group, a trade association for freelancer workers in the UK, was founded on the internet in 1999 when Andy White put out a call for 2,000 contractors to pledge £50 to raise £100,000 so he could start the organisation. 5 days later 2002 people had pledged the money and so the organisation was born. Today it has over 14,000 members and is a thriving trade association.[citation needed]

Crowd funding’s earliest known citation[15] was by Michael Sullivan in fundavlog on August 12, 2006.

Related definitions

There are questions about the legality of taking money from “investors” without offering any of the security demanded by legitimate investment schemes. Sites such as ArtistShare, Pledgemusic, PleaseFund.Us and Funding4Learning have a failsafe. They hold funds in an escrow account.[citation needed] If the nominated target isn’t reached, all funds are returned to contributors. While sites such as IndieGoGo, GoFundMe, RocketHub, Fondomat, Rock The Post, Peerbackers and Sponsume allow projects to keep all the funds raised.[citation needed]

Investors are given something for their money – so in a legal sense, they have paid for and received something.[citation needed] The Tunnel is selling frames of film for one dollar each. Pioneer One gives you the theme music or a special edition download.[citation needed]

Micropatronage is a system in which the public directly supports the work of others by making donations through the Internet. In use as early as 2001,[citation needed] the term was popularized in 2005[citation needed] by blogger Jason Kottke when he quit his day job as a web designer and spent a year blogging full time, living off the voluntary donations of his readership. Micropatronage differs from traditional patronage systems by allowing many “patrons” to donate small amounts, rather than a small number of patrons making larger contributions.

Contemporary applications

Crowd funding is being experimented with as a funding mechanism for creative work such as blogging and journalism,[16] music, and independent film,[17][18] for funding a startup company[19][20][21] and even for funding public projects.[22] Community music labels are usually for-profit organizations where “fans assume the traditional financier role of a record label for artists they believe in by funding the recording process”.[23]

Since pioneering crowd funding in the film industry Spanner films have published a useful ‘how to’ guide.[24] Innovative new platforms, such as RocketHub, have emerged that combine traditional funding for creative work with branded crowdsourcing – helping artists and entrepreneurs unite with brands “without the need for a middle man.” [25]

New peer-to-peer companies such as Prosper Marketplace, Zopa and Lending Club seek to match lenders directly to borrowers. Crowd lending from non-banks is gaining momentum globally as banks have increased interest rates or pulled back from lending to consumers and small businesses; however, as of early 2012, the non-bank sector of crowd lending is yet to be considered a threat to the big consumer lending businesses of the largest global banks.[26]

Crowd funding philanthropy

A variety of crowd funding platforms has emerged to allow ordinary web users to support specific philanthropic projects without the need for large amounts of money. Global Giving allows individuals to browse through a selection of small projects proposed by nonprofit organizations worldwide, donating funds to projects of their choice. Microcredit crowd funding platforms such as Kiva (organization) and Wokai facilitate crowd funding of loans managed by microcredit organizations in developing countries. The US-based nonprofit Zidisha offers a new twist on these themes, applying a direct person-to-person lending model to microcredit lending for low-income small business owners in developing countries. Zidisha borrowers who pass a background check may post microloan applications directly on the Zidisha website, specifying proposed credit terms and interest rates. Individual web users in the US and Europe can lend as little as one US dollar, and Zidisha’s crowd funding platform allows lenders and borrowers to engage in direct dialogue. Repaid principal and interest is returned to the lenders, who may withdraw the cash or use it to fund new loans.[27]

Intellectual property exposure

One of the challenges of posting new ideas on crowd funding sites is there may be little or no intellectual property (IP) protection provided by the sites themselves. Once an idea is posted, it can be copied. As Slava Rubin, founder of IndieGoGo said: “We get asked that all the time, ‘How do you protect me from someone stealing my idea?’ We’re not liable for any of that stuff.” [28] Inventor advocates, such as Simon Brown, founder to the UK based United Innovation Association, counsel that ideas can be protected on crowd funding sites through early filing of patent applications, use of copyright and trademark protection as well as a new form of idea protection supported by the World Intellectual Property Organization called Creative Barcode.[29]

Patent disputes

On September 30, 2011, the crowdfunding site Kickstarter filed a request for declaratory judgment against Fan Funded who owns U.S. patent US 7885887, “Methods and apparatuses for financing and marketing a creative work”. Brian Camelio, founder of ArtistShare, is the inventor on the patent. KickStarter says it believes it is under threat of a patent infringement lawsuit. KickStarter has asked that the patent be invalidated, or, at the very least, that the court find that Kickstarter is not liable of infringement.[30][31]

In February 2012, Fan Funded responded to Kickstarter’s complaint notably claiming that patent infringement litigation was never threatened, that “ArtistShare merely approached KickStarter about licensing their platform, including patent rights”, and that “rather than responding to ArtistShare’s request for a counter-proposal, Kickstarter filed this lawsuit.”[32]

Pros and cons

Proponents of the crowd funding approach argue that it allows good ideas which do not fit the pattern required by conventional financiers to break through and attract cash through the wisdom of the crowd. If it does achieve “traction” in this way, not only can the enterprise secure seed funding to begin its project, but it may also secure evidence of backing from potential customers and benefit from word of mouth promotion.[citation needed]

Against these advantages is the requirement to disclose the idea for which funding is sought in public when it is at a very early stage. This exposes the promoter of the idea to the risk of the idea being copied and developed ahead of them by better-financed competitors.[citation needed]. In addition, there is substantial research in social psychology that demonstrates that the crowd is not always so wise. [33]

Legal restrictions

Another significant disadvantage to crowd funding is the possibility of getting ensnared in various securities laws, since soliciting investments from the general public is most often illegal unless the opportunity has been filed with an appropriate securities regulatory authority, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission in the U.S., the Ontario Securities Commission in Ontario, Canada, the Autorité des marchés financiers in France and Quebec, Canada, or the Financial Services Authority in the U.K. These regulators can have different ways of determining what is and what is not a security but a general rule one can rely on (at least in the U.S.) is the Howey Test. The Howey Test says that a transaction constitutes an investment contract (therefore a security) if there is (1) an exchange of money (2) with an expectation of profits arising (3) from a common enterprise (4) which depends solely on the efforts of a promoter or third party. Clearly, under this standard, any crowd sourcing arrangement in which people are asked to contribute money in exchange for potential profits based on the work of others would be considered a security. As such, the applicable investment contract would have to be registered with a regulatory agency (such as the S.E.C.) unless it qualified for one of several rule-laden exemptions (e.g., Regulation A or Rule 506 of Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933, or the California Limited Offering Exemption – Rule 1001 (also known as S.E.C. Rule 1001)). The penalties for a securities violation can vary greatly and depend in large part on the amount of profit obtained by the “promoter,” the damage done to the investors, and whether a violation is a first time offense. However, a violation may result in both civil and criminal penalties, a return of any profit made and sometimes a lifetime ban from work in the securities industry. According to Section 5 of the Securities Act, it is illegal to sell any security unless such a sale is accompanied or preceded by a prospectus that meets the requirements of the Securities Act.[34][citation needed]


In February 2011, a group of entrepreneurs banded together and formed ‘The Startup Exemption’ with the goal to lobby Washington, D.C. to update the U.S. Federal Security Laws and make it legal for entrepreneurs to use crowdfunding to raise a limited amount of early-stage equity-based financing. With the assistance of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBEC) they partook in two hearings on Capitol Hill. Their framework was the basis for the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act (H.R. 2930) introduced by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) on September 14, 2011. It proposed to greatly reduce restrictions on equity crowdfunding of for-profit businesses then present in state and federal securities laws. On November 3, 2011 the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R 2930 with a vote 407-17. H.R.2930 was subsequently introduced on the Senate Floor and referred to the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (the “Banking Committee”) for further consideration.[citation needed]

Meanwhile, members of the Senate had also been drafting similar legislation with an eye towards adding further investor protections in their proposed equity crowdfunding legislation, as evidenced in the language of the bills that Senators proposed. To that end, the Democratizing Access to Capital Act (S.1791) was sponsored by Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) and introduced in the US Senate on November 2, 2011. S.1791 was substantially the same as H.R.2930, though it lowered caps on the both amount of capital a small business could raise and how much an investor could invest, as compared to the House bill. Shortly thereafter, the Capital Raising Online While Deterring Fraud and Unethical Non-Disclosure of 2011, or the CROWDFUND Act (S. 1790) was sponsored by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and introduced in the U.S. Senate on December 8, 2011. Both bills were referred to the Banking Committee.

This committee held hearings on December 1 and 14 [35] to gather information and testimony on the matter of capital formation for small and mid-size businesses. The hearings related to many bills on the issue that had been raised in the House and Senate that fall. Both hearings, through primarily the December 1st hearing, addressed the matter of equity crowdfunding in detail. Concerns at the time focused primarily on providing the right level of investor protections in the bills to discourage fraud and bad actors. Another concern was the role of state securities regulators in the proposed equity crowdfunding market. On the fraud point advocates for crowdfunding highlighted the transparent nature of the Internet and the regulatory affect of the platforms that would be hosting the stock offerings. Further, they noted the importance of a national standard to govern the industry, as opposed to a patchwork of state by state standards.

Debate continued in the Senate and within the Senate Banking Committee for a few months. Congress’ Christmas recess and then other issues arising in the Senate pushed Crowdfunding and small capital formation bills down in the priority list. In February 2012 equity crowdfunding advocates mobilized again to re-energize the movement and push the Senate to act. This got the Senate’s attention and a further hearing was held on March 6, 2012[35] by the Senate Banking Committee to review crowdfunding and other capital formation measures. Around the same time the House packaged 7 of its earlier small business capital formation bills into a single bill (H.R.3606 or the JOBS Act). This package contained the original language from H.R.2930 regarding equity crowdfunding. H.R.3606 passed the House on March 8, 2012. As H.R.3606 primarily just reiterated bills already passed in the House and under consideration in the Senate, its purpose was to reiterate to the Senate that these bills were important and to force them all the be passed or voted down as one.

In mid-March Senator Merkley’s office released a heavily revised version[36] of its earlier CROWDFUND Act that took parts from S.1791 and S.1970 and issued the bill as S.2190. This bill had been negotiated with Senator Scott Brown’s office and was sponsored with bipartisan support by Senators Merkley, S. Brown, Bennet, and Landrieu.[36] This bill was later added as an amendment to the JOBS Act on March 22, 2012[37] and the full JOBS Act passed the Senate the same day.[37] The JOBS Act went back to the House for a final vote. President Barack Obama stated in early March that he would sign the JOBS Act as soon as he received it from Congress. On April 5, 2012 he signed the JOBS Act into law.[38]

It may be some time, given the 270 days the SEC has to begin interpreting and administering the new law, before we begin to see the CROWDFUND Act implemented via the Internet. There are several groups competing to become the regulatory authority under the SEC, all doing heavy lobbying in Washington DC.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Ordanini, A.; Miceli, L.; Pizzetti, M.; Parasuraman, A. (2011). “Crowd-funding: Transforming customers into investors through innovative service platforms”. Journal of Service Management 22 (4): 443. DOI:10.1108/09564231111155079. (also available as Scribd document)
  2. ^ “url=“.
  3. ^ “1st paragraph — Crowd funding Pbworks”. Michael Sullivan and pbworks consensus group. Retrieved 2010-01-15.
  4. ^ “BBC article, May 11, 2001”.
  5. ^ “”.
  6. ^ “OHM Review”.
  7. ^ “Calling the faithful for Album 15”.
  8. ^ “ “Wanna Go VIP? Electric Eel Shock’ll show you the way…”, Dec 2nd, 2004″.
  9. ^ “itsallhappening, June 24th, 2008”.
  10. ^ Dell, Kristina (4 September 2008). “Time Magazine article on Crowd Funding the ‘Age of Stupid'”. Retrieved 2009-09-09.
  11. ^ “blog entry by Morton Valence “Nothing Like Sellaband”, May 22, 2008″.
  12. ^ Age of Stupid music page”.
  13. ^ “BBC review, cites MV crowd funding, May 22, 2009”.
  14. ^ “Aesthetica Magazine interview”.
  15. ^ “Crowdfundings earliest citation”.
  16. ^ funding-journalism/ “Crowdfunding journalism”. idio. 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
  17. ^ Teenagers’ credit note approach to fund £1m film of Clovis Dardentor
  18. ^ TIME article on Crowd Funding the ‘Age of Stupid’
  19. ^ TechCrunch“Sponsume lets projects get off the ground with Groupon-style group funding model”
  20. ^ TechCrunch ‘Grow VC launches, aiming to become the Kiva for tech startups’
  21. ^ BBC News ‘Cash-strapped entrepreneurs get creative’
  22. ^ CivicSponsor helps citizens crowdfund their public spaces
  23. ^ Kappel, Tim, “Ex Ante Crowdfunding and the Recording Industry: A Model for the U.S.?” in Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review, Vol.29, Issue 3, p.376
  24. ^ Spanner Films : How to crowd fund your film
  25. ^ Bell, Melissa. “Crowd-sourcing a brand”, The Washington Post, March 12, 2011, accessed September 3, 2011.
  26. ^ “Crowdfunding: John Mack backs non-bank with board role “, Euromoney, April 12, 2012.
  27. ^ “Is Microfinance for You?”, SecondAct, April 17, 2012.
  28. ^ Mike Drummond, “Making it Rain: Seeking Seed Money from the Crowd”, Inventors Digest, August 2011
  29. ^ Simon Brown, “Follow the Crowd”, Intellectual Property Magazine, July 2011
  30. ^ Sarah Jacobsson Purewal, Kickstarter Faces Patent Suit Over Funding Idea, PCWorld, October 5, 2011. Consulted on October 6, 2011.
  31. ^ Eriq Gardner, KickStarter Seeks To Protect Fan-Funding Model From Patent Threat, The Hollywood Reporter, October 4, 2011. Consulted on October 15, 2011.
  32. ^ Eriq Gardner (February 16, 2012). “Hollywood Docket: Comedy Club Documentary Lawsuit; Michael Jordan vs. 1st Amendment”. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  33. ^
  34. ^ “Section 5 — Prohibitions Relating to Interstate Commerce and the Mails”. University of Cincinnati College of Law. Retrieved 2010-01-15.
  35. ^ a b
  36. ^ a b
  37. ^ a b
  38. ^ Landler, Mark (5 April 2012). “Obama Signs Bill to Promote Start-Up Investments”. New York Times. Retrieved 6 April 2012.

Further reading

Categories: -- Circuses, Enquiries & Speculations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hard Days Ahead for ObamaCare

July 11, 2012

Hard Days Ahead for ObamaCare

By Christopher Chantrill

Don’t bet on ObamaCare.  It’s not going to turn into a political winner like Social Security and Medicare.  So writes the excellent Jay Cost.

Because Social Security and Medicare do not discriminate between citizens, there has yet been no political coalition powerful enough to alter them. Everybody expects to benefit from them, so it has been impossible to implement even common-sense reforms.

But ObamaCare is different.

Obamacare has no such insulation from reformers because it discriminates between classes of citizens. Indeed, Democrats played all kinds of favorites[.]

Some people do better from ObamaCare, and some do worse, writes Cost.

But the bigger problem is the middle class already has health insurance.  Most people will do worse under ObamaCare.

That’s the trouble with universal government programs.  You start out with a simple concept, like universal health insurance, and you end up screwing the majority to serve the favored few.  Some people get a special deal because they are helpless victims, others because they are powerful special interests.  Pretty soon everyone is gaming the system.

You end up with injustice.  It’s nobody’s fault; not really.

Justice requires that equal people be treated the same and different people differently, yet no government bureaucracy has the bandwidth to cater to all the different needs.  Fortunately ruling elites have developed a solution to this problem.  They tell us rubes over and over that their simplification and centralization schemes are just wonderful, and that the problems could be solved if only the rich paid their fair share.

But eventually people start wandering off and discovering nasty things under the rocks.

Let’s look under a couple of rocks, just for practice.

How are things with the young?  The ruling class says that it does wonders for the young, protecting them with child labor laws, giving them free education, dosing them with subsidized student loans, forcing insurance companies to keep children on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.  But then, the ruling class would say that, because it is seeing like a state.

We know better.

  • We know that many children, especially the children of the poor, suffer because of child labor laws and compulsory education.  If poor kids could legally quit school at 13 and start work, then maybe fewer would join the only other game in town: gangs.
  • Then there are student loans.  They have buried today’s generation of students in an ocean of debt while colleges rack their fees into the stratosphere.  And the young still can’t get jobs.

What about the workers?

The ruling class is immensely proud of all the social gains it has legislated for workers.  Pensions, Medicare, unemployment, worker’s comp, disability.  Imagine what would happen if all that were taken away!  But think of this.  Why force young people to save for retirement?  They should be saving for a down-payment on a starter home.  Unemployment?  How about moving back with Mom and Dad?  Disability?  Did you know that there are people holding pilot’s licenses that are also collecting SSDI?

When you are thinking like a “STATE“, you end up crushing millions of different working people into identical worker bees, never mind what is best for each individual.

What about the poor?

The ruling class has created a safety net for the poor, so now the poor get relief as of right rather than from the fickle charity of the rich.  But the result is less a safety net than a spider’s web that traps the poor in life-long dependency.  In Charles Murray’s underclass Fishtown the family has broken down: the women become single parents and the men drop out of the workforce.  Where is the justice in that?

We are not talking about egregious injustice here, the kind demands immediate redress.  We are just talking about a social and cultural dumbing down that grinds everyone into identical cogs to make things easy for the political bureaucratic machine.
“The state wants us — students, workers, and poor — to just follow orders and mold ourselves into the identity that the ruling elite has defined for us.  It’s nothing personal, of course.  It’s just that the state needs to keep things simple so that it can tax us, regiment us, and control us.”

After the revolution people often look back and wonder how the ancien régime could have been so out of touch, how it could have allowed injustices to fester and metastasize until it was too late.  But people read The New York Times and listen to NPR for a daily reminder that everything is copacetic in LiberalLand.  Nobody wants to be told that they have sold America into cruelty and injustice.

Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  See his and also  At he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.

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ObamaCare and Conservatism

—–     —–     —–

With its distinct intellectual assets and ongoing programs of policy-oriented research, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University is a uniquely distinguished contributor to the marketplace of ideas.

—–     —–     —–

June 7, 2012

Obamacare vs. Federalism

Does liberty depend on the grace and generosity of government power?

by James Huffman (member of the Property Rights, Freedom, and Prosperity Task Force)

Given the controversy arising from President Obama’s preemptive strike against the U.S. Supreme Court—the President said he was confident the court would uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) because it would be “ a unprecedented, extraordinary step” to overturn a law “passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress”—most people overlooked a revealing statement made by the President’s lawyer.

James Huffman is the Erskine Wood Sr. Professor of Law at Lewis and Clark Law School in Oregon. He served as dean of the law school from 1993 to 2006. Huffman serves on the boards of the National Crime Victims Law Institute, the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, the Classroom Law Project, and the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. He is a member and former chair of the Executive Committee of the Environment and Property Rights Practice Group of the Federalist Society. His research interests include natural resource, property, environmental, and constitutional law.

The tomorrow’s post, the Hoover Institution discusses ObamaCare as a constitutional and political issue.


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Don’t End Entitlements; Modify Them – Rep’s Say


“Programs Need Complete Rebuilt or Undergo Major Changes”

Released: July 7, 2011

Public Wants Changes in Entitlements, Not Changes in Benefits

GOP Divided Over Benefit Reductions


As policymakers at the state and national level struggle with rising entitlement costs, overwhelming numbers of Americans agree that, over the years, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid have been good for the country.

  • But these cherished programs receive negative marks for current performance, and their finances are widely viewed as troubled. Reflecting these concerns, most Americans say all three programs either need to be completely rebuilt or undergo major changes. However, smaller majorities express this view than did so five years ago.

The public’s desire for fundamental change does not mean it supports reductions in the benefits provided by Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Relatively few are willing to see benefit cuts as part of the solution, regardless of whether the problem being addressed is the federal budget deficit, state budget shortfalls or the financial viability of the entitlement programs.

  • The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted June 15-19 among 1,502 adults, finds that Republicans face far more serious internal divisions over entitlement reforms than do Democrats. Lower income Republicans are consistently more likely to oppose reductions in benefits – from Medicare, Social Security or Medicaid – than are more affluent Republicans.

On the broad question of whether it is more important to reduce the budget deficit or to maintain current Medicare and Social Security benefits, the public decisively supports maintaining the status quo. Six-in-ten (60%) say it is more important to keep Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are; only about half as many (32%) say it is more important to take steps to reduce the budget deficit.

Half (50%) of Republicans say that maintaining benefits is more important than deficit reduction; about as many (42%) say it is more important to reduce the budget deficit. More independents prioritize maintaining benefits over reducing the deficit (by 53% to 38%). Democrats overwhelmingly view preserving current Social Security and Medicare benefits as more important (by 72% to 21%).

The public also opposes making Medicare recipients more responsible for their health care costs and allowing states to limit Medicaid eligibility. About six-in-ten (61%) say people on Medicare already pay enough of their own health care costs, while only 31% think recipients need to be responsible for more of the costs of their health care in order to make the system financially secure.

When it comes to Medicaid, just 37% want to allow states to cut back on who is eligible for Medicaid in order to deal with budget problems, while 58% say low-income people should not have their Medicaid benefits taken away. And most say it is more important to avoid future cuts in Social Security benefits than future increases in Social Security taxes (56% vs. 33%).

On Social Security and Medicare, there are substantial differences of opinion by age. People age 65 and older are the only age group in which majorities say these programs work well; seniors also overwhelmingly say it is more important to maintain Social Security and Medicare benefits than to reduce the budget deficit. Those 50 to 64 also broadly favor keeping benefits as they are. Younger Americans support maintaining Social Security and Medicare benefits, but by smaller margins than older age groups.

Lower income people are more committed to maintaining benefits across all three major entitlement programs. This income gap is particularly wide when it comes to allowing states to cut back on Medicaid eligibility: 72% of those with family incomes of less than $30,000 oppose allowing states to limit Medicaid eligibility to deal with budget problems, compared with 53% of those with higher incomes.

GOP Base Divided over Entitlement Changes

The GOP’s internal divisions over entitlement changes are seen particularly in views of whether it is more important to maintain Social Security and Medicare benefits or to take steps to bring down the deficit.

Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, 63% of those with family incomes of $75,000 or more say it is more important to take steps to reduce the budget deficit; a nearly identical percentage (62%) of Republicans with incomes of $30,000 or less say it is more important to maintain Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are.

The income gap among Republicans and Republican leaners is about as large as the difference between GOP supporters of the Tea Party and non-supporters. Among Republicans and Republican leaners who agree with the Tea Party, 57% view deficit reduction as more important than preserving Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are. Among Republicans and leaners who do not agree with the Tea Party, just 36% say that reducing the deficit is more important than maintaining benefits.

Democrats face no such internal divisions, as both high- and low-income Democrats prioritize maintaining benefits over deficit reduction; there also are no ideological differences among Democrats over this issue. Notably, the balance of opinion among low-income Republicans is similar to how Democrats view the issue.

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If Romney Wins, He Can Repeal Health Reform. And He Should

Re-posted from The Washington Post

Ezra Klein on June 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm

If elected, will Mit Romney really be able to repeal “Obamacare”? Ryan Lizza and David Frum say no.

“I’d say yes”. posts Ezra Klein of the WashPo.

It won’t be easy, of course. Which is why Romney is often careful in his language on this. ““What the Court did not do on its last day in session,” he said on Thursday, “I will do on my first day if elected President of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.”

romney immigration

(Getty Images)

You catch that? I will “act to repeal Obamacare” is not the same as “I will repeal Obamacare.” Nevertheless, if Romney has a Congress willing to act with him, he can do quite a lot, quite quickly.

Romney won’t have 60 votes in the Senate. But if he has 51, he can use the budget reconciliation process, which is filibuster-proof, to get rid of the law’s spending. One objection to that is that budget reconciliation is supposed to be used for laws that reduce the deficit, and the Congressional Budget Office would score repeal of the Affordable Care Act as increasing the deficit by about $300 billion.

But so what? This is a rule Republicans have already shown themselves perfectly willing to break. The Bush administration passed both rounds of its deficit-busting tax cuts through reconciliation, using the novel interpretation that the reconciliation process simply prohibited laws from increasing the deficit after the first 10 years — that’s why Bush’s tax cuts had a sunset date of 2010.

When Democrats returned to power in 2006, they reasserted that reconciliation had to be used for real deficit reduction — a move, by the way, that they got no credit for, and that served to make their life harder over the next few years — but nothing about their decision is permanent. Republicans can, and likely will, reverse it in order to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Getting rid of the law’s spending does not get rid of the law. As Lizza writes:

The process can only be used for policies that have budgetary effects and a C.B.O. score. Much of the A.C.A., such as the insurance exchanges and subsidies, would fall under these categories. But a lot of it, including the hated individual mandate, does not. Repealing the exchanges and subsides without repealing the mandate and the other regulations and cost controls in the law would create a health-care Frankenstein that a President Romney would be rather nuts to support.

Sure, but Romney wouldn’t be the one supporting this health-care Frankenstein. He and other Republicans would be working to repeal it. And are Democrats really going to stand together on the floor of the United States Senate and filibuster in order to keep the individual mandate in place, which will now be forcing people to buy insurance they can’t afford without the subsidies that made the whole thing work? They’d have to be suicidal to do that.

And to go even a bit further, if Mitt Romney wins the election and Republicans take control of the Senate, they should repeal the Affordable Care Act. At that point, they will have won two straight elections atop a platform in which repealing the ACA was a central, explicit promise. The American people will have spoken with unusual clarity, and part of what they will have said, whether they meant to say it or not, is repeal the ACA. If Republicans failed to follow through, they would be breaking a central campaign promise.

The interesting question, to my mind, is whether Romney would, in that circumstance, feel compelled to replace the Affordable Care Act, and if he did, what sort of policy he would come up with. A variant of that is what sort of compromise Romney would negotiate if he enters office and is facing a Democratic Senate or House. So far, I don’t think we have enough information to answer either question with any real certainty.

Tomorrow:  Alternatives.  From The Hoover Institution.


Categories: -- Circuses, Cartoons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

And, in American politics….

The  “Elephants” are in a rut:

[- a “Musth” see -]


the “Donkeys” are over leveraged!

And in all, a beastly situation!!

Categories: The Act of Writing, -- Circuses | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli Attack On Iran: Likely? Necessary? Inevitable?

Israeli attack on Iran would be destabilizing Joint-Chiefs say:

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AFCEA International (AFCEA), established in1946, is a non-profit membership association serving the military, government, industry, and academia as an ethical forum for advancing professional knowledge and relationships in the fields of communications, IT, intelligence, and global security        —         The MAZZ-INT Blog

“Convincing Iran and Restraining Israel: Nice Trick If You Can Do It!”

The new-year began with Iran threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz if the US persisted with economic sanctions against its nuclear weapons programs. This was followed in rapid succession with

  • new strategic defense guidance pivoting a learner military towards the Asia/Pacific theater,
  • the President’s State of the Union Address, the Pentagon outlining budget winners and losers for FY 13,
  •  Assad ramping up violence to subdue the breezes of the Arab Spring in Syria,
  • sectarian based violence emerging in Iraq,
  • Secretary Panetta announcing plans to end combat operations in Afghanistan during 2013 – a year earlier than scheduled —
  • and with almost perfect symmetry as January closed Israel publicly saying it was ready to act alone to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons infrastructure.

Geez, did I miss something in Pakistan?! And apparently Kim Jung Un is settling in as expected in Pyongyang!

Containing Chinese military power, ensuring allied access to underwater resources in accordance with accepted international principles, and keeping sea lanes open in support of free trade along with the region’s economics and demographics explains both the strategic drivers for America’s “Asia Pivot” and why it is not surprising […] I am not sure the Navy has yet come to grips with the logistics of Asian/Pacific operations.

  • China and Russia vetoed a United Nations (UN) resolution calling for Syrian President Bashar al Assad to end the use of military force to subdue anti-government protesters and seek a peaceful resolution to popular demands for more freedoms. As Assad escalated the use of military force in the wake of the Sino-Russian UN veto, the US and its allies must consider mounting a Libyan like operation without UN backing to force Assad to change or leave.
  • Iran’s influence with Syrian based Hezbollah elements certainly makes regime change a dicey course of action in terms of strategic outcomes the US would want to achieve in Syria. Then there is the question of can/should the US insert itself to right the wrongs in an Arab autocratic state?

The looming issue though right now for the United States is, can diplomatic pressure in combination with economic sanctions cause Iran to terminate its development of nuclear weapons with sufficient transparency to cause Israel not to unilaterally attack Iran’s nuclear weapons’ infrastructure?

Presumably the answer is yes, but as evidence by the 1956 strike on the Suez Canal, the 1981 attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor, various incursions into Lebanon, and the building of settlements in the West Bank Israel will act without US support, or even in the face of US opposition, when it believes its national security is threatened.

Ideally Iran’s leadership will be convinced by the obvious impacts of the sanctions on their economy and the increasingly limited ability of Washington to restrain Jerusalem from launching a military attack to accept international verification that its nuclear program is for legitimate civilian uses as it claims. The alternative for persuading the Israelis not to attack unilaterally is for the US to offer to conduct joint or coordinated covert operations with Israel to degrade Iran’s ability produce a nuclear weapon. Attractive as US covert operations against Iran might be given the current circumstances, it would be the President again committing the United States to armed conflict if not war. The difference this time, however, would be the action would be aimed at the strategic military capability of a nation state vice targeting terrorists without national affiliation but with the nominal approval of the host nation.

Ironically, what could unknot this political and constitutional concern about the war powers of the President in an election year as well as give Israel reason not to strike on its own is if Iran actually committed an act of war in the Strait of Hormuz (attacking USN ships, laying sea mines, deny innocent passage, etc.).

Then the President could go to the Congress to “request” a declaration of war against Iran that would open a myriad of options for the US that could force Iran to negotiate or risk the destruction of the center of Shia power and influence in the Muslim world.

That’s what I think; what do you think?

—– —– —–

What Do I think? What Do I think!!
Whole world is aflame and he says what do I !!

W. W. O. D.?

Categories: -- Circuses, Cartoons, Circuses | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

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Ideas ~Time

Inner Voice:

two themes are haunting me.   I have to blog.  I have to read.  the two are mutuallt exclusive. I can’t do both.

i am a political animal.  my son-in-law is a my intellectual equal.  he and i have this friewdly  debate.  he is pro & am cani in several issues.

reading AND writing.  can’t do both.

i can’t remember shit!  So this will be a compliticated idea that I  will eventually lose.  but here goes.

This way of expressing my self!


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I don’t care/know if any of this sense.  Lulu, however, says that see can’t follow her ideas to completion before the next another overflow occurs.  I don’t know if it is because of our mutual problem.  Either way, there just isn’t time.

As I’ve said a dozen times, it takes me hours and hours to manufacture and assemble a post.  See my assembly line!   Down, to see what my hands are doing!  Up, to the screen!  Over to the slell check! [sic]!  A little [lillie] mechanical “click” to the next thought.  Left hand; paralyzed hand.  Bite the page!  Cradle the book!  And over again.  And over again.  And over again.  And over again.  Ad nauseum.  Ad mechanium.  Forever.  Forever!  Forever!!

[just a minute ago, I was looking at “lillie”, thinking “lillie”??? …”lillie”?…oh, the woman’s name…Lillie.  OOOhhh!!  Lilly!!!  L-i-l-l-i-e…wait!  Isn’t that supposed to be “Lilly; not “Lillie”?]  “YOU do that 10 times an hour!!  “%$^&%“, he exclaimed, figuratively!

“Shuuush”, the child’s father soothed, reassuringly.   “Take your time.  I’m here.  Catch you’re breath.  You have inportant things to say.  About hope and vourage.  Here; let me help you!”

Where is my father now?

“But I’m so frustrated.  I’m so tired.  I wabt to cry.”

My “inner” father reminds me that crying is organically self-limiting.  Our bodies stop crying on their own.  Exhaustion takes its toll and we sleep. Blessed sleep!

—–     —–     —–

I take a deep, deep breath….  I look for some graphics for  this posyt.  And continue:

So I can’t read  and   blog.  Either/or.  You choose.  I!   I choose.

Its paradoxical that right now I have to choose.  I’m studying for a class on Neuroplasticity.  The brain’s apparent and well-researched ability to heal ITSELF.   How does THAT happen?!  Is there really a God?  Are all things only biological?  There are theories.  But proofs are hard to come by.

It takes time to read when you are aphasic.  For almost ten years I couldn’t do it at all.  Now I can!  How did this occur?  God?  Neuroplasticity?  Concentration?  I don’t know.  I didn’t take classes.  I didn’t practice reading.  I knew letter forms.  I could tell the difference between, say, an X and a 4.  But try to read the what 4 meant, what anything meant was…   …    …how can you describe words without using words.  You try!  I can’t!  But  now I can!

So now I choose to read, not to blog!  Hold on now, Taxi!  You love your blogging!  It is so self-affirming!  You can’t stop now.

—–     —–     —–

Nature may abhor a vacuum, but it also abhor indecision!  Remember fight or flight?  I’ve been playing with this mouse for weeks and its time to pounce!

I will blog only once a week for a month.  Except for political cartooning.  I can find good, thoughtful political cartoons at 

I can keep up the dialogue without burning my circuits.

See!!  Not all Republicans think alike.  Newt will be a disaster.  He is a brilliant man!  He is a flawed candidate.  End of my debate.  I would like a tailor made candidate, exactly to my specifications.  Is Obama exactly to your specifications?  We’ll all see, in the end.

Well, its 10:30PM.  About 5 hours!  Oh, and I took a nap.  Excuu-uuse me!

—–     —–     —–


Categories: -- Circuses, Cartoons, Friends and Colleagues, The Act of Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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