Americans Oppose Entitlement Cuts, Support Raising Taxes On “The Rich”

According to a new poll, the American public still isn't sold on the idea of cutting entitlements to cut the budget deficit.

According to a new Marist Poll, Americans don’t seem to be convinced that the Ryan Plan’s approach to deficit reduction is the way to go:

WASHINGTON — Alarmed by rising national debt and increasingly downbeat about their country’s course, Americans are clear about how they want to attack the government’s runway budget deficits: raise taxes on the wealthy and keep hands off of Medicare and Medicaid.

At the same time, they say that the government should not raise the legal debt ceiling, which the government must do soon to borrow more money, despite warnings that failing to do so would force the government into default, credit markets into turmoil and the economy into a tailspin.

(…)
On tackling the deficit, voters by a margin of 2-to-1 support raising taxes on incomes above $250,000, with 64 percent in favor and 33 percent opposed.

Independents supported higher taxes on the wealthy by 63-34 percent; Democrats by 83-15 percent; and Republicans opposed by 43-54 percent.

Support for higher taxes rose by 5 percentage points after Obama called for that as one element of his deficit-reduction strategy last week. Opposition dropped by 6 points. The poll was conducted before and after the speech.

When it comes to spending cuts, though, the public is far less enthusiastic:

Voters oppose cuts to [Medicare and Medicaid]  by 80-18 percent. Even among conservatives, only 29 percent supported cuts, and 68 percent opposed them.

Public views are more mixed on cutting defense spending, with 44 percent supporting cuts and 54 percent opposed.

(…)

No matter how the government tackles its deficits and debt, Americans don’t want it to borrow any more. By 69-24 percent, voters oppose raising the legal ceiling for debt. That includes Democrats, who oppose it by 53-36 percent, independents, who oppose it by 74-22 percent, and Republicans, who oppose it by 79-16 percent.

Another polling caveat is worth nothing here. In the poll, Marist asked respondents this question regarding Medicare/Medicaid:

Do you support or oppose doing each of the following to deal with the federal budget deficit: Cut Medicare and Medicaid?

The Ryan Plan doesn’t call for cuts in Medicaid. Instead, it proposes turning the federal portion of Medicaid funding into a series of block grants to the states, who would have more discretion over how to spend the funds on Medicaid related programming. With respect to Medicare funding, the plan provides that nobody who is currently receiving Medicare would receive a reduction in benefits and that none of the changes to benefits would begin to kick in until 2023, and then only for people who begin turning 65 in that year. So, in many ways, the Marist Poll isn’t really polling on the Ryan Plan, but on what the Democrats and President Obama have said the Ryan Plan would do.

Nonetheless, these results are significant for two reasons. First of all, President Obama has wide public support for his position that taxes on high income earners should be allowed to go up when the Bush tax cuts expire in December 2012. That was true back in December 2010 when we debated this issue, and there were many people who wondered why the White House decided to give up so easily on that issue. Second, notwithstanding the questionable way the poll was worded, it’s clear that the public is skeptical about changes to entitlement programs. If the GOP is going to win the public relations battle on that one, they’ve got some work cut out for them.

 

FILED UNDER: Deficit and Debt, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Andyman says:

    @Doug,

    Your next-to-last paragraph is a bit off. There’s not a lot of complaining about the inefficiency of the Medicaid system, so the point of providing block grants instead of defined reimbursements is not so much about adding flexibility as it is about facilitating future cuts. It’s a lot easier (politically) to tell states that their block grants won’t keep up with inflation than it is to tell them that they won’t get x,y,z citizens covered anymore.

    Same thing with Medicare, really. People aren’t answering the question with a mind towards whether they favor cuts for current recipients unless they are current recipients. They’re answering it with a mind towards the benefits they expect for themselves. And everyone anticipates that future benefits will be slashed under the Ryan plan. So there’s not really anything “iffy” about the questions IMO.

  2. hey norm says:

    “…With respect to Medicare funding, the plan provides that nobody who is currently receiving Medicare would receive a reduction in benefits and that none of the changes to benefits would begin to kick in until 2023, and then only for people who begin turning 65 in that year…”
    So Ryan avoids pissing off his base – old people. Not what I would expect for a Randian super-hero but good for him just the same. But look – I’m 52. The last thing I want to look forward to is trying to deal with some know-nothing representative of an insurance company when I am 75 and my faculties and my resources are no where near what they are today at the peak, or near peak of my earning potential. On top of that the vouchers Ryan proposes are specifically designed to NOT keep pace with health care inflation, so as I need more from from my health care dollar I will be able to pay less.
    So yes Doug, you are 100% correct – the questions are not iffy at all. Especially when asked of a guy that took Social Security Disability Benefits himself.

  3. Stan says:

    The Congressional Budget Office projects that the US government will spend $35,000 in present day dollars to cover a 75-year old Medicare patient in 2050. The CBO also projects that the same patient would pay $52,000 dollars for equivalent private insurance (with a $10,000 subsidy) under Ryan’s plan. The increased cost of private insurance purchased through the menus in Ryan’s plan as compared to traditional Medicare is due to Medicare’s lower overhead and to its greater bargaining power. The same factors – increased buying power by a government sanctioned insurance organization and low administrative costs – are also cited by Uwe Reinhardt in articles in Health Affairs, volumes 22 and 23. Consequently, if the Congressional Budget Office and Professor Reinhardt are right, Ryan’s version of Medicare would be less efficient that the present system and would cost the elderly much more.

    Ryan’s plan is a real winner, isn’t it?

  4. hey norm says:

    The single most important point about Ryan’s plan is…what private insurance companies are going to sell plans to the elderly? That’s one of the big reasons we have Medicare in the first place – no companies in the 1960’s wanted to – why do we think they are going to in ten years from now? On top of that Ryan abolishes the ACA which prevents companies from dumping people with pre-existing conditions…hello…seniors all have a pre-existing condition – they are old!!!

  5. john personna says:

    I support more means-testing, which I suppose puts me in the “cut” group, but I’m not sure how much savings means-testing actually brings.

    AFAIK, you can always means test all of the old-age benefits. It just may mean that you are skipping a few years, and then if someone falls below the test later in life, they get the benefits again.

  6. ponce says:

    “So Ryan avoids pissing off his base – old people. ”

    Ryan’s Medicare scam is a standard two-tiered contract frequently used in union-busting attempts.

  7. Drew says:

    So let me get this straight. People support – A) Tax somebody other than me. B) I want to appear to be “caring,” so don’t cut spending. And I’ll put my head in the sand because A won’t pay for B.

    In the immortal words of David Byrne: “same as it ever was.”

  8. michael reynolds says:

    Ryan is a standard-issue GOP ideologue. His bill isn’t about balancing the budget, it’s about destroying medicare.

    And the GOP — over-interpreting their electoral wins, as usual — just walked into it behind this guy.

    Now Obama once again gets to play the moderate, rational man in the middle, and the GOP is caught trying to benefit the rich by screwing grandma.

    They shoulda backed Simpson. They should have put taxes on the table. That’s the problem with ideology: makes you rigid.

  9. ej says:

    Stan,

    The “greater bargaining power” you mention is simply a cost shifting effect between Medicare and private insurance. Doctors are willing to take addition patients if it will cover the maginal cost of doing so – this is what Medicare does. But the fixed costs still need to be paid for, and that is placed largely on Private insurance because of its smaller bargin power. But if the entrire system was in medicare, total costs would not be covered and you’d have shortages – it would essentially be waiting line induced price controls.

    As more an more people move to government insurance, this costs shifting effect has gotten bigger. Much of the rise in private premiums in recent years can be attributed to this.

    Using these kinds of static analysis miss what is going on in the dynamics.

    If cost growth is not reduced, then the whole system is in trouble, and any “tax the rich” proposals which seem to be the only thing democrats are putting out there, will only patch the hole for so long.

    I’m skeptical of the magnitude of the effect of this mechanism Ryan is proposing, but in theory the subsidy style of program is designed to make patients actually care about how much they are spending and this creates a compeditive mechanism, as patients shop around, to keep costs down that doesnt exist currently. The CBO is just using the static cost relationship to make their estimate. And both of those numbers, for medicare and private, are meaningless for 2050. If something isnt done by then the whole country is in a debt crisis and this conversation is mute.

  10. ej says:

    but more generally to this article, so basically Americans continue to be little children. They want all kinds stuff handed to them as long as other people pay for it. No one is willing to give up anything. So much for “shared” repsonsibility.

  11. ej says:

    Michael,

    I often fingit ironic that self described progressives defend old institutions such as social security and medicare that where deigned in a far differenent era and continue to hand out hundreds of billions fo dollars every year to relatively and often very well off people.

    You sure you guys arent actually old school conservatives of the classical sence? protecting tranditional instituions and power structures simply bcause that is what is known and doing otherwise would result in chaos?

    Faced with a mathematical reality of a program being bankrupt and knowing that large amounts of it go to rich people, the standard democrat response is do nothing, keep it as is. The democrats seem to be stuck between two positions right now – 1 roll out the standard argument of the past 100 years, of tax rich people more and 2, just ignore that there is a problem and kick the can down the road.

  12. Southern Hoosier says:

    OK, so we soak the rich to pay for entitlements, so who do we soak to pay down the national debt? The problem with the federal government, the more money it raises, the more new programs it can find to spend it on and nothing gets paid down.

  13. Axel Edgren says:

    Not a single left-of-center person thinks we can tax the rich and solve all problems forever. I don’t even think they would support that course of action if it worked – they wouldn’t find it just at all.

    This is not about soaking the rich. This is about recognizing that investments haven’t soared to historical levels even though taxes are historically low. It is also about recognizing that in a society where social immobility and economic inequality is not only massive but also solidifying (there is less “trickle-down” than ever) a more progressive tax system is not less meritocratic or unfair.

    More taxes. Rearranged spending with increases here and cuts there. A focus on long-term entitlements and defense costs and how to lower their costs rather than obsession over discretionary spending. It’s time for everyone to stop being a bunch of retards.

  14. wr says:

    I was in favor of higher taxes for the upper end of the income scale, but since Doug put “the rich” in scare quotes, I’ve changed my mind.

  15. hey norm says:

    southern hoosier…
    please explain to me how it is exactly that an effective tax rate for the wealthy of 17% is soaking the rich, when the effective tax rate of the middle class is 22%.

  16. Trumwill says:

    please explain to me how it is exactly that an effective tax rate for the wealthy of 17% is soaking the rich, when the effective tax rate of the middle class is 22%.

    According to the Citizens for Tax Justice (a liberal group), the middle quintile pays an effective rate of 14%. The top 1% pays 22.3%. This is in federal taxes (including payroll). If looking at federal and local, it’s 25.3% and 30.8%.

  17. Hey Norm says:

    Trumwill….
    Whatever…22% is a soaking??? This is an extremely low tax country. To call 22% a soaking is ridiculous.

  18. Wiley Stoner says:

    So, fact is, if you tax the rich at 100% it will still to pay the bill, then they will come after the middle class. When you have a president (purposely used a small p in President do to the current officeholder) who clearly states his purpose is to redistribute wealth, what do you expect. Funny, with Obama care, the Government will decide when you have used enough services and get pain pill rather than treatment. So it is OK with the lefties for the government to kill you, but somehow anything that will prevent the whole f ing thing from falling down is wrong. Kind of like the unions and the steel mills. Dumb fuks priced themselves right out of work. But it was the greedy mill owners fault because they had to compete. Grow up. You are not entitled to mine to pay for yours.

  19. Hey Norm says:

    Wiley…
    I love me some 4:20…but I think you need to lay off dude.

  20. Trumwill says:

    I didn’t say it was soaking, Norm. I was taking issue with the numbers you provided. A lot of people appear to be under the impression that the wealthy pay a lower percentage of their income than the middle class. The best numbers I can find suggest otherwise. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t raise taxes on the wealthy. It just provides a more accurate picture.

  21. john personna says:

    Trumwill, Barry Ritholtz numbers seem to point the other way: Taxes Plunge for Rich

  22. An Interested Party says:

    You are not entitled to mine to pay for yours.

    This from someone who admitted he has been sucking at the government teat…typical of certain “conservatives”…

  23. Hey Norm says:

    We don’t seem to really disagree…Well I differ on the numbers….but I’m away from my computer. I just can’t see it as a soaking like the commented above. Plus there is a complexity here. Consider an oil company guy paying – your number is 22% – and his company is getting huge tax breaks. We are way down the list of tax burdens in the developed nations. In addition the increase being discussed – which is actually programmed into the legislation to begin with – is minuscule. Not a soaking.

  24. mpw280 says:

    The dem’s have no ideas except to play Slim Pickens and ride the bomb into the dirt. We know how that will work. mpw

  25. anjin-san says:

    You are not entitled to mine to pay for yours.

    Cool. Are all the low-wealth red states that depend on blue states to stay afloat ready to stop leeching off of us? I am kind of tired of seeing my wealth redistributed off to Pig’s Knuckle, or wherever it is the tea puppet types live.

  26. Fog says:

    Jeez, you would think some smart libertarian would figure out that without consumers, there are no markets. An economically healthy middle class is the tide that raises all boats. Only a dumb parasite kills the host.

  27. Trumwill says:

    Trumwill, Barry Ritholtz numbers seem to point the other way:

    How so? Those numbers show the wealthiest 1% paying nearly 30% while the average tax rate is just over 20%. The wealthiest 400 households appear to be paying a particularly low tax rate, but that’s… 400 households. Taxing them up the posterior will make us feel better, but it’s pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. And they seem to be immune from their tax bracket, so there’s the question of how to do it rather than what to do.

  28. Trumwill says:

    Norm, the numbers I’ve found are actually on the low side. According to some people, they don’t include corporate taxes, which disproportionately hit the wealthy. The numbers that John Personna puts forth actually give a much higher percentage. And keep in mind, these are “effective tax rates” and not the tax brackets. The tax breaks they get are already factored in.

    I’m assuming that the 17% number that you’re referring to is the one cited by Yglesias and Personna. As mentioned, that’s 400 households. They’re in the same tax bracket as the top 1%. They’re paying a lot less not because their rates are insufficiently high, but because they have better accountants and more revenue. To go after that money, we would need to be looking at the code itself and making changes. Otherwise, it stands to reason that they will maintain their immunity to their current tax bracket. And while going after those households may make us feel better (I don’t oppose it, for sure!), it’s not a real solution in and of itself. Nor, really, is targeting just the top 1% or top 5%. Though they’re definitely going to be a part of the solution.

    I agree that the notion that the rich are being soaked (whether we’re talking about 16% or 30%) is absurd. I took his comment to mean the rates at which taxes would have to be raised to pay for the entitlements. If last year we had taxed every dime made over $1m (not already going towards state and local taxes), we still wouldn’t have closed the deficit.

  29. steve says:
  30. Axel Edgren says:

    There are corporations that plain don’t pay taxes. And with the tax code and everything rich people can hire an accountant and shave off several percents.

    You guys need tax code reform. I don’t think republicans are going to support it if it means the effect will be corporations and the very rich no longer being able to avoid taxes.

  31. Southern Hoosier says:

    Fog says: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 20:56
    Only a dumb parasite kills the host.

    Ever heard the story of the Goose that laid he golden egg?

  32. Southern Hoosier says:

    hey norm says: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 17:03
    southern hoosier…
    please explain to me how it is exactly that an effective tax rate for the wealthy of 17% is soaking the rich, when the effective tax rate of the middle class is 22%.

    OK so it doesn’t start out as a soaking. But once the rich become the only source of tax revenue, where does it end? Right now 47% of Americans, don’t pay any income tax. The top 10% of wage earners pay 70% of the income tax. Maybe we should get them to pay 100%

  33. Stan says:

    Low income people don’t pay federal income tax because the financial support they get in Europe in the form of cash supplements is given here in the form of income tax credits. As anecdotal evidence, my wife’s pen pal in the UK is a man in his 50’s with diabetes, coronary artery disease, and numerous other ailments that make him an invalid. He gets all sorts of cash benefits, including help in making his car payments. In the US, he’d get the earned income tax credit, and join the ranks of the free loaders Southern Hoosier despises.

    Regarding the fact that 70% of the federal income tax is paid by 10% of earners, let’s do a reductio ad adsurdum argument. Suppose the US becomes even more of a two class society than it is now, with 1% of the population getting 99% of all income while the bottom 99% lives in Dickensian poverty. Most likely the virtuous 1% would pay 99% of the income tax, and Southern Hoosier would wax even more indignant. But he wouldn’t be able to tell us about it because he’d lack an internet connection, a computer, and electricity.

  34. Southern Hoosier says:

    Stan says: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 07:39
    Most likely the virtuous 1% would pay 99% of the income tax, and Southern Hoosier would wax even more indignant. But he wouldn’t be able to tell us about it because he’d lack an internet connection, a computer, and electricity.

    Lenin propaganda poster read Peace! Land! Bread! That was the slogan he used to help gain power.

    I can see our modern day politician promising the masses “Internet! Computer!, and Electricity! to get elected. As I said earlier

    The problem with the federal government, the more money it raises, the more new programs it can find to spend it on and nothing gets paid down.

    Just my luck, I’ll be part of the 1% that has to support the other 99%.

  35. Stan says:

    Sorry to post twice in a row. ej, when you cite the supply problem involved in increasing access to medical care, aren’t you being guilty of ignoring a positive feedback effect? I think there would be more doctors if there were more patients, and additions would be made to hospital capacity. This seems to be what’s happened in Europe.

  36. ej says:

    For all those here who have complained about polarizing income and a middle class becoming more stagnant, other than providing education what exactly does the government do that helps bolster a middle class?

    Why do you think in the absence of large government intervention, the middle class would disapear and the masses would be poor? What is the middle class currently getting other than education?

  37. ej says:

    Stan,

    thats not how markets work. Suppliers dont supply more just because there are more peopel wanting their product. They supply more because there are more peopel willing and able to purchase their product. Supply goes up when price goes up – not because there are just more patients. Its just that in a market system, more demand (patients) drives up price which induces more doctors to provide services. If supply in the indistry is pretty open and elastic, you will then end up with a big increase in supply for a small price increase – but thats not really the case currently.

    In the case of Medicare/ Medicaid, a price control is put in place. If the entire system was medicaid/ medicare we would have the healthcare version of the 70s gas lines where supply does not equal demand (patients). We are already seeing this in medicaid in some states, NY in particular, where many doctors are not acceptiong new medicaid patients because the reimbursment rates arent high enough. With the large expansion of medicaid in the health bill, this problem is going to get worse. Being on medicaid is increasingly becoming closer to not having insurance at all- leaving you just the emergency room.

  38. ej says:

    I would add that this supply problem is also a problem in the MA health system. A bill is now floating around the MA state house that would mandate all doctors to accept government insurance patients. MA is having shortage problems themselves – waiting times for primary care is the highest in the country. We can only look forward to this on a national scale now.

    That slippery slope that critics of the haelthcare bill plan arguing that mandates are dangerous to liberty was not off base. The next step affter mandating taking government insurance is to start concripting doctors into service.

  39. What do voters really want? We each want things to be different – but for others, not for me.

    There is no shortage of voters who say they want the federal budget cut and the size of government reduced. What they (okay, we) really mean is, “I want the federal programs and agencies that benefit me to stay intact and the ones that benefit someone else to be slashed like it’s Halloween night in a horror movie.”

    The reason is, I think, that we voters ideologically approve cutting the budget but operationally don’t want it done on our own backs.

    I am more pessimistic now than ever.

  40. ej says:

    Donald,

    Exactly – Americans are acting like infants right now.

  41. anjin-san says:

    The problem with the federal government, the more money it raises, the more new programs it can find to spend it on and nothing gets paid down.

    We were doing just fine paying things down until Bush came along. “Conservatives” where cheering at the top of their lungs as he led us to the brink of a depression…

  42. Stan says:

    ej, I’ve seen a lot of stuff about all the problems the Massachusetts health reform bill has caused, and very little about the fact that it’s insured virtually everybody in the state. I regard this as a big positive. Do you? Would you repeal it now if you could?

  43. ej says:

    Stan,

    I’m not syaing there are not some tangible benifits to it, but it comes at costs and it isnt sustainable either. Also, the thing is with MA is that it started out with a much lower uninsured rate because there are relatively few small businesses in MA and more large corporations so more people already had healthcare. MA’s unisured rate was half the national average and then the bill only covered about half of the people who didnt have anything and at a price tag that was much higher than anticipated.

    My point is, that the MA system like the soon to be national one acceserbates a lot of the existing price problem dynamics that are causeing the system to fail. And neither regime as it currently is is sustainable. Its not going to matter in the end if people have insurance in name if the insurance doesnt actually do anything for you.

  44. ej says:

    My ideal system would be somethign closer to the Swiss or Singapore model, where insurance whether private or public doesnt really kick in for non-catostrophic situations. Regular healthcare exendatures would be paid for out of pocket via savings. This would create a competivive market for the first time, which will keep cost growth in check (we have evidence of this working in Lasic, Cosmetic surgery, and dentistry). With comprehensive third party payer systems, like we have now, patients dont shop around for lower prices. And providers knowing this, put little euntreprenural energies into finding ways to cut costs, because they know patients will use their services regardless. In short our healthcare markets don’t function properly.

    The reason why we have a coverage problem is because we have a price escalation problem. If healthcare costs rose at the same rate as inflation over the past 40 years, there would be virtually no one who couldnt afford healthcare who didnt get medicaid.

    Fix the cost gorwth problem, and you begin to fix the access problem. As of now all we keep doing is just throwing more money at insurance coverage which only acceserbates the price problem.

  45. Eric Florack says:

    Let’s imagine, as a data point, that as a governmental fiat, we could take all the money… and I mean every last dime of the income of the rich. Every farthing of it. Even at that level, it wouldn’t make a dent in the deficit. Not even close. So, what is accomplished by “soaking the rich” other than punishing people for being successful?

  46. The Ramble says:

    […] at OTB just now: Let’s imagine, as a data point, that as a governmental fiat, we could take all the money… and […]

  47. taiko drum says:

    “This would create a competivive market for the first time, which will keep cost growth in check (we have evidence of this working in Lasic, Cosmetic surgery, and dentistry”

    I hear this all the time, but how exactly do you propose to implement this without transparency? I work in the health industry for a state Medicaid program and deal with hospitals/doctors offices on a daily basis. Most wouldn’t be able to give you an accurate estimate on most procedures, let alone knowing what the CPT/HCPC/Rev code the procedures would use so you could look up the Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement rates and use that as a benchmark. We have been trying for over a year to implement a website whcih would show medical error rates in hospitals for the public to use when making decisions on where to go for planned procedures. I”ll give you two guesses to figure out who has been blocking it. But, to the media and our elected leaders, they claim that they have been cooperating fully with us and it is our fault that it hasn’t been activated yet. Hospitals don’t want any transparency in the system because that works to their advantage.

    Hospital operating costs vary tremendously–one hospital can have costs twice that of a similar hospital jsut down the street. Differences in acuity mix and offered services don’t explain the differences in most cases. You want to know what I have noticed, however, by looking at their annual filings? There seems to be a high correlation between their investment losses and when they start claiming that Medicare/Medicaid don’t cover costs. Just an observation. Many hospitals/doctor offices I work with are terrible at tracking their revenue sources and constantly badger us to provide data for them. I’ve actually had physician offices send me cost data handwritten on ledger paper and then get irate when I tell them I can’t accept such tripe. Further, the media never report that hospitals who accept indigent patients for Medicaid receive supplemental payments to offset these costs. They always come screaming to us for more money, more money, but I have never heard one explain to me if they have undertaken any serious measures to increase their own operational efficiency and lower their costs.

    I just had a conference call the other day with a medical supplier of a very widely used device that reduced the price by 1/3 without batting eye, once I pushed back and called them on their data. Why was the state involved? Because the private-side hospital had signed a contract with the supplier at full price adn now was going to stop accepting Medicaid patients for a certain procedure because they were losing money on it. So they dumped the problem in our lap to take care of and we took it because the media would most likely not uncover the true story but jsut report the hospitals side and the higher-ups don’t want to deal with the bad press. So be careful with accepting what the media reports regarding why hospitals/physicians aren’t accepting Medicare/Medicaid patients anymore. Sorry for the long post, and please don’t take this as an attack on you. IMHO, it’s just much more complicated than do A and B will result. I don’t have the answers but I think one fo the core problems is that we have a health care industry whose main aim is profit levels and not the efficient delivery of optimal healthcare.

  48. Southern Hoosier says:

    anjin-san says: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 10:35

    The problem with the federal government, the more money it raises, the more new programs it can find to spend it on and nothing gets paid down.

    We were doing just fine paying things down until Bush came along. “Conservatives” where cheering at the top of their lungs as he led us to the brink of a depression…

    I know the drill. Bush stole the 2000 election and everything after that was Bush’s fault. Let’s ignore the Democrat congress. Let’s not talk about Freddie, Fannie and the Democrats.

  49. michael reynolds says:

    ej:

    Belated response: First, yes, I am conservative in many ways. Second, the solution to medicare going to people who don’t need it is means-testing, not abolition. I support means-testing of all wealth-transfer programs.

    For all those here who have complained about polarizing income and a middle class becoming more stagnant, other than providing education what exactly does the government do that helps bolster a middle class?

    Why do you think in the absence of large government intervention, the middle class would disapear and the masses would be poor? What is the middle class currently getting other than education?

    What does the middle class get? Roads, harbors, safe skies, safe food, safe medicines, social stability, insulation against some of the expenses of their elderly, a floor beneath them in the event of unemployment or medical catastrophe, rescue in the event of natural disaster, security against invasion, crime, terrorism, a stable system within which they can accumulate wealth. That’s off the top of my head.

  50. michael reynolds says:

    Hoosier:

    You’re deliberately avoiding dealing with Anjin’s point by trying to divert onto a side street. The fact is we had a balanced budget. Then the GOP took over, started two unfunded wars and cut taxes and now we’re broke.

  51. Moosebreath says:

    “Then the GOP took over, started two unfunded wars and cut taxes and now we’re broke.”

    You forgot adding a new entitlement without doing anything to pay for it.

  52. mpw280 says:

    reynolds, since the middle class get all this stuff, what to do the 30% of the taxpayers who pay most all the income taxes get? Besides a good screwing. mpw

  53. Moosebreath says:

    “since the middle class get all this stuff, what to do the 30% of the taxpayers who pay most all the income taxes get?”

    The same stuff, which they use more than the rest of us.

  54. mantis says:

    since the middle class get all this stuff, what to do the 30% of the taxpayers who pay most all the income taxes get?

    A country with a middle class. It’s much better if you have one of those.

  55. Southern Hoosier says:

    michael reynolds says: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 12:57

    You’re deliberately avoiding dealing with Anjin’s point by trying to divert onto a side street. The fact is we had a balanced budget. Then the GOP took over, started two unfunded wars and cut taxes and now we’re broke.

    I just Goggled “clinton balanced budget myth” and got 86,000 hits. I’ll leave it at that.

  56. Southern Hoosier says:

    michael reynolds says: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 12:57

    Then the GOP took over, started two unfunded wars and cut taxes and now we’re broke.

    Bush Deficit vs. Obama Deficit in Pictures

    http://blog.heritage.org/?p=4210

    House Republicans Falsely Blame President Obama For Bush’s Deficit

    http://politicalcorrection.org/factcheck/201001260005

    Obama’s trillions dwarf Bush’s ‘dangerous’ spending

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2009/02/obamas-trillions-dwarf-bushs-dangerous-spending

    Bush Deficit Hurting Obama: Reports

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/10/obama-grappling-with-fall_n_387121.html

    Old saying Figures don’t lie, but liars figure, You can show me a hundred websites telling how it’s all Pres Bush’s fault and I can show you a hundred websites saying it’s all Pres. Obama fault. Who to believe?

  57. […] seen numerous polls over the past several months that essentially say this exact same thing, including one just yesterday. Nobody should really be surprised that people are nervous about the idea of giving up a program that […]

  58. […] […]

  59. Eric Florack says:

    I note with interest that nobody dares address the idea that taking all the money the rich have wouldn’t even come close to dealing with the debt problem. Gee, the third rail of leftist politics has been located, apparently.

  60. An Interested Party says:

    I note with interest that nobody dares address the idea that the moon is made of green cheese and if only we could find some way to mine it on a regular basis, we could solve the problem of hunger in so many parts of the world…see how easy it is when you start from a false, silly premise…

    Who to believe?

    Well you can blame it all on the president if you can somehow prove that the Great Recession started on or after January 20, 2009 as a direct result of the president and his policies…

  61. Southern Hoosier says:

    An Interested Party says: Well you can blame it all on the president if you can somehow prove that the Great Recession started on or after January 20, 2009 as a direct result of the president and his policies…

    I would say the recession started in Apr 08 when it was at 4.8% and now it is at 9.8
    http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=usunemployment&met=unemployment_rate&tdim=true&dl=en&hl=en&q=unemployment

    Budget 2011: Past Deficits vs. Obama’s Deficits in Pictures

    http://blog.heritage.org/2010/02/05/past-deficits-vs-obamas-deficits-in-pictures/

  62. An Interested Party says:

    You would be incorrect in what you say, as the housing bubble and the trouble in the banking industry are both significant factors in the Great Recession, and these things started far earlier than April 2008…as far as the deficits are concerned, they can be partially blamed on how much lower tax revenues have been in the past few years, a byproduct of the recession…if you are so concerned about the deficit, surely you must admit that tax increases will have to be a part of rectifying that situation…

  63. Southern Hoosier says:

    An Interested Party says: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 20:54
    Great Recession, and these things started far earlier than April 2008

    How about January 2007 when the Democrats took over Congress? Or maybe October 2007 when the Democrat Congress passed their budget.

  64. Eric Florack says:

    Silly?
    Fine.
    Some indication your argument is based in fact would be of interest.

  65. An Interested Party says:

    The same goes for you, Eric…let us know when you find a majority of “leftists”, especially those who hold actual political power, who want to take all the money that the rich have…

    As for you, Southern Hoosier, are you really arguing that the housing bubble and the banking crisis started in 2007? Good luck with that argument…

  66. Scott says:

    @Eric Florack, Call me foolish, call me brave, but I will step right on your third rail. It’s an idiotic talking point. I could just as easily say if we eliminated Social Security and Medicare entirely today, every last dime, we would still have a deficit, ergo these programs should not be altered.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_federal_budget

  67. Southern Hoosier says:

    How about

    In 1995, the Clinton Administration changed the law governing GSEs’ mission — the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) — to encourage more lending in poor neighborhoods.

    That evidence finally came in 2004, despite fierce Democrat party efforts to prevent it and their systematic attacks on people who tried to bring it to light. Even after the evidence was in clear public view, Democrats continued to resist any changes to the regulatory structure that would have slowed GSEs mortgage lending activity.

    So the Democrats were behind the housing market bubble.

    In August 2003, Barney Frank (D-MA) — ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee and the person who generaled the Democrat strategy with regard to GSE regulation — argued strongly to make it easier for people/speculators to get new house construction loans while putting less money up as collateral.

    Good old Barney and unsecured loans.
    http://tjhancock.wordpress.com/housing-bubble-financial-crisis-detailed-comprehensive-assessment/
    So the Democrats were the cause to the housing crises that caused the Bush recession.

  68. An Interested Party says:

    Try again, Southern Hoosier…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_United_States_housing_bubble

    However, government-mandated loans did not cause the boom in subprime mortgages. More than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages came from private lending institutions in 2006 and share of subprime loans insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also decreased as the bubble got bigger (from a high of insuring 48 percent to insuring 24 percent of all subprime loans in 2006). The Community Reinvestment Act also only affected one out of the top 25 subprime lenders. Despite conservative criticism for government lending programs as the main cause of the crisis, much of the crisis was independent of government home loan programs.

    …backed up by the following…

    http://www.businessweek.com/investing/insights/blog/archives/2008/09/community_reinvestment_act_had_nothing_to_do_with_subprime_crisis.html

    http://www.slate.com/id/2201641/pagenum/all/%23page_start

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2008/10/12/53802/private-sector-loans-not-fannie.html#ixzz12xTyWY91A

  69. Southern Hoosier says:
  70. […] Polls are saying that 64% of EVERYONE think that we should EAT THE RICH. Which makes things a little more difficult for the poor little […]