Sunday, October 6, 2013

Gridlock: Hold Fast or Compromise

According to this Gallup report, the majority of Americans want their politicians to compromise.

Where as Laurie seems to be pretty sure that this gridlock is wholly the fault of the GOP and the House.  And it is proof to her that our government is currently ineffective due to those minority Conservatives. 

I personally see it as a 60% GOP to 40% DFL problem, where either of them could improve the situation very quickly if they chose.  And I see the gridlock as a symptom that shows the system is working as intended.  I personally don't want the Left or Right having their way with our country.  Now of course I wish they could collaborate more effectively, however if neither is participating then gridlock is the best of very poor options. 

The last time the Left had it's way we ended up with Obamacare and look at the fights that is now causing.  One of the talking heads this morning said that the DFL passing a huge social change like Obamacare along party lines and with little Republican input was bound to cause problems.

So what do you think, should they hold to their beliefs/ideology or get the government going again?  Or stick to their ideology and core beliefs?   Rationale?

Also, what if anything can change these spending trends?  Or is it a good thing that at some point 50% of our GDP will go to or through the government?  Rationale?

More Survey Results
CNN Congress/President
NYT Healthcare
NYT Disillusioned Americans
UPI Congress/President
HP Who is to Blame

56 comments:

Laurie said...

So how do you see the govt shutdown and raising the debt ceiling being resolved?

I think Boehner will eventually allow a vote and the democrats and a few sensible repubs will get/keep the govt running.

Here is another link about the increase in spending with more detail than the graphs in your previous post:

What Is Driving Growth in Government Spending?

jerrye92002 said...

I will say the same thing I said when Gov. Dayton forced a MN gov't shutdown and tried to blame the GOP. Let us suppose there are two possible courses of action. One side or party wants to spend billions of dollars more than the government takes in revenue, and the other side wants to spend no more than gov't takes in revenue. Where, pray tell, is the conpromise, and based on what possible principle? Compromise is always, essentially by definition, a worse course of action than one of the two starting positions.

Look, Democrats could end this shutdown and solve the debt ceiling and budget crises and eliminate all the problems of Obamacare, all at once. All they have to do is agree with Republicans. It is Democrats insisting that Republicans give up everything they (and in most cases a majority of the public) want. Compromise to them is surrender, and we're all the poorer for that nefarious game-playing.

jerrye92002 said...

By the way, an interesting survey recently revealed that a sizable majority of Americans agree with Republican ideas on something like 13 of 15 issues, UNTIL they heard that these were Republican ideas. Democrats have so badly poisoned the wellspring of reason among our citizens that civil discourse and rational governance are not possible.

jerrye92002 said...

Someplace in this discussion somebody asked why we can't all just get along, or something to that effect. Barack Obama and the Democrats are the most polarizing government in my lifetime, and perhaps longer. I don't know if they need to be this divisive in pursuit of their agenda, but I think it necessary to point out that the further this country moves towards socialism, the more "extreme" seem those who want to stay a free-market, capitalist representative democracy. It is not the conservatives who have changed, it is that the mainstream Democrats have gotten further and further from the ideals and ideas that made this country great and refuse to compromise in that headlong rush off the cliff.

John said...

NR What is Driving...
538 What is driving...

John said...

Laurie,
Were these where you were pointing?

They are the same lines based on the same data. Yes that is why Conservatives want the government out of the insurance brokerage business. They are very poor at it.

They collected far to little in the way of premiums, invested it too conservatively, and promised far too much in the way of benefits. Obamacare is just a continuation of this. These are the drivers of American healthcare costs, it does not address them. And worse it forcefully transfers the risks/costs of poor choices to other citizens, and away from themselves. Not a very good idea if you are trying to promote making good decisions.

John said...

As the life expectancy and healthcare costs increased, the Retirement and Medicare age should have been raised accordingly. Or the Payroll tax rate should have been rising accordingly.

Of course no standing politician wants to tackle this disaster, and the Democrats are dead set against addressing it. They want to keep using higher taxes on the savers/investors (ie wealth transfer) to hide the premium/benefit problem. Which of course is a disincentive to us savers/investors. Why should I work so hard for my family and invest so much if it is just going be taken to pay for someone else?

Of course I am guessing that your crowd somehow thinks the government could somehow control healthcare costs. (ie price controls of some sort)

Here is a simple rule regarding project management. You can reduce cost, improve timeliness or improve quality. Pick whichever 2 you want.

Now if you pick cost and quality, there are going to be some real long lines. If you pick cost and timeliness, you may not to be in that system...

Thoughts?

John said...

Jerry,
My cost trend lines and the ones Laurie provided tend to support your view. Govt costing 8% in 1900, ~25% in 1950, and approaching ~40% in 2013 definitely shows that we are a changing from our historical capitalistic roots. G2A Trend Lines

You can almost see the gas gauge going down on the G2A continuum.

John said...

Food for thought
Fall of Roman Empire

I especially like the social and economic notes. The political is pretty interesting too.

Anonymous said...

If we reopen Obamacare, what concessions can we expect from the other side? Do we get back the concessions we made to them?

--Hiram

Anonymous said...

"And I see the gridlock as a symptom that shows the system is working as intended."

Should the system work as intended? As much as anything, the system we have today was designed to prevent a too powerful federal government from eliminating the institution of slavery. The result was that needed change could not be reached peacefully, through the constitutional process, but had to be resolved through the worst war in American history.

--Hiram

John said...

Please help me remember, what were those concessions?

Also, do your comments indicate you would like to transfer more power from the States to the Feds?

How would that help change the trajectory of the spending line or you okay with the way it is headed?

Sean said...

Fascinating that Democrats are the ones expected to live up to "consensus". Republicans complain about Dems pushing through Obamacare. Well, what have they done in states where they control all the branches of govt? Look at Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida. Divisive, divisive, divisive, divisive. Or go back to the Bush tax cuts -- all of them got fewer Congressional votes than the ACA.

jerrye92002 said...

Now that is a fascinating outlook. Republicans are "divisive" because they push for (and pass into law where they have the power) those things they want-- smaller and more efficient government, usually-- but Democrats are just following the will of the people when they pass what THEY want without a single Republican vote, as with Obamacare. Perhaps the difference between the two parties isn't so much the tactics they employ-- getting elected and wielding power-- as it is what they DO with that power?

John said...

Listen closely to what I said in the previous post.

"That is interesting... It sounds like both sides play the game and since I play the middle, I don't really care how things vacillate as long as big changes don't occur too fast. The ship is just too big to take turns like that."

I want collaboration and consideration from both parties. Remember that I support gridlock when all parties will not play nice. It seems to be the Left and Right folks that want the government actively passing the laws that support their ideology be it Socialistic or Capitalistic.

So Sean, how would you fix the spending trend line? Or does it look good to you?

Anonymous said...

Please help me remember, what were those concessions?

1. Insurance would be provided by private insurance companies.

2. Insurance would be sold through a marketplace sometimes called "exchanges".

3. States would be able to set up their own health care exchanges.

4. No public option.

5. Efforts to cut costs would be limited. The government would not use it's market power to set prices.

Sean said...

I agree we need to do things to address our long-term debt problem, and those changes will involve both changes on the revenue side as well as changes to spending.

We do not have to slash spending today -- nor would it be prudent to do so given the still fragile nature of the economy.

Sean said...

All I'm suggesting, Jerry, is that you apply your own standards to your own party equally. Don't blame Democrats for exercising their majorities when you demand Republicans do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

One of the interesting things about the discussion of health care is how lacking in substance it is in terms of the way it actually operates. The challenge in the Supreme court was based on constitutional grounds, on whether the act was within the scope of the enumerated powers of the federal government. Whatever the merits of this argument, it applies to all federal health plans including the Republican plan that became Obamacare and just about any other plan Republicans have proposed. The other issue was the mandate which may violate a penumbra. Whatever the merits of that argument, it doesn't pertain to how the system should operate effectively. When the constitutional challenge failed, the GOP fell back on generic arguments. Health care was too expensive. Well the reason it's too expensive is that in the negotiations Republicans fought and won the battle against cost control. It's too complicated. Well the reason it's complicated is that the GOP insisted a market based state by state system which would also have a federal role, and which retain a role for private insurers.

The reason why Republicans oppose Obamacare has nothing to do with Obamacsre. It's DNA is Republican, and is found in every Republican plan, each of which has to one degree or another the same features they criticize in Obamacare. No, the reason they oppose Obamacare is that they weren't the ones who proposed it.

--Hiram

John said...

Sean,
You avoided the question. "So Sean, how would you fix the spending trend line? Or does it look good to you?"

Are you okay with the "government" using or dispursing an ever increasing percentage of our GDP?
G2A Trend Lines What is your rationale?

Note: Tax rate increases are only needed because the spend is exceeding GDP growth. They will reduce the deficit, however do nothing to fix the spending growth rate problem.

It is kind of like you working more hours to cover your household bills that you are letting grow faster than your yearly raise. It will only work for so long, then it/you will implode.

John said...

Hiram,
The Democrats were in control, they did not make those concessions for the GOP. They made those to sway their own moderates.
House Vote Count

Sean said...

Given the population bubble we're facing, it's inevitable that we're going to have to spend more than we have in the past. Unless, that is, you're willing to largely dismantle the safety nets in place for the elderly.

For Medicare and health care in general, we're going to have to find ways to bend the cost curve more substantially then in the past. There are things we can today -- such as giving Medicare the right to negotiate drug prices. We also need to reform how we pay for care, from pay for service to pay for outcomes.

For Social Security, I would advocate lifting the cap on payroll taxes. This would require minimal tweaks on the benefit side of the equation. Given the dismal performance of 401(k) plans as replacements for defined benefit pensions, Social Security's role as insurance is only going to be more critical than it already is today.

Sean said...

There aren't many Republican concessions in the ACA because Republicans -- by and large -- don't believe all Americans should have access to health care in the way that Democrats think they should. Heck, John, you've said as much yourself.

The Republican position on health care moves with the Democrats. Democrats continue to move to the right on this issue, adopting planks that Republicans used to support. And when they do, Republicans take two more steps to the right and disavow their former position.

They do this not out of any interest in providing health care -- because when they hold the majorities they offer nothing of substance when it comes to health care -- but rather for politics, plain and simple.

John said...

Sean the population bubble did not cause 100+ years of continual government spending increases relative to the GDP. In fact the baby boom is just starting to hit... Try again...

John said...

So if you make me pay FICA on every dollar I make, will my benefits also be raised above the current maximums?

Or will you reduce or tax my benefit because I studied hard, worked hard, saved hard and invested hard? (ie wealthy retiree)

John said...

We will discuss it further, however I was wondering.

Do you believe that everyone who stands on American soil should have good food, housing, education and healthcare no matter the choices they make or the effort they expend?

You are correct, the GOP does believe that people need to be given the opportunity to attain these things through their choices and efforts. They do not believe they should be given them just because they are here. It is a definite ideological difference between Liberals and Conservatives.

Anonymous said...

The Democrats were in control, they did not make those concessions for the GOP.

If Democrats had control of Congress they would have enacted single payer. The GOP Congressional party doesn't negotiate, but their proxies do, and it was their proxies who made the deal on their behalf.

If you are not at the table, you are on the menu, and the GOP's refusal to negotiate is why they are one of the entrees now. But all things considered, why did they negotiate. As things turned out they get everything they wanted with none of the blame.

--Hiram

Anonymous said...

Do you believe that everyone who stands on American soil should have good food, housing, education and healthcare no matter the choices they make or the effort they expend?

The issue of today is health care. I believe everyone should have decent health care.

==Hiram

Anonymous said...

They do not believe they should be given them just because they are here.

I don't believe Republicans believe that health care should be denied to people. That's why they are against the death panels who would make that decision. And GOP plans like Obamacare would not deny health care. But if you want to argue that they would or should, I say go for it.

--Hiram

John said...

Hiram,
Did you look at the voter record, not one GOP house member voted for the ACA? Not all Democrats wanted single payer... That is why there is no single payer healthcare system. Thank heavens for those moderate Democrats...

So who should pay the healthcare bill for those who make bad decisions, show little effort, etc? (ie free loaders) And why?

You must be the rare Liberal, it seems most think the GOP is against taking care of the poor.

Sean said...

You didn't ask for the historical perspective, you asked about going forward. Unless you're going to fundamentally destroy Social Security and Medicare for the Baby Boomers, there's no way that spending as a % of GDP isn't going to rise for the next three decades.

For Social Security, I would lift the cap and leave benefits essentially unchanged. (There might have to be some tweaking around the edges required depending on the rate of economic growth.)

Talking about health care -- we've decided as a society on a bipartisan basis that we're not going to turn away people at the emergency rooms, so if that remains the case, we need to design a more rational system. We spend 2x as much as anyone else in the county, yet we've got 15% of the population without reliable access to the system. Like it or not the ACA makes a good-faith attempt to end the free-rider problem and make sure that people can get care for problems before we're providing expensive free care in the ER. Republicans have no such plan.

John said...

Some more incredible examples.
Angel Adams
Various stories
For adults only, Black man criticizing school reqt for welfare benefit

Need or entitlement/free loading... That is the question...

Now... "Who is going to pay for my kid's college education!!! Someone had better pay for those kids of mine!!!" I had a hard time even writing that, let alone believing it...

John said...

So you would like to have me pay higher premiums into the Federal Insurance Contributions Act system, and not increase my benefits...

This is why SS and Medicare should be dissolved, and the needy folks be put onto welfare and medicaid.

At least then we would all know that it has turned into a wealth transfer instrument, instead of a forced savings and insurance plan.

Laurie said...

In my church we talk about the dignity and worth of each person, whereas you seem to want to include a dose of shame about receiving any form of financial assistance.

My son is receiving financial aid for college for his third straight year, which is needed because my $50,000 doesn't allow me to contribute much to his education.

What makes SS security a great program is the benefits are paid in a way that allows each person the dignity of feeling they are entitled to what they receive.It seems like you would like to change the program to include a dose of humiliation if possible. What's wrong with asking those who can afford it to pay a bit more. You could go on feeling superior to everybody and you could even blog about it.

John said...

And Liberals would blatantly lie to them just as the Democrats do today?

They say that the rich aren't paying their fair share, even though that minority is paying the majority of this country's bills. And instead of being thankful, they would incite people to hate them and demand even more.

I wouldn't try to speak from the moral high ground here. It seems that the whole Liberal argument is about trying shame the successful into submission. I mean check out Grace's latest attacks...

You really need to read Atlas Shrugged. There is a point when Hank Rearden finally gets it. He finally understands that he is allowing his mooching lazy family to use his own morality against him. This frees him to walk away from their attempts to shame, guilt and coerce him into giving them something for nothing.

John said...

And Liberals would blatantly lie to them just as the Democrats do today?

I got so excited, I forgot mention.

I am a huge fan of showing people respect. To do this you need to be open and honest with them. You need to empathize with them and truly care about them.

One only lies blatantly when they are out to manipulate another person. Telling people that they earned social security and medicare once the trust funds are gone is like saying "you can't handle the truth!!!"

Now that would seem "superior and condescending" to me.

jerrye92002 said...

"The issue of today is health care. I believe everyone should have decent health care. "

So do I and every conservative I know. Now, how do you propose that everybody PAY FOR the health care they receive? I think everyone should have enough food, too. Do you think farmers should work all day, every day, and then give their produce away?

Anonymous said...


So do I and every conservative I know.

I know, and I truly believe that. That's why opposition to deniers of health care like death panels is so fierce, something I respect. The problem comes with the Republican solution adopted by Democrats, market based distribution of care. Markets have many fine qualities but one of them isn't universal distribution of what's on sale in them. Just because there is a car market doesn't mean everyone has a car. So a gap must be filled, and both Republicans and Democrats have solutions as to how this gap is filled. And the fact is under all proposals, filling that gap is an awkward and difficult process one that ends up creating thousands of pages of statutes, and tens of thousands of pages of regs.

As a side note, I thought I should point something out. There is a notion abroad in the land that markets make things cheaper. They don't. Markets can make pricing more efficient but they don't make things less expensive. If the existence of marketplaces always made things cheaper, the Dow Jones Industrial Average would always go down.

--Hiram

Anonymous said...

One only lies blatantly when they are out to manipulate another person. Telling people that they earned social security and medicare once the trust funds are gone is like saying "you can't handle the truth!!!"

They are entitled to them. That's why they call them "entitlements".

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

As a side note, it is axiomatic that competitive free markets DO make goods available, at lower cost, to more people. To suggest that the Obamacare "exchanges," or even the stock market, are examples of that competitive free market is inaccurate.

Anonymous said...

it is axiomatic that competitive free markets DO make goods available, at lower cost,

Then why doesn't the stock market always go down?

Markets can make pricing more efficient, but they don't necessarily make things sold in them cheaper. The laws of supply and demand determine many prices, and all markets do is provide a place for suppliers and demanders to meet. The impact on costs can be that the existence of markets reduces the transaction costs, because it makes it easier therefore less expensive for suppliers and demanders to find each other.

--Hiram

Anonymous said...

Even as a wild eyed liberal, I don't see why we should make policy choices that favor buyers over sellers. I don't see how or why markets do or should favor buyers over sellers.

--Hiram

Anonymous said...

it is axiomatic that competitive free markets DO make goods available, at lower cost,

It occurred to me that I should supplement my response. Yes, sometimes markets make goods available at a lower cost, sometimes markets make goods available at higher prices. And every once in a while markets leave prices unchanged.

--Hiram

John said...

Being "Entitled" to them does not mean they "Earned" them...

If you "Earn" something, you should be paid back. (contribution = benefit)

If you are given more than you earned. (contribution < benefit) One should be thankful to the people who pay the difference. Not villify them and demand more...

Did you watch the video of the man being critical of the welfare moms? He may swear a lot, however he definitely understands my point.

Anonymous said...

Being "Entitled" to them does not mean they "Earned" them.

Nope, it means they are entitled to them. Is your point that while you may have earned your check, you aren't entitled to it?

I don't think we should vilify either the rich or the poor, owners or producers. I think we should do what's best for society.

==Hiram

Sean said...

Sometimes "efficient" markets mean that some people don't get anything, as well, because it's not profitable to service them.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes "efficient" markets mean that some people don't get anything, as well, because it's not profitable to service them.

The way I use "efficient" when I talk about markets is as it relates to the ease in which suppliers and demanders meet. For example, an efficient market tends to narrow as opposed to widen the gap between the bid and the ask. This can reduce the cost of transaction, but it doesn't necessarily change the price. But it's also possible for markets to become less efficient, increasing transaction costs.

--Hiram

John said...

Sean,
You are absolutely correct. So who do you want to pay for the loss on providing service in these cases?

Rationale?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes "efficient" markets mean that some people don't get anything, as well, because it's not profitable to service them.

Markets don't provide that everyone who wants something, gets that thing. Just because there is a market in diamonds doesn't mean everyone has a diamond. It's well understood that the existence of markets for health care doesn't mean everyone gets health care. Much of the policy wrangling is about nothing more than providing that those who can't afford to participate in the markets get health care anyway. Both Republicans and Democrat address this problem by the way, and the accepted solution is to tinker with the markets in various ways, through the use of subsidies. This is a very messy and expensive way of doing it, but Republicans wanted to retain a role for markets in the distribution of health care, and it's something Democrats went along with.

--Hiram

John said...

Hiram,
I checked again... Not one Republican voted for ACA in the Senate or House...

The Democrats wrote the legislation as they needed to get all of the Democrat votes, the beliefs and concerns of the Republicans were apparently not addressed...

This is why there is such a furor now... If you push through huge expensive social change with the barest of majorities, there will likely be push back...

Sean said...

Democrats bent over backwards to try and get Republicans on board. They literally waited and worked for months in hopes that the "Gang of Six" on the Senate Finance Committee could come to a bipartisan agreement.

But when it became apparent that Republicans wanted no part of serious health care reform, they went it alone.

John said...

Reform or Socialized???

Now who should pay those losses and what is your rationale?

John said...

Personally I am thinking about stopping my charitable giving, since I am transferring so many dollars via the government wealth redistribution system.

Sean said...

We should expect people to pay a reasonable portion of their incomes towards health insurance, and the government should assist those of low income with filling in the gaps.

Why? Because unless we're going to start letting people bleed out on the corner, we're going to take responsibility for that care anyway. So we need a structure that requires people to chip in (after all, not purchasing insurance is in fact a choice -- a choice to put society on the hook should you really get in trouble) and contribute to society's costs.

Is the ACA perfect? Of course not. But it's far better than the system as it exists today, and until Republicans have a better functioning plan, they should shut up and get out of the way. It's morally abhorrent the way they are railing against (and in some cases actively discouraging people from signing up for) expanded health insurance.

Anonymous said...

Not one Republican voted for ACA in the Senate or House...

They didn't have to. The deal was negotiated through proxies. Actually, the fact that no Republican voted for the bill is evidence that opposition was based on partissnship, not on the merits of the bill itself.

--Hiram

Anonymous said...

This is why there is such a furor now.

Note the nature of the furor. Republicans are claiming that this market based system has glitches. Well, they want a market based system with 50 state markets intended to interact with insurance companies in each state. It's an immensely complicated task and you bet there are going to be glitches.

Republicans claim it is an interference with freedom. Well, that didn't bother them when they were proposing a mandate. And in any event, that issue was resolved by the Supreme Court. Republicans don't seem to dispute that the mandates is necessary to Obamacare, so that isn't a factor anymore.

Republicans claim Obamacare is too expensive. But the fact is, health care has become way too expensive for reasons having nothing to do with Obamacare. And while claiming that Obamacare is too expensive, Republicans have opposed every proposal to make it cheaper. I think John suggested the problem the other day. Republicans are opposed to the denial of care. And you see this most vividly in their opposition to death panels. Well undenied care must be paid for somehow, and Obamcacare is one step in the direction of doing that. It doesn't finish the job, but that is because of the Republican features which make that more difficult and which would also present the same problems in any current Republican supported program.

--Hiram