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Brother Beck’s Traveling Salvation Show

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Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally on August 28th turned out to be more of a tent revival. It became necessary for each speaker to sign a waiver stating they would refrain from making political remarks to retain the tax-exempt status of the beneficiary of the proceeds of the rally, Special Operations Warrior Foundation. SOWF receives its funds after all expenses of the rally have been paid, so let’s hope there’s something left for them.

I watched the entire thing and I’m feeling better now, thanks for asking. I’ve been sipping ginger ale and nibbling soda crackers and after a Compazine suppository, I have the nausea under control. I am resting comfortably. I’m risking a relapse just thinking about what I witnessed Saturday, but I’m no quitter. I will not stop until I’ve finished this.

Sarah Palin – what can be said about her? She was beautifully coiffed and smartly dressed and gave a lovely speech about military heroes, the kind of men who don’t give up even when they are confronted with the most dire of circumstances. Sarah introduced each one after telling their tales of bravery and I certainly don’t want anyone to think I don’t appreciate what those young men did for their country. Sarah, who bugged out halfway through her term as Governor of Alaska, didn’t realize that the values she was urging us to return to were not values she herself bothered to embrace. How could a woman who failed to complete the job she was elected to perform stand up there and admonish the rest of us to be like the soldier who had both hands blown off and was still able to command his troops? The irony.

Beck had a special Badge of Merit cast and awarded three of them during the rally. The Badge of Merit for Faith was awarded to Reverend C. L. Jackson who said in his acceptance speech, “God sent his son to this earth so that we could all gather, and I think that’s the dream and the vision of Glenn Beck.” Rev. Jackson is a member of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice and his term expires on 02/01/2011. The Badge of Merit for Hope was awarded to Albert Pujols who only showed at the rally when he was assured by Glenn Beck the rally was not political. The Badge of Merit for Charity was awarded to Jon Huntsman Sr. who is quite philanthropic and also a Mormon (not that there’s anything wrong with that). There is a pattern here: all three recipients are Christians in good-standing and two of them are involved heavily in philanthropic activities. As each recipient went up to accept their badge, Fanfare For the Common Man by Aaron Copeland was played. Nice touch.

Several times during the rally a film and voice-over montage was shown, sort of like the warm fuzzy pieces Disney produces for Epcot. A large white hand holding the hand of a black child; a soldier saluting the flag; a sunset; purple mountains majesty. You can feel the shiver of American pride up the backbone, can’t you? One of the vignettes even showed the Emma Lazarus poem, “The New Colossus” — another nice touch. Beck’s lower lip got quivery a few times. He mentioned that some of the people appeared at the rally at great personal risk. He seemed to indicate that those who were at particular risk were Democrats. At the same time Beck said that “Our values and principles can unite us.” Great. He says we can be united but then he makes sure that we all know that the “other” side is against what he’s doing.

Beck denied he’s a fear monger and instead likened himself to the guy in the crows nest on the Titanic who spotted the iceberg and warned of danger. Well, we all know how well that worked out. I did come to one conclusion, though, when Beck began his discussion about tithing to the church. Beck is truly a hypocrite if he can say to everyone it is alright to tithe to the church (obviously a Christian one) but it is not alright to pay taxes to the government to which we pledge allegiance. So, who are the real patriots: the people who gladly give 10% to their church or the people who give 10% to their country?

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About dharma55

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    One quibble here. Many mainstream Christians would be quick to point out that Beck is a Mormon and not necessarily a Christian at all.

    As for tithing, the key difference between tithing and taxes is that tithing is voluntary. Taxes are taken by force.

    Dave

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Taxes are taken by force?

    Not from everyone, just the working class, the lower class, anyone who doesn’t have, connections…

    So now the government is going to borrow and add more to the national debt, in order to retain these *immoral* tax cuts for the wealthiest American citizens and corporations. Meanwhile, the country dives toward bankruptcy.

    :Q BS!

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Jeannie, the working class and the lower class don’t pay any taxes.

    When you define the entire taxpaying segment of the population as “the wealthiest americans” then you render tax cuts meaningless and are clearly resolved to just plunder the productive sector of society to subsidize the rest.

    That’s the point at which you have revolutions.

    Dave

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Great article, dharma,

    I’m so glad you brought the tax free aspect of the *show* to the for-front.

    The *demonization* of paying taxes in this country has to stop!

    It’s so hypocritical, that the same people who lament any paying of taxes want their children educated, their homes or businesses saved from fires, and many other services that living in this democracy brings.plus, their almighty safety!

    :D I’ve wondered about this for years, Why don’t the Conservatives/GOP/Libertarians grumble about military spending?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Dave,

    What?

    Jeannie, the working class and the lower class don’t pay any taxes.

    What planet do you live on?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    I just found out that if I want a pre-sliced bagel, then I have to pay a tax…tell me, Dave…Do you eat?

  • Jean

    I wonder if people know what Mormonism is all about! The name of that Church is actually the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints… Clearly stated the Church of Jesus Christ. Glenn Beck is happier than he has ever been because he cleaned up his messes and embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ
    (the Mormon Faith) as a a result, he has been pretty successful, and now he is under attack because He simply stated that America needs to turn back to God! Gee! Come on People, have you ever pick up a bill or a coin, you will always find two things on it, no matter what the amount may be:
    1- In GOD We Trust
    2- United States of America
    George Washington knew exactly what he wanted to say when he said: It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible… Go and do what Beck is counseling us to do!

  • Baronius

    Dharma – Has Beck ever said that it’s wrong to pay taxes? And anyway, who pays 10% in taxes?

  • Baronius

    Dharma, the more I think about your statement, the less sense it makes. What does one use of money have to do with the other? Do you say that we spend 28% of our salary on housing, so we should spend 28% of our salary on food? Or movies cost $12, so cars should cost $12?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    I want to know why ,religious organizations enjoy a *tax-free status* while the rest of us drown in debt!

  • Georgio

    Glenn Beck’s opposition to “social justice” and “liberation theology” is all the more difficult to understand because of his cloaking of himself in the mantle of devout believer. “Look to God and make your choice,” he said during his rally on Sunday.

    If he looked at Jesus more carefully he would see someone who already made a choice: for the poor.

  • REMF(MCH)

    “How could a woman who failed to complete the job she was elected to perform stand up there and admonish the rest of us to be like the soldier who had both hands blown off and was still able to command his troops?”

    The same way a guy who dodged the draft during ‘Nam (Rush Limbaugh) later became a multi-millionaire pretending to be a patriot.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Dave repeats the lie that the working poor do not pay taxes. They pay payroll taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes — all of which can take a painful bite out of a lower income.

    Not all taxes are income taxes!

  • Baronius

    Handy’s right that lower-income people pay taxes. But net, after government transfers, lower-income people gain revenue from government.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    And yet even after these “government transfers” they are still poor.

    And the rich, even those who pay their share of taxes without hiding their income somewhere, are still rich.

    These continual remarks from the right end up sounding like: “Damn it, look what we’re giving these godforsaken people — and they are still complaining?”

    Even if that’s not your conscious intent, it comes out ugly.

  • Baronius

    I was offering a positive (factual) statement about government cash flows. I don’t see how I can be held responsible for how you feel about it.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Your tone-deafness on the issue [nothing to do with my “feelings”] has been duly noted.

    It was even directed at you personally. If the shoe fits, however…

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    “not even directed,” sorry

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Baronius,

    after government transfers, lower-income people gain revenue from government.

    Yes, so they can go out there and buy that new yacht.

    Any help from the government for the poor is a mere pittance compared to Government subsidies and kick-backs for the business sector.

    Corporate welfare outspends program costs for the individual.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    I would like to know why, religious organizations enjoy a *tax-free status* while the rest of us drown in debt.

  • Baronius

    “Any help from the government for the poor is a mere pittance compared to Government subsidies and kick-backs for the business sector.”

    No, Jeannie, that’s simply not true.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Yes it is, Baronius, and I’ll bring you a link if you answer #20. :)

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna
  • Baronius

    Great, Jeannie, a link with no links. But let’s say the largest number on that link is correct, and corporate welfare costs the US government $100B per year. Medicaid alone costs three times that amount.

    Why don’t religious organizations pay taxes? Separation of church and state.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Separation of money, but I wouldn’t say that we have separation of church and state. we should

    also,

    What gives these *newscasters* the right to ask President Obama what he faith he practices?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Baronius,

    The link works in # 23 trust me :D

  • Baronius

    I used the link. The site it directed me to was some guy’s writings, which weren’t linked or sourced. But before we get into a discussion of Obama’s religion or anything else, I want to make sure you acknowledge that corporate welfare isn’t as large as the social safety net.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    George Washington knew exactly what he wanted to say when he said: It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible…

    George mustn’t have got much sleep the night before delivering that quote, or he wouldn’t have overlooked the thousands of years of human history and dozens of civilizations which neatly disprove the claim.

    But not to worry: some perfunctory research reveals that, in actual fact, Washington never said it.

  • dharma55
  • dharma55

    Baronius #9 – Your marginal tax rate might be 28% (the tax rate applied to the last dollar of taxable income) but your average tax rate might be 21%. You do not pay 28% on your entire income. Just saying.

  • Baronius

    And I don’t pay $12 for a movie. You get my point, though, I hope.

  • dharma55

    Except when you pay federal income tax you get infrastructure and a military, Social Security, Medicare, other agencies of the government. I’m sure you’ll answer to complain that all government agencies are useless, but I’d sure like to see you function without them. Tithing to the church gets you a ticket to heaven. I don’t believe in buying your way to heaven. I don’t believe that God will be swayed by how much or how little money you can give to an organized religion.

  • dharma55

    Dave #1 – I don’t know when Protestants were given the right to decide who is Christian and who is not. As a Catholic (so, of course, I categorize all non-Catholic Christians as Protestants) I know they do not consider me to be Christian even though my “organized religion” is older than their “organized religion”. If Beck wants to be a Mormon, he can be a Mormon and as far as I’m concerned a Mormon is a Christian. As for tithing being voluntary, have you ever listened to some of the fundmentalists churches giving their flocks a shake down? Oy!

  • Baronius

    I still don’t see how you can compare the amount that a person willingly tithes with the very different amount that he’s taxed.

  • John Wilson

    The Senate/House Joint Tax Committee regularly reports that corporate tax subsidies are about $270billion/year.

  • John Wilson

    Perhaps Sister Palin should seek salvation from Beck for her disastrous and malevolent life. Consider her family and personal messes. Perhaps she should report to a convent for a few years of Salvation Seeking.

  • Baronius

    Well, first of all, the tax code is written with deals in mind, so tax breaks aren’t necessarily uncollected money. They’re like the rugs at the Discount Rug Superstore that are always 50% off. Secondly, uncollected revenue isn’t the same as payment. It’s arrogance in the extreme for a government to consider a tax break a loss of revenue. The money doesn’t belong to the government. Thirdly, those kind of estimates are wrong by their nature, because they don’t take into account what the company would do differently if the tax break didn’t exist.

    But even so, accepting a number that’s three times as high as Jeannie’s, corporate welfare would still be only as big as Medicaid. So the statement that “any help from the government for the poor is a mere pittance compared to Government subsidies and kick-backs for the business sector” is still wrong.

  • dharma55

    Baronius, one difference is that government helping the less fortunate is aiding human beings. When the government gives tax breaks to corporations, you’d like to think that benefits the workers but it doesn’t. Many corporations are now outsourcing or moving a lot of their business overseas. And if you don’t think that’s going on, you are living in a dream world. Restoring honor does not apply, apparently, to the people who actually live in the country, especially if they’ve fallen on hard times because obviously they’ve brought in on themselves. What cold, hard hearts people have.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna
  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Baronius,

    I probably will never tell you what you want to hear…I was wrong.

    :D lol

  • Glenn Contrarian

    dharma55 –

    Tithing to the church gets you a ticket to heaven. I don’t believe in buying your way to heaven. I don’t believe that God will be swayed by how much or how little money you can give to an organized religion.

    ‘Tithing’ – or offerings of any type – do not get one into Heaven. Please don’t take any offense to this, but the Catholic church did allow the monetary sale of indulgences (“the remission of the temporal penalty due to forgiven sin, in virtue of the merits of Christ and the saints”) for centuries until such sales were prohibited by Pius V in 1567.

    But I believe that offerings unto God are a duty…and I think you’d agree that they are not some kind of repayment or bribes, but offerings of gratitude to our Lord God.

  • Arch Conservative

    I’m pretty sure that politicians and banksters aren’t god’s favorites examples of the human race that he created.

  • Arch Conservative

    In fact I’m pretty sure that politicians and banksters do the work of an entirely different supernatural kind of guy.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie (and Dharma), I’m going through one of those crises where the internet doesn’t seem worth the hassle. I know that people have different ideological visions, and we’re never going to reach complete agreement, and I know it drives Handy up a wall when I zero in on one small point, but we’ve got to get the facts right. At least that would be a start.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Great comment, Archie!

    :D I’ll say bye to you and all @ BC now. nite

  • Arch Conservative

    Although I’m pretty conservative on most social and fiscal issues I’m not religious in the least. Many people find this hard to grasp.

    Dharma I find your notion of government as salvation much more disturbing than the notion of some supernatural diety as salvation. Due to the fact that the existence of a deity cannot be disproven, nor can it’s actions or inactions, one can claim all kinds of benevolent intentions and motives and never be proven wrong. When you pray to the state as savior there is ample evidence that can be provided that proves government does not have people’s welfare as it’s eminent priority.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The amount certainly varies depending on how you decide to measure it [tax breaks don’t count!!??], but there is a lot of corporate welfare out there. Whether it is less/the same/more than welfare for poor individuals is an “angels dancing on the head of a pin” argument.

    We could do away with a lot of corporate welfare to help balance the budget. If we drastically cut aid to the poor, it would result in human suffering. Comparing “corporate suffering” and human suffering is the real crux of the argument.

    Are you defending corporate welfare? Farm subsidies, tax breaks for enormously profitable oil companies, padded defense contracts?

    There must be some substantial savings in there, as well as some kind of moral imperative.

  • John Wilson

    The vast majority of the $760billion/year Defense budget is corporate welfare.

    Obviously, it doesn’t provide ‘defense’, just look at the 9/11/2001 bombing: no defense evident anywhere.

    All tax policy favors corporations. To begin with, individuals get taxed on (adjusted) gross income, corporations on net income, which means they deduct everything. After all, that’s why we all go out and incorporate our little businesses.

  • Baronius

    Am I defending corporate welfare? It depends what you mean. I don’t support subsidies, price controls, or protectionism. I don’t favor corruption, but duh, that’s so obvious that no adult would be asking that question. I know that every business but the one that’s getting an advantage is getting a disadvantage, and all of them are weighed down by compliance costs. This game of “targeted” tax credits would be risky even if the legislators knew the industies backwards and forwards; without that knowledge, we really have no idea what the consequences of the tax law are.

    But as we’ve talked about before, if you want to balance the budget, you have to go where the money is. That’s the social welfare system.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    And the defense budget.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    Yeah, throw all the old folks out on the street and tell them they can’t have anymore free health care!

    And the single mothers, too!

    And the disabled!

    And the mentally-challenged – they, at least, can find a place in the Tea Party!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    It’s not payments to the poor, but the middle class entitlements — Social Security and Medicare — that will have to be adjusted in some way, as baby boomers retire, to keep us solvent. But big defense cuts would certainly help.

  • dharma55

    Arch, I didn’t say the government provided salvation so don’t lose any sleep over it.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I just found out that if I want a pre-sliced bagel, then I have to pay a tax…tell me, Dave…Do you eat?

    Actually, Jeannie, that’s a state tax and it depends on what state you’re in. Many smart states don’t tax restaurant service or tax it at a lower rate because it’s good for business.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    As for tithing being voluntary, have you ever listened to some of the fundmentalists churches giving their flocks a shake down? Oy!

    To go one step further, membership in a tithing church is also voluntary. I can choose not to join that church. Can I choose not to be part of the taxed states of America?

    Dave

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “I just found out that if I want a pre-sliced bagel, then I have to pay a tax”

    That’s even stranger than the new tax in NY for sliced bagels.

    “Can I choose not to be part of the taxed states of America?”

    You can leave

  • dharma55

    Dave, you could pack your bags and leave this awful country where you’re forced to pay taxes and move to another country where you not only still have to pay taxes, but you get to pay a neat thing called Value Added Tax. If you’ve never had the pleasure of paying this tax in your travels, then look it up, see how widespread it is, and then get back to me to whinge some more about how bad Uncle Sam treats you.

  • dharma55

    Glenn, I haven’t forgotten you and your cash payments of gratitude to the Imaginary Super Being. First of all, I’m quite aware of the history of the Catholic Church and sales of indulgences. Doesn’t the payment of tributes remind you of the pagan practices or early Judaism when a sacrifice had to be made, like making a deal with God? I will go to the temple and buy a dove and sacrifice it to God and he will bless my house for the next week. Isn’t that the way it went? So now, we are not pagans and we don’t sacrifice doves or goats or lambs, but we still take the coins of the realm and offer them up to the temple. We just do away with the messy part.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    dharma55 –

    I pointed out the sale of indulgences because you spoke out against ‘buying one’s way into Heaven’…and there’s more than a few Catholics out there who have never heard of indulgences. I was not going to assume that you knew about them already…but neither was I trying to insult you (as I pointed out). I was trying to inform you. There’s a difference.

    If I were trying to attack you for your religion, there’s much more that I could use – I debated Catholics online (including at least one priest) nearly every day for at least eight years (and we went quite deeply into doctrine, translation, and history) – but such a debate shouldn’t be held in BC Politics.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Handyguy,

    [We could do away with a lot of corporate welfare to help balance the budget. If we drastically cut aid to the poor, it would result in human suffering.
    Comparing “corporate suffering” and human suffering is the real crux of the argument.]

    :D You boiled it down, nicely.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Dave,

    Tax is tax. Also, I was talking about food bought at the grocery store.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    EL,

    That’s the same tax that I mentioned.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Baronius,

    I strongly reject this statement.

    if you want to balance the budget, you have to go where the money is. That’s the social welfare system.

    You want to balance the budget?

    All of our armed forces from all over the world, come home now.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, I don’t care how strongly you reject that statement. That’s the problem: just because you don’t agree with a statement doesn’t mean it’s not true. It doesn’t matter what you or I wish were true about the budget. It matters what is true. We could save some money by limiting our defense budget, but we could save a lot more by limiting our social welfare budget. That’s fact.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Baronius,

    Our government tells us that we have to help defend and protect people all over the world. We have alot of people, right here at home who need help If you want to cry out, “The welfare state!” go ahead.

    :D I’m listening…

  • John Wilson

    Actually, social welfare can’t possibly be as big as defense since defense consumes 55% of the budget. So even if all the rest were social welfare it could be no more than 45%.

    “if you want to balance the budget, you have to go where the money is. That’s the social welfare system.”

    It can hardly be doubted that Defense is corporate welfare since anytime someone tries to cut a useless defense item all the congresscritters come out and say how much it will hurt their district. The defense parasites have this game tuned to a fine point. Thus, bad projects crowd useful projects off the budget, which is why our Iraq troops had bad vehicles.

    One must also look at the net burden of our crazy Health Insurance system, which attempts a Potemkin business using 18% of our GDP, twice what any other country spends.

    Social Welfare is just a small distraction.

  • Baronius

    John, we’ve been over this before. That’s a bogus statistic. Defense accounts for about 20% of the budget.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I love it when Baronius says “we’ve been over this before.” It means it’s settled in his mind, but perhaps not in everyone else’s.

    Wikipedia has a really good article on the US military budget. The DoD budget is 23% of the total budget, but there are non-DoD expenditures too:

    …such as nuclear weapons research, maintenance, cleanup, and production,
    Veterans Affairs,
    payments in pensions to military retirees and widows and their families,
    interest on debt incurred in past wars,
    State Department financing of foreign arms sales and militarily-related development assistance
    Department of Homeland Security,
    counter-terrorism spending by the FBI,
    and intelligence-gathering spending by NASA.

    This brings the total to nearly 30% of the budget — and 40% of tax revenue.

    Robert Gates, among others, supports defense budget cuts. Barney Frank supports a figure of 25% in defense cuts, specifically to save domestic programs.

  • Baronius

    I got the following from Wikipedia.

    FY 2009 Federal Spending Projections:
    Defense 782b
    Social Security 678b
    Medicare/Medicaid 676b
    Other Mandatory 607b
    Other Discretionary 437b
    Interest 187b
    TARP 151b

    3518b

    FY 2009 Federal Receipts:
    Individual Income Tax 915b
    Social Security / Social Insurance 891b
    Corporate Income Taxes 138b
    Other 99b
    Excise Taxes 62b

    2105b

    A couple of things jump out. First of all, you could increase corporate taxes 5X and it still wouldn’t balance the budget. Secondly, you’re not going to get more than a few billion out of education, agriculture, et cetera. Most of the money is in SS/Medicare/Medicaid/Other Mandatory. And lastly, the spending numbers aren’t even close to the receipts.

  • Baronius

    And Handy had to post at the exact same moment I did. Great. I’ll look over his #’s and get back to you.

  • Baronius

    Just offhand calculations: if we go with 30% of the budget as defense, and we cut it by 25%, we’ll still be more than $1,000,000,000,000 short per year.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    As for revenue, you should also look at how much less we’re taking in in taxes thanks to the Great Recession – and that started when?

    Oh – I forgot – it’s all Obama’s fault.

  • dharma55

    Baronius, one thing jumps out at me right away. Take the Social Security Spending of 678b and the Social Security Receipts of 891b and remove those two items totally from your equation. Social Security was meant to be a self-sufficent entity and it appears to be operating at a surplus currently. If the surplus could be “saved” in anticipation of the years when the boomers will cause the outlays to exceeds receipts, then the program might be able to survive. Instead, it has been plundered, as I’m sure is an issue you’ve discussed in the past and already settled in some other argument.

  • Baronius

    Glenn, did I say it was all Obama’s fault? I’m not talking about blame. If you want to, feel free. I’m just giving numbers from the budget.

    You can’t cut $1400B from a $700B defense budget.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    It will definitely take some combination of Defense, Social Security and Medicare restructuring — plus the increased tax revenue of a healthier economy — to balance the budget.

    The health care bill that passed in March does call for extensive cuts in Medicare through squeezing out duplication and inefficiency.

    And the president’s deficit reduction panel is due to make recommendations on Dec 15.

    It’s a start.

  • Clavos

    dharma55 @#57 sez:

    Dave, you could pack your bags and leave this awful country where you’re forced to pay taxes and move to another country where you not only still have to pay taxes, but you get to pay a neat thing called Value Added Tax.

    And to REALLY add insult to injury, you STILL have to pay the effing US government its tribute — even if you reside in another country.

  • dharma55

    He wouldn’t have to pay taxes to the US if he renounced his citizenship and became a citizen of another country.

  • dharma55

    Glenn and Handy, they could look into doing away with Medicare fraud, and I’m not talking about fraud perpetrated by the rank and file, but by the health insurance companies, and other health corporations. In Florida we have a guy running for governor who ran a company that paid a fine of $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud (and that’s what they were able to catch them doing). This guy, Rick Scott, was conveniently parachuted out of HCA before he could be indicted, but now he’s running for governor and there are actually people voting for the guy. I’m sick to death of people bemoaning the government lending a helping hand to those in need while corporations find ways to milk those same programs for their own filthy greed and take far more than anyone else.

  • Clavos

    According to the FBI, Medicare fraud is $60 billion (yes, that’s a B, folks) a year. In Miami-Dade county alone, it’s $2 billion a year.

    The mind boggles at imagining how much fraud Obamacare will generate, as the gummint begins to buy the medical equivalent of $600 hammers.

    Just as they did 5 years ago, when they paid the manufacturer DOUBLE their street price for my wife’s wheelchair, and when I suggested they return it and give me a PO to buy it direct, saving us taxpayers half the cost, the Medicare people said, “Oh, no, we can only buy from our own approved suppliers”…

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    You may have a point in there somewhere, Clavos, but Obamacare is not like Medicare — it will all be administered through private insurance companies, not government reimbursements. There may be room for $600-hammer-type abuses, but it doesn’t seem like a foregone conclusion.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The president seemed very intrigued by Tom Coburn’s idea of sting operations to identify Medicare fraud. I’m not actually sure if this made it into the final bill.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    There is indeed a major effort to identify fraud in the health bill:

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is working to expand its recovery audit contractor program to all of Medicare and to the Medicaid program by the end of the year, although an agency official told Congress in July that CMS faces challenges in getting that done on time.

    RACs are third-party auditors hired by CMS to comb through Medicare claims from hospitals, physicians and others to identify improper payments. A three-year RAC demonstration program that launched in California, Florida and New York in 2005 identified roughly $1 billion in Medicare overpayments, according to CMS.

    A permanent, nationwide RAC program now operates under fee-for-service Medicare, but provisions of the new health system reform law mandate a permanent expansion to Medicare Advantage, the Medicare drug benefit and Medicaid by Dec. 31.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    The only contributions made to the Health Care Reform bill by the GOP was in the form of *policing* the money.

    The *real* fraud was removing the Public option then calling it, Obamacare.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Medicare fraud prevention under Obama’s significantly better than it was before. Why? Because part of one of the acts passed last year was to change from the old “pay first and then chase” system to preventing the fraud before it happens. Read about it here.

    Medicare is a very good system – 2% administrative overhead, far less than ANY private system, remember – and to just give up on it and chuck it to the wayside would be throwing away the baby with the bathwater – because tens of millions of people depend on it (as you well know).

    Instead of going through a monstrous debacle of overhauling Medicare (which would cost many hundreds of billions of dollars), simply FIX the parts that need fixing!

    It’s like choosing between a car that – if fixed up properly for a couple thousand dollars – would work very well, or a brand new car that costs tens of thousands more…and which would cost far more to maintain thanks to the much higher administrative costs of civilian companies.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Jeannie, to be fair, the “public option” was killed by conservative Democrats [and the White House signaling that it was willing to sacrifice that part to get a bill passed].

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Handyguy,

    Yes, the Dinos…We have one *posing* as a Governor right now in NY.

    Obama had high hopes of bipartisanship…when will we all learn. In politics, it doesn’t exist.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Until we have *real* health care with single-payer, keep away from our social security and medicare.

    far far away

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Jeannie, what are you talking about? Gov. Paterson is a very liberal guy.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Handyguy,

    Liberal?

    This state became Republican right after, Spitzer was drummed out.

    Paterson cut 1.4 billion! from education, refuses to tax anyone of *real* means, but instead goes after the Native Americans for state tax on cigarette sales to non-natives; this action will break their treaty, and all hell is going to break loose in two weeks, if the stay is not made permanent.

    :O Nothing he does for this state can be considered, Liberal!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Clavos #79 sez,

    The mind boggles at imagining how much fraud Obamacare will generate, as the gummint begins to buy the medical equivalent of $600 hammers.

    Well, you shouldn’t have been for all that bi-partisan input. Now, you’ll get just what you were willing to pay for, nothing!

  • Clavos

    Medicare is a very good system – 2% administrative overhead, far less than ANY private system…

    One more time. That “2%” figure is a canard. It is a strawman, and is based on apples-to-oranges comparisons.

    As the American Academy of Actuaries, in a report titled Critical Issues in Health Reform: Administrative Expenses notes:

    Medicare does not perform many of the same functions as a typical private insurer.
    Commercial insurance plan costs are often adversely compared to Medicare because of higher administrative costs. However, Medi­care performs very few of the many functions that are performed by a typical commercial insurer, and is not subject to state taxes, li­censes and fees or capital requirements. When making comparisons, we recommend policy­makers consider the following:

    Per capita Medicare claims are two to three times those of commercial plans. Thus Medicare’s administrative expenses will always appear to be lower when stated as a percentage of overall costs.6
    When Medicare costs are quoted, they usu­ally include only amounts paid to outside vendors such as claims administrators. These don’t include any of the “corporate services” types of expenses that exist, but are reflected in the federal budget as the cost of running Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
    Enrollment and billing are handled by the Social Security Administration and are not reflected as costs related to Medicare.
    Medicare does not have to meet the same solvency or capital requirements that com­mercial plans are required to meet.
    Medicare does not negotiate with provid­ers — reimbursement levels are legislated. Therefore, Medicare performs minimal medical management, network management and quality functions as compared to the typical commercial plan.
    Medicare’s controls for fraud and abuse are minimal compared to commercial carriers.
    Medicare incurs minimal marketing ex­penses.
    Medicare is not required to comply with state market conduct requirements appli­cable to insurance companies.­

  • Clavos

    In short, most of Medicare’s administrative expenses are charged to other agencies.

    Anyone can run something “efficiently” if they don’t have to pay their own bills.

    Just sayin’

    I just read this book. I recommend it.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    It’s health care insurance reform not *obamacare.*

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I love the fact that the author of your book is described as a “refugee” from the Canadian health care system. The poor dear thing. [Canada’s system is preferable both to our current one and the Obama plan that’s coming.]

    Why should we believe that a libertarian think tank would tell “the truth about Obamacare”? The Amazon description sounds like completely one-sided partisan rhetoric. Just your speed.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    David Paterson may be many things, but a conservative Republican is not one of them. Our state is going broke, Jeannie, like a lot of other states, and this forces some hard choices. And liberal interest groups in NY will not give an inch without howling. But this is not about “conservative.” It’s about surviving, and not going bankrupt.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Medicare does not perform many of the same functions as a typical private insurer.

    No – but they take care of those whom no private insurer would touch.

    Commercial insurance plan costs are often adversely compared to Medicare because of higher administrative costs. However, Medi­care performs very few of the many functions that are performed by a typical commercial insurer, and is not subject to state taxes, li­censes and fees or capital requirements. When making comparisons, we recommend policy­makers consider the following: Per capita Medicare claims are two to three times those of commercial plans. Thus Medicare’s administrative expenses will always appear to be lower when stated as a percentage of overall costs.

    Why? Because Medicare largely covers the elderly and the disabled – people that private insurers won’t touch!

    When Medicare costs are quoted, they usu­ally include only amounts paid to outside vendors such as claims administrators. These don’t include any of the “corporate services” types of expenses that exist, but are reflected in the federal budget as the cost of running Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
    Enrollment and billing are handled by the Social Security Administration and are not reflected as costs related to Medicare.
    Medicare does not have to meet the same solvency or capital requirements that com­mercial plans are required to meet.

    Because Medicare’s taking care of a largely separate section of the population!

    Medicare does not negotiate with provid­ers — reimbursement levels are legislated.

    And WHY can’t Medicare negotiate? “Medicare Part D”, passed in the Bush administration – and you should read what the Republicans did to get it passed. It’s enlightening! Oh – and guess where you got that ‘donut hole’? Yep! Bush’s Medicare Part D!

    Therefore, Medicare performs minimal medical management, network management and quality functions as compared to the typical commercial plan.

    Yes, Medicare doesn’t say, “No, you didn’t tell us you had acne when you were 15, so we’re not going to pay for it!”

    Medicare’s controls for fraud and abuse are minimal compared to commercial carriers.

    And did the Bush administration – or the Republican-controlled congress for the six years before Dubya – do anything about these ‘minimal controls’? NO. But Obama did…in his very first year in office, and it’s already showing benefits.

    It’s like you saw a place was on fire so you threw up your arms and said, “it’s on fire so we might as well let it burn down so we can build something else”…until Obama comes along and actually DOES something to put the fire out!

    Medicare incurs minimal marketing ex­penses.

    Yeah – and pays tens of millions LESS to its administrator than an HMO pays to its CEO.

    Medicare is not required to comply with state market conduct requirements appli­cable to insurance companies.­

    Why? Because Medicare’s taking care of those that the insurance companies won’t touch!

    Sheesh! You complained about the 2% overhead being ‘apples and oranges’…and yet you don’t see how this blurb is also ‘apples and oranges’ – several times over!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Here’s what the GOP did to ‘fix’ Medicare when they were in charge:

    Under Medicaid, drug companies have to sell prescription drugs to the government at discounted prices. When Medicare Part D was enacted in January 2006, drug companies were no longer obliged to cut rates for their products.

    In the two years Medicare Part D has been in effect, drug manufacturers have taken in $3.7 billion more [IN TAXPAYER DOLLARS] than they would have through prices under the Medicaid program, committee investigators found.

    “The drug companies are making the same drugs. They are being used by the same beneficiaries. Yet because the drugs are being bought through Medicare Part D instead of Medicaid, the prices paid by the taxpayers have ballooned by billions of dollars,” Waxman said.

    He said Bristol-Myers made an additional $400 million from higher prices for a single drug, the stroke medication Plavix.

    $400M extra off the taxpayers for a SINGLE medication. In only TWO years, Clavos!

    This is what the Republicans did for you.

    If Medicare was on fire when Dubya took over, instead of trying to fix it, the GOP just threw more gasoline on it and said – “See? It’s burning down! That’s proof it’s no good!”

    They did NOTHING about Medicare’s fraud epidemic. They complained to the high heavens about it, but they did nothing to FIX it!

    But they sure did allow the drug companies to make billions of dollars off the taxpayer that they wouldn’t have had otherwise! Oh – and the billionaire CEO’s paid a lot less in taxes on the vastly increased income they got off taxpayer money, thanks to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

    Really, Clavos – you’re wanting these guys back in charge?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    handyguy,

    Yes, he is a
    DINO , IMO of course.

    :O No, I don’t smoke.

  • dharma55

    My parents are retired and I can tell you the amount of medical and prescription costs they must pay out-of-pocket have increased tremendously since the Bush Medicare overhall. They are fortunate they can afford to pay the additional $5,000 per month for prescriptions, but how many retired people are not able to absorb these extra costs. For a while they were buying their prescriptions from Canada. To assist in covering the “donut hole” they both received a check in the amount of $25o last year, which they had to claim as income on their tax return. Woopee!

  • John Wilson

    The $60billion medicare fraud number that clavos reports is unsupported and unsubstantiated. It was a WAG by an FBI agent several years ago in the Miami Herald.

    Much fraud is attempted, but there are many systems to detect and document fraud attempts, and frequently big frauds of the order of $100million are detected and prosecuted, but few attempts succeed.

    All federal and state agencies have fraud detection and reporting systems as required by law. In contrast, PRIVATE insurance is unregulated and we have no way to know the extent of private insurance fraud, but it may be immense and explain high rate hikes such as the 40% Anthem hikes.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    handyguy,

    After reading your comment #45, I decided to do a little research on the issues with Governor Paterson.

    :O Although, I still think he has cut funding in the wrong areas, and on many issues important to me he is blank. You were right.

  • Clavos

    Actually, Glenn, who Medicare covers has nothing to do with their falsely low adminstrative “overhead.” It’s because, as the actuaries’ report points out, they employ some very unusual and deceptive (fraudulent even) accounting practices by passing the bulk of their administrative costs off to other agencies. That’s it — no mystery, no “efficiency.” They just don’t pay their own bills — wish I could do that, I wouldn’t have any overhead either.

    Don’t know why you wasted all that time pointing out the failures of the Bushies in controlling Medicare, I’m not partisan on the issue; it’s neither a Republican nor a Democrat failure it’s, for the umpteenth time, a FEDERAL failure — completely non partisan, and is due to the government’s long-demonstrated inability to find its own ass with both hands, much less run anything efficiently.

    Please don’t quote me Henry Waxman’s opinion, Glenn, the guy has no credibility whatever in my book, he ranks right up there with Pelosi and Reid. it’s no coincidence Waxman’s facial features are so porcine, the guy is a swine.

  • Clavos

    Wrong, wilson, the $60 billion figure is substantially more than simply a WAG, although it is an estimate.

    Here are some respectable sources:

    60 Minutes (CBS)

    The Economist

    ABC News Nightline (This report states the federal government admits the fraud is that big)

    The $2 billion annual figure for just this one county in Florida (where I live) is not even an estimate, it’s actual.

  • Zedd

    Clav,

    I’ve given this example before.

    My 80+ year old lovely and youthful mom had day surgery (shoulder). She had a tough time waking up from her anesthesia so she got to spend the night. They tried to bill $32,000. Made up all sorts of charges for breathing treatments (a plastic cup with a straw that she was told to breath through, that she never used). Madness. The government looked at that bill and spotted the BS and paid $3000 and it was all over.

    Moral of the story…. There is already fraud and it is being waged on us who have private insurance. If mom had a private plan, she would have had to pay a 5-10K copay.

  • John Deal

    The self-righteous left while practically breaking their arms patting their own backs pointing out their moral superiority because of their great concern for the less fortunate among us, show their superiority by forcefully taking money from other people to support their great concerns.(That’s because most of them are too damn cheap to back up their sanctimonius words with their own money.)

    And anyone who believes in “God” or “Jesus”is a fool who deserves to be mocked and castigated. Two such people who come to mind are Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King.

  • Clavos

    Nice anecdotal, personal story, Zedd, to which I counter with an equally anecdotal, personal story (with the same lack of relevance to the big picture as yours): the same government agency, Medicare, paid twice as much for my wife’s wheelchair as the manufacturer actually charges for it, and among many other stupidities sent her, a woman who could not walk, a walker — paid for by you and me, the taxpayers. Worse yet, when I brought these things to their attention, they refused to do anything about it — they refused even to rebuke their supplier!

    To top it all off, they themselves (and the administration) say the ripoffs occur because Medicare is a system that operates “on trust.” Well, anyone with any common sense, seeing the magnitude of the ripoffs being perpetrated, would stop trusting!

    But not your government.

  • Zedd

    Clav,

    But you don’t know what they bill insurance companies for it.

    I could walk into a medical supply store and probably pay $15 for the breathing treatment apparatus but we were billed thousands for it.

  • http://unrulymob.blogspot.com/ SadButTrue

    One shouldn’t forget that the founders were concerned with the unrestricted power of wealth as much as that of government. They felt government, properly tempered, to be a cure for commercial despotism, which we call fascism. Jefferson warned that the power of banks was more dangerous than that of standing armies.

  • dharma55

    After the S&L failure I was actually working as an accountant in an S&L and we were regulated by the Office of Thrift Supervision. Once a year a group of about ten auditors came from OTS to spend two weeks going through our loans and deposits, scrutinizing everything. We had about $4 million in dirivatives on the books at the time and we had to complete a special report on just those investments. The documentation and reporting was mind-boggling. The S&L I worked for was always in good shape and later was sold to a commercial bank that plundered it and went – if you will excuse the French – tits up. The commercial bank was not as heavily regulated as we had been. My point being, not always is government regulation a bad thing. Possibly the answer to all the problems we are having is to allow the private sector to handle the business aspect but they must be heavily regulated and subjected to annual audits by government agencies. In addition, there must be a safeguard to prevent bribery of the auditors. Good luck with that. I don’t hold much faith in mankind anymore.

  • George Washington

    This message is for Jean. George Washington had nothing to do with “In God We Trust” being printed on our money. None of the other founding fathers did either. That orginated with Salmon Chase, Secretary of the Treasury during the Civil war. He received many appeals from devout persons throughout the country, urging that the United States recognize the Deity on United States coins. It wasn’t until 1964 that the slogan began to appear on the 1 dollar bill.

  • http://www.wordymouth.com Michael Sommermeyer

    Uh, I’m currently giving quite a bit more than 10% to my country and it’s not a voluntary act! So, while that was a nice pithy end to this piece, it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. What about the baseball player? Didn’t he get some sort of an award. Makes me wonder if you were awake and present. As far as the lunatic in the tree screaming about the impending force of doom, history is full of stories of individuals who cried repentence or predicted the worse and they were mostly ignored. Only later were these “boys who cried wolf” lauded for their prognostications.

  • dharma55

    Michael #111, Huh? Do you receive anything in return for your 10% or more? Let’s see…I’m sure you will deny you receive anything but all you need do is look around you. The Interstate highway system, the air traffic control system, FDA – such as it is (but without it you would be infinitely worse off), FEMA (they get a bad rap but I’ve actually been in a hurricane and benefited from them), the US military – let’s not just focus on what’s happening today but what they’ve also done for us in the past. I don’t know about you, but all of my family came from other countries to the US to find a better life. Some of them came here to escape persecution. There is no one in my family who complains about the US. We are all thankful to be here and we all happily contribute to the upkeep of the nation by either paying taxes and/or volunteering to serve in the armed forces. What we came from was awful and what we have is great. Sure, there is always room for improvement, but people who think they can live in a society without contributing to it in some way just boggle my mind.

  • Palema

    About half of Medicaid is paid by the states, optionally at levels beyond what the feds provided for.
    And guess what? The money is spent on doctors, hospitals and medications. How else could drug companies be so wildly successful if the government wasn’t supporting the purchases?

  • Palema

    @ #92 “Medicare does not perform many of the same functions as a typical private insurer.”
    I don’t think of that as an unfair advantage, but rather a good reason to support more government sponsored health car programs.

  • Clavos

    @#114:

    It’s an “unfair advantage” when comparing Medicare”s overhead to those of private insurers, but that’s not the point. The point is the government IS paying that overhead, just not charging it to Medicare, and then claiming that Medicare’s overhead is lower, which is deceptive.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    How else could drug companies be so wildly successful if the government wasn’t supporting the purchases?

    Uhmm…little to no oversight and regulations…

  • Clavos

    little to no oversight and regulations…

    Oh, puleeeze.

    Everywhere else I travel in the world I can buy my prescription medications over the counter. Our drug industry is OVER regulated.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    I say toemateo! and you say tammatto!

    Oh, when will this tug of words end?

    :D BTW, You left out the AMA, Clavos…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Everywhere else I travel in the world I can buy my prescription medications over the counter. Our drug industry is OVER regulated.”

    Since that’s the case, and evidently it is, the next question is – who insists on the regulations? Certainly the FDA doesn’t have our best interests at heart, doing it from sheer benevolence. So then again, who controls the regulators?

    Big Pharma, of course. For some reason, however, people don’t connect the dots.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    I did!

  • Clavos

    To some degree, you’re right of course, Roger, but that still begs the question of how the pharmas can so control the FDA of the mighty USA, when they can’t do the same in a puny Third World country like Mexico, where bribery and payoffs are the accepted, standard way of doing business with the government?

    I can legally buy every med I take over the counter there — why not here? If it’s because big pharma forces it, how come they couldn’t do the same there, where it’s so much easier to buy government officials?

    No, the difference is power. Here, the government never passes up an opportunity to control the people and their activity, and that’s what’s going on.

    VIOXX. I used to take it for my arthritis, it worked better than any other product. A year or two ago, the government discovers some people died from taking it, and takes it off the market altogether. The percentage of patients who died escpes me at the moment, but it was small, less than 5%. At the time, both my rheumatologist and I agreed that the risk to me specifically was minimal and I (and anyone else) should be able to continue to take it under Dr’s supervision, but that option wasn’t available, it was taken off the market altogether — no options.

    Control.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I thought I was cynical, Clavos, but what you are suggesting is really sinister.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    still begs the question of how the pharmas can so control the FDA of the mighty USA,

    Any *real* power held by the FDA was taken away by the Bush administration.

    Quoted for truth.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Clavos, It’s not easier to buy US officials compared to Mexico.

    Anyway, how could you prove it? What link?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, in that case, Jeannie, the power that was taken away could be reinstated. How come it wasn’t?

  • Clavos

    Clavos, It’s not easier to buy US officials compared to Mexico.

    Exactly my point, Jeannie, nobody’s easier (or cheaper) to buy than the Mexicans, so if the pharmas are controlling the FDA, how come they can’t control their Mexican counterparts? I think the answer is that they aren’t “controlling” the FDA, much as they may like to, and the strongest evidence they aren’t is the whole prescription system, which is much stricter than in other countries, and which constricts their (the pharmas’) sales. They would sell a lot more drugs if people could buy them over the counter, without a script.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The banning of Vioxx does not support your conspiracy theory about big pharma controlling the FDA. The opposite, in fact — why would big pharma want to ban Vioxx?

    When people die from prescription drugs, there is public outcry. Maybe not from “leave me alone” types like Clavos, but from plenty of other people.

    And I am skeptical about this claim that “most” American prescription drugs are available over the counter in other countries. Which other countries? What drugs? Not Europe, I bet.

    Most drugs for things like blood pressure or diabetes, or other things like antibiotics or opiate painkillers, are regulated by prescription worldwide.

    It’s so easy to make up yet another dumb conspiracy theory.

    In addition, the FDA has been severely underfunded for years, causing a backlog of approvals and letting some unnecessary and dangerous drugs [yes, like Vioxx] slip through.

    I am no fan of big pharma, and there has been too cozy a relationship between government and drug companies — but the consequence of that was too little regulation, not too much.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Clavos,

    Remember this?

    “According to a recent analysis by the public interest group Consumer Watchdog, Senator Baucus, the leading architect of health reform in the Congress, has received more campaign contributions from the health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations than any other current Democratic member of the House or Senate.

    According to the report, Senator Baucus received $183,750 from health insurance companies and $229,020 from drug companies in the last two election cycles.” Source

    Big Pharma has more power than the FDA.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Roger,

    I just saw your comment. Beats me is the answer.

    :O I’m turning into a pumpkin now…nite

  • Clavos

    The banning of Vioxx does not support your conspiracy theory about big pharma controlling the FDA

    I don’t have, nor did I allude to a “conspiracy theory about big pharma controlling the FDA.” On the contrary, I’m the one who, in the preceding discussion doesn’t think the pharmas control the FDA; it was the FDA who wanted Vioxx banned, not the pharmas. I argue that the FDA overstepped its bounds in banning it altogether and not allowing us, the little people, to decide for ourselves whether or not we wanted to run the risk of killing ourselves using it.

    And I am skeptical about this claim that “most” American prescription drugs are available over the counter in other countries. Which other countries? Pretty much all the LatAm countries, which is where I do most of my traveling.

    What drugs? All five of the ones I take (I’d rather not say which they are, but all are prescription here, none are in Mexico, Brazil, or Argentina, to name three countries I know for sure.) Not only are they available without a script, thus obviating the need to pay for a doctor visit, they are also considerably cheaper than they are here.

    Among the other drugs i have seen for sale without a script are blood pressure drugs and metformin (for diabetes), as well as GI drugs (nexxium, etc.) and psychotropic drugs.

    Further, I have been told by friends and relatives who live in European countries that the sale of far more drugs is restricted by prescription here than in their home countries.

    As to VIOXX, my physician (a rheumatologist) disagrees with the FDA decision to ban it completely. he says that the risk of serious complications (such as death) is offset by its benefit for certain patients and he is of the opinion that the decision of whether or not to use it is best left up to the patient and physician on a case-by-case basis. I agree.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I actually agree with you about people being able to take Vioxx if they understand the risk. The problem is that some at-risk people would inevitably be given it by doctors, and more people would die, there would be more lawsuits and outrage etc.

    People shouldn’t be treating blood pressure, severe pain, or infections without a doctor’s care. Of course, the people who had heart attacks while on Vioxx were under a doctor’s care.

  • dharma55

    Clavos, the problem is that many medical providers find themselves practicing defensive medicine in an effort to avoid malpractice suits. We have such a litigious society that when a person does harm to themselves they always seek to blame someone else and receive a punitive damage from the other party. A perfect example, IMO, are the tobacco companies. No one is unaware that smoking is bad for them, yet there have been lawsuits against the tobacco companies by smokers who experienced cancer or COPD from their habits. And the tobacco companies were actually found liable. This issued regarding Vioxx, for example: if you and your doctor discuss it and it’s the best medication for you and you are aware of the side-affects, will your family sue the doctor for malpractice later if you suffer a negative outcome (i.e., death)?

  • dharma55

    Clavos, I’m not disagreeing with you. I believe that a doctor and a patient should be able to decide what is the best medication for a condition. My issue is with people who later have selective amnesia and refuse to be accountable for their own decisions.

  • Clavos

    That’s what written agreements are for, Dharma…

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Why isn’t there any mention of kick-backs for the physicians when they over-prescribe medicine to their patients?

    Here is a bold move.

    JD

  • John Wilson

    #103 by Clavos:

    I’m surprised you would offer such weak citations. “60 Minutes” and “Nightine” are just muckraking TV programs designed to attract viewers in order to sell dog food (or whatever) and neither cites a checkable source. Then they recite some smalltime anecdotal fraud attempts. The Economist cites, in turn, the national “Coalition Against Insurance Fraud”, which doesn’t show the estimate , let alone how it was derived.

    That ‘estimate’ of $60billion is just a wild-ass-guess by someone (unknown) sometime (unknown) somewhere (unknown) that is unverifiable. No methodology or base data is given anywhere.

    It’s just an apocryphal figure that gets echoed around in the sensational news system.

    I have zero confidence in anyone that repeats that figure and only has other Believers and echo-chamber members to cite.

  • Clavos


    That ‘estimate’ of $60billion is just a wild-ass-guess by someone (unknown) sometime (unknown) somewhere (unknown) that is unverifiable. No methodology or base data is given anywhere.

    It’s just an apocryphal figure that gets echoed around in the sensational news system.

    I have zero confidence in anyone that repeats that figure and only has other Believers and echo-chamber members to cite.

    As do I in your totally unsubstantiated and unsupported allegation. Interesting how you characterize my citations as “weak,” while offering no substantiation whatever for your own point of view.

  • http://longbeachlostpets.blogspot.com/ Mary Alice

    to 7 – Jean, Aug 31, 2010 at 8:12 am: When was “in God we trust” added to U.S. money? Not in George Washington’s time. And the statement does not specify in which God people trust. Any Christian, according to Jesus, should shun government and money.

    “America needs to turn back to God”? The U.S. Constitution included “separation of church and state” for very good reasons. Freedom to worship or not worship at all is as American as apple pie.

    People like Beck and Palin and those who worship them as later day saints (pun intended) would do well to do as Jesus commanded; such as “judge not lest ye be judged”, “remove the moat from thine own eye…”, “love thy neighbor” (even if neighbor happens to be non-Christian), and especially in Palin’s case: Thou shalt not lie.

  • http://longbeachlostpets.blogspot.com/ Mary Alice

    3 – Dave Nalle
    Aug 31, 2010 at 6:38 am
    “Jeannie, the working class and the lower class don’t pay any taxes”

    Dave, you could have fooled all those working class taxpayers with that statement. Unless someone is working “under the table” they have taxes automatically deducted from their paychecks every week. The very poor pay very little Federal Income Tax; but all pay Social Security taxes, unemployment taxes, utility bill taxes, gas (if they have vehicles) taxes, state and city income taxes, sales taxes, and if lucky to own a home property taxes. Anyone with a telephone pays taxes.

    The top 3% of wealth holders do not need tax breaks. That old saw “trickle down economics” does not trickle down, it just makes the old saw “the rich get richer” hold true.

    Our biggest budget item is military, not social services, which uses only a fraction of those tax dollars to help disabled and other disadvantaged citizens. Which, btw, Jesus would approve of ~ helping the needy.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Mary Alice,

    Your #139, comment is wonderful to read! I think sometimes that no one on earth, or at least at BC, thinks like me.

    :D Keep commenting, and I hope that you found that dog’s owner.

  • dharma55

    Jeannie #135 – It’s strange, but I have one prescription that’s an off-label type drug. It’s meant for one purpose but my doctor prescribed it to add to my regimen. Recently he thought to discontinue it and I stopped taking it (slowly) but then after about a month found I was having problems and when I went back on the drug I was good as new. So, sometimes the off-label drugs do serve a purpose and a doctor who knows what he/she is doing can make a good decision for their patient. But I can tell you an interesting story. My husband is a doctor and often people come in with complaints (colds, etc) and they don’t want to leave without a pill. Well, there is no pill that will cure a cold so to keep people from complaining most providers with write a prescription for one of the many antibiotics that don’t do anything. The patient gets a pill, the pill won’t actually do anything and is harmless, and the doctor doesn’t get bitched at. Amen.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    dharma,

    This may sound like a slogan, but here goes.

    “Attorneys create cases and physicians create patients.” -Leonard Danna

    If this country wasn’t under the gun of, For-Profit health care, we wouldn’t be showered with all of these drugs, unnecessary tests, and unneeded operations.

    Now, I’m not saying that all medicine is bad, not at all. I am saying, however, that we are not meant to be well in this country; that’s just how they make a buck.

    :O Single Payer! a girl can dream…

  • John Wilson

    #137, Clavos doesn’t seem to understand reason, logic and debate when he says:

    “…your totally unsubstantiated and unsupported allegation. Interesting how you characterize my citations as “weak,” while offering no substantiation whatever for your own point of view.”

    I have not asserted that I know what the amount of fraud is. I have not asserted ANY number. Thus, I have no assertion to prove.

    You have claimed $60billion so it is up to you to present plausible and checkable support for your assertion.

    I have NO idea what the actual amount of fraud is, and I haven’t found a reliable source. I read your assertion and followed your citations and found nothing worthwhile. So, I figure your assertion is unproven.

    Anyone can make any WAG and insert it into the brainless echo chamber and watch it make the rounds. Some people will even believe the WAG because they hear it from other victims.

  • Clavos

    Thank you, Wilson, for your opinion.

    I wonder why no one in the FBI is denying the figure, since it has been attributed to them by any number of respected publications?

    Odd.

    Apparently, they haven’t gotten around to consulting with you yet.

  • John Wilson

    And WHO was the FBI agent that guessed $60billion?

    The FBI has no responsibility for denouncing a rumor that is spreading through the MSM, which is notoriously unreliable. But YOU have a responsibility for providing good support for a lurid claim.

    I guess you can’t be trusted.

  • Clavos

    Or, the FBI doesn’t “denounce the rumor” because they know it to be true.

    We’ve not seen any credible evidence from you that the $60 billion figure is not real, just your opinion.

    Your allegations about the MSM’s lack of reliability aren’t evidence.

  • John Wilson

    Clavos’ claim has been pwned.

  • Clavos

    Whatever, Darlin’. It’s not my claim, it’s the FBI’s.

    You talk a great game, but you substantiate nothing; it’s all hot air.

  • John Wilson

    Since Clavos claims that the FBI says the medicare fraud is $60billion, but provides NO FBI citation where the FBI itself provides ANY estimate, I went probing at FBI.GOV and couldn’t find any estimate.

    I did find reports of actual fraud prosecutions, such as this :

    Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven districts have obtained indictments of more than 810 individuals and organizations that collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $1.85 billion

    There are similar reports here:
    Detroit FBI

    Houston FBI

    National

    Nowhere can I find an FBI estimate of total yearly SUCCESSFUL medicare fraud.

    If there’s really as much medicare fraud as some people believe, then there is lots of money to be made by individuals or companies that can uncover the frauds and report it. Here’s a blog you might want to use:

    Medicare Fraud reports

    It looks to me like the authorities are zealous and successful at prosecuting medicare fraud. With the FBI, state fraud agencies (every state is required by law to have a certified medicare fraud department), and whistleblowers eager to collect bounties that Medicare Fraud is a poor career choice for a criminal.

  • taxed 2 much

    where can we sign up for only paying 10% in taxes???

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Join the top 2%, then you wount pay any.

  • taxed 2 much

    “Nowhere can I find an FBI estimate of total yearly SUCCESSFUL medicare fraud.

    STEVE KROFT, CBS:
    (October 25, 2009)
    “In fact, Medicare fraud – estimated now to total about $60 billion a year – has become one of, if not the most profitable crimes in America.”

    Some of the figures Mr. Kroft presented came from the FBI, Justice Departmnent, Eric Holder, etc.

  • John Wilson

    And yet you can’t provide an FBI source for that estimate. All you do is ECHO a TV guys statement, and nobody knows where that comes from.

    It’s easy to reduce your taxes to ZERO: become a hedge fund operator. Yes, you’ll have to pay 15% capital gains tax when you cash in assets, but you never have to if you raise pocket money by getting loans against the assets. Also, you can charge everything off against the fund, even your home and car, if you do it right.

    We have WAY to much preference to capital formation, to the point that we have 40% over-capacity in US capital, the banks are sitting on $1.5trillion they won’t lend/invest, and corporations are sitting on $1.5 trillion in savings they won’t invest, let alone proceeds from retained earnings being given out as executive bonuses instead of being plowed back into the companies.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    This back and forth about Medicare fraud proves nothing except that the two of you are very stubborn.

    In case either of you are interested in harder facts:

    Politifact did a pretty convincing analysis of Tom Coburn’s claim that 20%, or over $80 billion a year, of Medicare claims were fraudulent. They called it “half true,” because most experts agree there are no definitive measurements of Medicare fraud, but there is nevertheless some strong anecdotal evidence.