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Friday, September 04, 2009
This piece in The Atlantic is brilliant and if you only read one thing about the health care issue, make it this! I'm not sure I entirely agree with the author's solutions (I'd prefer to keep most health care coverage voluntary), but otherwise it's a very sound discussion of the actual problems inherent in the American health care system.


paul said...

Any "solution" to the health care system that isn't "make all insurance non-profit" isn't a solution at all. And those aren't my words, those are the words of plenty of hospital administrator folk that I know.

Darius said...

Making something non-profit is almost never the answer. This Democrat has it right... amazing he still considers himself a Democrat.

Chris A said...

Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat from Ohio and former presidential candidate has some very sharp criticisms of Obama's health care proposals. Watch this:

Essentially he agrees with yours truly on one key aspect of the plan that has been neglected by the pundits and the media, that is that this is a bailout for the insurance companies. Remember the first major bailout in this crisis? AIG, American (and I am using this word loosely) Insurance Group, got $85 billion. And a good chunk of that money went to European banks. Kucinich says it will guarantee them 30 million new customers.

Chris A said...

CORRECTION: The AIG bailout was $150 million, not $85 million. But who's counting?

Chris A said...

CORRECTION (again): I meant "billion", not "million". I'll get it right, just bear with me.

Darius said...

I was hearing the other day that the bank bailout ended up a good idea, since almost all of the banks have now repaid the money they received PLUS interest. So it was essentially an investment for the government which made them money... as opposed to the stimulus, which just lost money.

Chris A said...

Darius, where did you hear that propaganda? First of all, it wasn't supposed to be an investment in banks. It was supposed to free up liquidity and fix the economy. Bailout money became investment money (sort of) when it was used for bank investments and acquiring more banks instead of being used for lending. Don't let them spin this and change the subject on you. In actuality, all it did was reward bankers for reckless derivatives scams.

Don't you remember? McCain suspended his campaign to find a solution to fixing the economy, not to invest in troubled financial institutions. It was a bait and switch. We were sold a bill of goods, and I knew it from day one. The truth is that the economy is no better and the president of Bank United (who actually recently acquired the bank by purchase) recently said that he expects 100 more banks to fail in the short term.

As far as TARP paybacks go, it sounds like someone fed you a load of crap on that. Sure, some of the money is being paid back, but relatively little.

AIG was essentially a Federal Reserve acquisition rather than a bailout. They own about 80% of the company now. The plan to help AIG was basically to sell of all of the divisions, and nobody wants to pay what they are asking, so it will be a while before they are able to pay much money, if any, back.

Chrysler got $7 billion in March and then filed bankruptcy in April. Good luck getting that money back because it was covered under the bankruptcy. Then the government gave them a loan of $8 billion to help them exit bankruptcy in exchange for 8% government ownership. The company still isn't profitable, and it is doubtful whether they ever will be. So they probably won't be paying that $8 billion back any time soon.

I could go on. About 10 of the 700 bailout recipients have started to pay substantial TARP money back, and of those 10 the government might turn a profit on the loans, but overall I can't see how they will come out ahead. It is very doubtful that Zions Bank, GMAC, Marshal & Isley, or GM will be able to pay back half of the money they got, let alone interest.

Don't be fooled!

Darius said...

What I'm talking about is specifically the Bush bailout of certain banks, not the bailouts that Obama did for pretty much all-comers. Bush's bailout of banks stemmed the destruction of the financial sector, and now most of those banks are doing well. I agree that the Obama takeover of companies like GM are highly unlikely to ever pay back the "investment."

Chris A said...

I still doubt whether the government will make any money on the first round of bailouts. Any profits they would make would likely be negated by the AIG losses alone. Of course, they are not technically losses just yet. But I guarantee you that anyone saying the government made a good investment is simply speculating quite recklessly. As to why someone would say this is beyond me. I'm no expert, but neither am I an idiot. And I do listen to the real experts - the people that actually predicted this crisis would take place as early as two years before it happened. And without breaching any confidentiality agreements, I am also privy to the internal communications of one of the main TARP recipients - one that is actually paying back the money. (Hint: Its not the Bank of the United States.)

Yes, the bailouts got worse under Obama, but it was already really bad. When he continued this policy that originated under Bush they were already into the hundreds of billions of dollars of bailout money.

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The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

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