October 13, 2007

So, "To Recap" [Dan Collins]

The Washington Times provides a concise synopsis of The Great Frosted Flake-Out.

Credit where due: Why Andrew still matters.

Another Irish-American puts a foot into Ezra. Is Fenianism anti-Semitism?

A Ric Lockean thought experiment:

Hypothetical situation, guys. You do know what that means, I take it.

Suppose Republicans had decided to use the Frosts as an example. The grandfather has a little money. Picture young Graeme, surrounded by Republican leaders and the admiring Press, arguing for abolition of inheritance taxes on the ground that if Daddy can inherit he, Graeme, can get the medical care he needs without being a burden on anyone. Given what’s known about the Frosts’ situation it makes at least as much sense as what has happened and maybe more.

Would the exposure of the Frosts’ wastrel ways and irresponsibility then constitute “smearing”? Discuss.

Regards,
Ric

(I know some will say, “But it’s different.” If you argue thus, please indicate how it is different, and how that makes a difference.)

Hero

“Go, stranger, and tell the Spartans that we lie here in obedience to their laws.”

Bloggers? Notsomuch.

Another one, from . . . Madison, Wisconsin?

Posted by Dan Collins @ 6:16am
52 comments | Trackback

Comments (52)

  1. A liberal offered to debate Malkin on the S-CHIP issue, to which she replied she’d just as soon share a stage “with Chris Matthews, Geraldo Rivera, or an overflowing vat of liquid radioactive waste.”

    [snort, chortle, guffaw]

  2. Speaking for my clients in the overflowing-vat-of-radioactive-waste community, I demand an apology from Ms. Malkin.

  3. I rent an office from a family run financial consulting/insurance company. The owner, who is a Republican and generally votes conservative, sat me down one to explain to me why eliminating the Estate Tax would be a bad idea. His argument, in a nutshell, was that all of the richest families in the country would end up hoarding too many of the available assets, even as he acknowledged that it was, in effect, a “double tax on assets.”

    The punch line to this curious discussion was that he specialized in insurance plans for seniors that protected them from estate taxes while maximizing their returns.

    The moral of this tale? Regardless of personal political philosophies people tend to argue for things that benefit them persdonally. The self interest meme might run counter to principles held but priciples take a back seat when the result will cause personal loss or hardship.

    The Frosts are personally invested in SCHIP, as are the Democrats who see another opportunity to build a loyal following of the self interested. This has nothing to do with the twelve year old and everything to do with building both future self interest and reoccuring political loyalty.

    For further background, see Earmarks.

  4. It would be useful to see just how rich grandpa had to be to be hit by the inheritance tax. And how much grandpa can avoid it by creating trusts and other financial instruments. And we’re still stuck with the asset stripping nature of a medical disaster, the risk of which we are trying to spread.

  5. And strike>we’re The Frosts are still stuck with the asset stripping nature of a medical disaster, the risk of which we are trying to spread force others to absorb and expand the forcing to people with even higher incomes, most of whom are more than adequetely protected.

    Fixed that for you.

  6. Uh huh, andy. I wonder why their auto insurance didn’t cover some of this, and why they’ve got 3 expensive vehicles, but had no health insurance.

  7. You see, that would have spread the risk. Do you know, I carry uninsured motorist protection, even though it’s illegal to be uninsured in VT.

  8. Would the exposure of the Frosts’ wastrel ways and irresponsibility then constitute “smearing”?

    No. But I’m not sure I understand the question. Little Graeme has to go on the public tit for healthcare because the state is taxing daddy’s inheritance? Even the politically tone-deaf Republicans would see this as a non-starter.

  9. It would be useful to see just how rich grandpa had to be to be hit by the inheritance tax. And how much grandpa can avoid it by creating trusts and other financial instruments.

    No, that’s irrelevant. Remember that Graeme Frost is already covered by S-CHIP — he, personally, doesn’t need additional coverage; he’s already provided for. That’s part of the reason I picked that particular example. The situations are directly parallel — Graeme wouldn’t benefit from a reduction of the estate tax, either, because the existing exemption would cover the assets in question.

    Regards,
    Ric

  10. “Uh huh, andy. I wonder why their auto insurance didn’t cover some of this, and why they’ve got 3 expensive vehicles, but had no health insurance.”

    I wonder it too. There’s plenty left to know. Just because someone drives an expensive vehicle, doesn’t mean they’ve paid for it. Just how much medical bills does car insurance — or even health insurance — cover? Does it cover the refinance of a house for the remodeling to accommodate two handicapped children? Think just how much into the Frost’s we can still dig. Add in grandpa’s estate, any trusts he has set up, etcc.

    Somewhere up the line I’m sure someone had a family farm too.

  11. Well, why should I carry insurance, then, andy, when I could just use the money to buy a new car, the new laptop I crave, maybe take the family on a vacation to somewhere warm in February?

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  13. There’s plenty left to know.

    Which is precisely my point: if it were Republicans using the Frosts for support of a Republican proposal or issue, would investigating their background constitute “stalking” and revealing their living arrangements be a “smear”?

    Regards,
    Ric

  14. “Well, why should I carry insurance, then, andy, when I could just use the money to buy a new car, the new laptop I crave, maybe take the family on a vacation to somewhere warm in February?”

    You mean health insurance? Because being uninsured sucks. A friend of mine got stuck with a 15 grand hospital bill because he was wrestling or some other jarheaded bullshit, fucked up his ankle, and followed george bush’s advice of “just go to the emergency room.” If our president is that stupid on understanding health risks and health economics, I don’t begrudge you or my friend for being the same.

    But I do think the economics of it, specially of things like selection biases, along with the social goal of risk spreading mean it makes more sense that we ought to have a system where you have coverage. At least some sensible coverage.

    And if the right wing economics is to be believed, we can pay for it with revenue raising tax cuts. But maybe we shouldn’t actually rely on these fantasies for actual policy, rather than ideological bluster.

  15. Huh. And have tax cuts increased or decreased income tax revenues?

  16. And while you’re at it, andy, what’s your view on why their auto insurance didn’t cover the medical bills?

  17. If I don’t like the coverage offered by my employers, I can take the money and apply it towards coverage I like, or go look for another job. Will I be able to do that under a one-payer system? Will the members of Congress who are voting in favor of this sign pledges promising to step down if ever they seek private care outside of this system for any family memeber? Because it’s a pretty sure bet that if they socialize medicine as much as some of them would like to, I won’t be able to pay for private treatment as most of those Servants of the People will. And if they won’t, then why should I put my faith in their providing adequate coverage for me?

  18. “And while you’re at it, andy, what’s your view on why their auto insurance didn’t cover the medical bills?”

    I don’t know much about how well auto policies cover these medical events. How much have their bills been? How much medical coverage do average (for the Frost’s money, or average period) auto policies provide? MD’s minimum is 20K per person, 40K per incident. MD also requires underinsured/uninsured motorist insurance. I carry the minimums, but I don’t drive much, and have a real good health plan via my employer. I hope whoever I hit has the same. How bout you? How much health coverage does your auto insurance have?

    “Huh. And have tax cuts increased or decreased income tax revenues?”

    Some people think they do increase them. Others think its subsequent economic events (such as later tax increases, or cyclical effects) that increase revenues.

    But if those latter people are wrong, then we can finance little Graeme Frost (and his sister’s) medical coverage with tax cuts. Wonderful, this world of right wing economics huh? Worth the chance no? If we turn out to have been wrong, the worst thing that could happen is we leave a debt burden for the future.

  19. “Will I be able to do that under a one-payer system?”

    I don’t see why you shouldn’t be able to buy more. Don’t people already buy things like Medicare supplementals?

    “Will the members of Congress who are voting in favor of this sign pledges promising to step down if ever they seek private care outside of this system for any family memeber?”

    I don’t see why people shouldn’t seek private care.

  20. Which is precisely my point: if it were Republicans using the Frosts the Swift Vets/Jeff Gannon/General Petraeus/Matt Sanchez/John Robert’s son for support of a Republican proposal or issue, would investigating their background constitute “stalking” and revealing their living arrangements be a “smear”?

    I think there are some real-life examples out there.

  21. The punch line to this curious discussion was that he specialized in insurance plans for seniors that protected them from estate taxes while maximizing their returns.

    Years ago when I was involved in the local Republican Party I heard a guy in that industry arguing that way against the entire party executive committee but one.

    He was the missing “one” — and the chairman.

  22. My focus was and is not on health care per se, but rather on the circumstances surrounding the family who have been raised up as exemplars — and which, in turn, is why andy et al will not discuss it in those terms.

    andy brings up “asset stripping”, which is precisely why I chose the inheritance tax as a “hook”. According to (at least some of) the more left-leaning Democrats, “asset stripping” is the whole point of an inheritance tax; the inheritors (under that rubric) don’t deserve the money — they should get out and work for it themselves — which would make the Frosts barn-sized targets for the Left in a debate over inheritances.

    I will allow myself to be sidetracked in so far as to address andy’s last pseudo-point, viz., there are many levels of insurance available. In States with “financial responsibility” (== “subsidy for the insurance industry”) laws, it is common to find insurance companies offering the bare-minimum of liability only at a cut-rate price, and such companies often also offer just enough hull insurance on the vehicle to satisfy the lenders who financed it. Such insurance is cheap, but it does not cover things like medical insurance for passengers who are members of the family because the purchaser doesn’t pay for that. And remember — nobody is asking for additional coverage for Graeme Frost and his sister, because they are already covered by their State’s version of S-CHIP. What is being argued for is extension of S-CHIP, with the Frosts taken as exemplars of people who need it — and sober investigation of their circumstances shows that if they need it, it is to some extent their own friggin’ fault, and asking others (who may be, and often are, in even more straitened circumstances through no fault of their own) to bail them out is not what I consider “fair”.

    Regards,
    Ric

  23. This entire discussion relates to the Frost’s particular circumstances and how it pushes forth the expansion of SCHIP to others in better financial condition than the they. This was a misdirection play by the Dems. The bill before Congress has absolutely nothing to do with the Frosts as they are already covered. Thus the question should be asked: Why them?

    If it was the Dems intention to sell the idea of expanded coverage then why put forth a family that is already covered? The answer lies in the laziness and misery pimpage of the Dems. A more honest and inmformative approach wouldn have been to find a family struggling with medical bills that was not covered by SCHIP but would be covered under the new bill. A cynic would suggest that that particular scenario would be a tougher sell as that family would be subject (rightly so) to scrutiny regarding their financial condition and available assets.

    Instead the Dems went the easy route, choosing a family already covered as a cover for promoting expansion of the program. They attempt to ofuscate the issue by crying foul over questions asked abouy that family’s financial condition in the hope of painting opponents as “smear merchants” and “stalkers” even though the family in question is in no way impacted by the new bill. (Other than, of course, the opportunity upon the bill’s passage of possibly going out and earning more income while maintaining their entitlements.)

    This is a classic example of why congress’ approval ratings are even more abysmal than Bush’s and why andy refuses to address the issue head on, choosing instead to decorate the landscape with “tax cuts increase revenue” and “shared risk” and other irrelevant snarks. Anyone who chooses to put themselves front and center in a policy debate ought to be prepared for scrutiny especially when their personal circumstances don’t even address the focus of the bill being debated.

    This is no better than a three card monte, writ large.

  24. Hey, I’ll bite.

    Here’s the hypothetical, right:

    Suppose Republicans had decided to use the Frosts as an example. The grandfather has a little money. Picture young Graeme, surrounded by Republican leaders and the admiring Press, arguing for abolition of inheritance taxes on the ground that if Daddy can inherit he, Graeme, can get the medical care he needs without being a burden on anyone. Given what’s known about the Frosts’ situation it makes at least as much sense as what has happened and maybe more.

    Would the exposure of the Frosts’ wastrel ways and irresponsibility then constitute “smearing”? Discuss.

    The Frosts’ wastrel ways would be entirely irrelevant to the issue, since it’s their money they’re wasting and Grampa Frost’s money they’d be using instead of ours. I can’t imagine what point anyone could resonably make from their being wastrels that would have a bit of bearing on the issue as you’ve framed it. So, since it’s irrelevant, it would be out of bounds.

  25. It would be useful to see just how rich grandpa had to be to be hit by the inheritance tax. And how much grandpa can avoid it by creating trusts and other financial instruments. And we’re still stuck with the asset stripping nature of a medical disaster, the risk of which we are trying to spread.

    Something like the first 1.2 million is tax free. After that you start paying taxes. If you include your children or grandchildren as joint tenents with rights of survivorship on your accounts, you save them inheritance on those assets. Remember. It’s not illegal to avoid paying taxes it’s only illegal to not pay them.

    Once again you want to create a taxing body where a free market should be.

  26. Would the exposure of the Frosts’ wastrel ways and irresponsibility then constitute “smearing”?

    So, are you stating that the left wouldn’t treat that instance differently? You don’t believe that they’d treat it as out of bounds, do you?

  27. “I don’t know much about how well auto policies cover these medical events.”

    Thick as a brick, this one. It depends on how much and what kind of coverage you buy, andy. If you go cheap so you can afford a little bigger TV or another SUV, then it doesn’t cover as much, and you are taking a risk of not having enough in the event of a catastrophe. THAT IS THE FUCKING POINT OF ALL THIS! The Frost parents were responsible for the welfare of their children, and they didn’t do their job. They need to face this fact and start making responsible decisions, and any government policy intended to help them needs to keep this in mind. The current program enables bad behavior, it is just that simple.

  28. The Frosts’ wastrel ways would be entirely irrelevant to the issue, since it’s their money they’re wasting and Grampa Frost’s money they’d be using instead of ours.

    Bzzt, wrong!

    Under my hypothetical they would be arguing for an end to the estate tax, because they need that money in order to cover their medical expenses and the State is going to take it away leaving them semi-destitute. Are you really trying to suggest that the Democrats wouldn’t seize upon “two SUVs and a three-quarter-ton pickup, and skimping on insurance coverage” as irresponsible behavior that caused them to deserve having Grandad’s money taken away? If so, I fart in your general direction.

    Regards,
    Ric

  29. The question isn’t about the Frosts. The question is about the miserable hypocritical lying sack of shit Democrat party hauling out an injured child, hiding behind him and claiming immunity from the debate.

    You’re claiming that no one is allowed to question YOUR PROPOSED LAW because you’re hiding behind a child, you miserable cowardly bastards.

    It’s sick, and pathetic. Defending it is even more sick and pathetic. Instead of defending your ideas, you’re trying to shortcut past the debate and “win by deception.”

    The only ones trying to make this about the kid are the Democrats. It’s revolting behavior, but then that’s the Left’s trademark now, isn’t it?

    Every time you guys pull a trick like this, more decent people flee from your presence. Keep it up, and you’ll end up like the Whigs.

    I hope my position on the subject is clear.

  30. Your a regular economist there Andy. A regular Alan Frickin Greenspan. I think I’ll use your philsophy to run my business into the ground in about 90 days.

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  32. If you question the Absolute Moral Authority figures of the Left be prepared for a shitstorm, but keep questioning. They were chosen to forestall questioning deliberately.

  33. Andy — If you’re worried about asset stripping, will you be calling for the Kennedies and Edwardses to bring all their overseas financial shelters back into the US to be taxed to pay for these programs?

  34. “Asset stripping”? Is that the left’s new term for “responsibility”?

    Because in my world, if your family suffers a disaster and you have to sacrifice to deal with it, you sacrifice. Sell the house and move into a smaller place. Take on a full-time job. Knuckle down so you can keep the job you get. Maybe take on more than one job. Get some help from the grandparents, if they can. Ask the community for voluntary help. If you have rental property that’s not producing enough income, consider selling it.

    The last thing you do is ask for a handout from the government — because all you’re doing then is forcing other people to help you out. You owe them the respect of taking the minimum you need. You owe it to people who may need help more than you to only take the minimum, so there’s enough to help the truly needy.

    You sure as hell don’t pimp your sick kid out to make a political point.

  35. “It depends on how much and what kind of coverage you buy, andy.”

    I know. And I don’t know how much the average auto policy covers. How much is usual to have. Mine covers the minimum. I drive only 2-3 times a month. How much does yours?

    “Andy — If you’re worried about asset stripping, will you be calling for the Kennedies and Edwardses to bring all their overseas financial shelters back into the US to be taxed to pay for these programs?”

    In fact, we should have a great big BBQ where we eat the rich.

    So how about my idea to cut taxes, raise revenues, and provide health care?

  36. OK, andy, I’ll state it right out: I vehemently do not want the government any more involved in health care, and would be gleefully happy if it were involved less. First, the idea does not work. Bitch all you want about the US system, but, damn, our hospitals have modern equipment — unlike, say, Canada’s.

    Secondly, if the safety net has been expanded to the point where people with 3-4x the amount of assets as I have qualify as “needy”, then we sure as hell don’t need to expand it any more — it’s clearly more than adequate for the truly needy.

    Finally, when your health becomes a financial concern to the government, there’s suddenly a big, gaping door for the busy-bodies to micro-manage your health to a degree that makes the current system look like anarchy. The idiot Bloomberg’s ban on “transfats” and the various smoking bans will pale in comparison. That’s not the vision I have for liberty.

    Ya know, it’s odd. If a conservative calls to ban X “for the children”, the left gets all indignant. But when a lefty calls for confiscating more wealth from people “for the children”, they get all indignant when they’re called on it.

  37. “I don’t know how much the average auto policy covers. How much is usual to have. Mine covers the minimum. I drive only 2-3 times a month.”

    andy logic at it’s very best.

  38. andy – why is it so difficult for you and your ilk to acknowledge that the Frosts were at the very least, irresponsible in not having health insurance PRIOR to the accident?

  39. Andy said;

    in fact, we should have a great big BBQ where we eat the rich.

    Then where would jobs come from?

    So how about my idea to cut taxes, raise revenues, and provide health care?
    Can’t do it. Look at Medicare. Go to the bathroom, look in the mirror and say, ” What we tax, we get less of, what we subsidize we get more of.” ten times my economics challenged little friend.

  40. Even if htey had insurance, that would just mean that their insurance company would now be paying these costs, and passing them on to other people who use that company.

    Very few of whom are any worse off financially than the Frosts.

    So much better to have the government passing the costs on to people who — to borrow a phrase — might have to choose between buying food or paying the rent.

  41. “So much better to have the government passing the costs on to people who — to borrow a phrase — might have to choose between buying food or paying the rent.”

    I’ve said before, a better way to finance this is through right-wing magic of tax cuts that raise revenues.

  42. “I’ve said before, a better way to finance this is through right-wing magic of tax cuts that raise revenues.”

    Crazy, isn’t it? It’s like thinking if you let farmers keep more seed corn, they will increase their crop size. I don’t know where people get these wacky ideas.

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  44. Andy. You and logic don’t meet up often, do you?

  45. “Andy. You and logic don’t meet up often, do you?’

    Right wing economic logic? I can’t say i’m practiced in it.

  46. Let me explain. The more capital left in the hands of productive sectors of the economy, which government, as a rule, is not, the better.

  47. “Let me explain. The more capital left in the hands of productive sectors of the economy, which government, as a rule, is not, the better.”

    Trickle up economics. I like it.

  48. “Let me explain. The more capital left in the hands of productive sectors of the economy, which government, as a rule, is not, the better.”

    I have problems with the non productive sector of our economy too:
    The two most highest paid professions in America are medicine and law. And they both profit from the misery of others.

    Now, Govt. in the form of infrastructure, education, employment, scientific endeavor (say what you want about NASA but private enterprize never would have put a man on the moon. ….with the exception of military (another part of the parasitic class) Govt. is much more on the “productive” side of the ledger than say doctors and lawyers who’s earnings come at the expense of people in tragedy…but then a successful outcome by either of those professions is and exception. Most of the time we either die or go to jail when we’ve spent the most money on either profession…e.g. 90 per cent of all medical expenses in America are spent in the last month of one’s life….)

  49. thx for some thoughtful freewheeling discussions here and sorry for the numerous mispellings.

    But I wonder why people are obsessed with the Frost’s cars and Grandfather Frost? I know a fairly impoverished family who has a grandfather who is a doctor…(although a lower paid doctor as retired med. school prof..) He ‘donates’ a car every few years to his daughter’s family of musicians and artists (why not? can one follow one’s muse? rather than be a lame money grubber?) I suspect Grandfather Frost may have ‘given’ a car to the younger family. But what business is it of ours? Can’t some people have some privacy. All the famous critics of the Frosts need to inform us of their income and health care benefits rather than point fingers.

  50. “You see, that would have spread the risk. Do you know, I carry uninsured motorist protection, even though it’s illegal to be uninsured in VT.”

    Gov. Douglas is for expansion of
    S-Chip.. and he’s a Republican.
    ah oh. don’t tell u’re in VA. or you’re my neighbor?

  51. Forget the health care.

    I’ve got to say, I love andy’s and his bretheren’s incredible grasp of economics.

    Even though EVERY tax cut has produced more revenues (and lots more) since forever, they still claim that it is better to raise taxes. “There is a finite pile of money, and all those rich pigs are keeping too much of it”. Absolutely ridiculous.

    I have a lefty friend who got mad at me when I tried to explain to him that surplusses and deficits were projections, and not actual cash in the bank (as if the assholes that run our Congress could ever keep 5 cents in a bank). He went ballistic, and screamed “NO! It WAS there until George Bush blew it!”.

    andy, you are fucking hopeless, and apparently helpless, incapable of believing anything except what you “feel”.

    Stop making a fool of yourself, please. This is not an ignorant, hateful moonbat blog. Facts are checkable. You ought to try it sometime. Economics are not based on what we feel.

    Utopia does not exist, and too many people think it is my responsibility to take care of them.

    If someone is down on their luck, by all means, help them any way you can. But stop trying to teach them that the Democrats are some kind of super-mom. The Dems are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

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