February 1st, 2013

Miscellany: unemployment up…

…but that’s actually good, according to Alan B. Krueger, the White House Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Or something like that.

And then there’s the news that, under Obamacare, the “bronze” plan for a family would cost about $20K in 2016. And the penalty for not buying it would be $2,400.

Not a surprise. Looking at these figures, it seems to me that people who don’t already have high medical expenses would of course choose to pay the penalty and wait till they get sick to get insurance, when insurers can’t refuse to cover them, and that the whole thing is part of the plan to drive private insurers out and go to single payer.

Hate to be the bearer of more sad tidings, but Scott Brown isn’t going to be running in Massachusetts to fill Kerry’s seat:

“I was not at all certain that a third Senate campaign in less than four years, and the prospect of returning to a Congress even more partisan than the one I left, was really the best way for me to continue in public service at this time,” Brown said in a statement. “And I know it’s not the only way for me to advance the ideals and causes that matter most to me.”

Sounds like he got bored with the Senate. That’s really bad news, but the Republican Party has been getting almost nothing but bad news lately. Thinking about Brown, it occurs to me that his original impetus to run was to block the health care reform bill, and he must be feeling pretty discouraged about the changes of doing anything like that anymore. That’s no excuse for giving up, although it’s understandable.

Let’s see, what else? I haven’t yet covered Hagel’s abominable performance (once again, no surprise whatsoever) in his recent Senate appearance, but if you’ve been keeping up you will have noted that even some Democrats may be wondering just how very stupid this guy is, and how obvious that fact is, and how it might make them look to continue to support him.

And yet I am most definitely with Chris Cillizza when he says that Hagel will be confirmed. And that is because, as I’ve written before, Hagel is exactly and precisely what Obama wants.

Obama does not want smart people serving him, and he does not want knowledgeable people, either. He wants (a) people who agree with him on policy, and Hagel’s shockingly stupid and destructive policy preferences are quite in line with Obama’s own; and (b) people who will do his bidding as a good lackey should, and that’s Hagel, too.

What’s more, Obama doesn’t care much about how stupid Hagel looks here. Obama is not running for office. He know the Democrats in Congress will rubber stamp whatever he wants. He knows the Republicans have been neutered (or have neutered themselves; same difference). And he knows that not many Americans are paying close attention to Hagel’s answers in the hearings. So, in the immortal words of Hillary Clinton, what difference does it make if Hagel’s answers were a disgrace?

20 Responses to “Miscellany: unemployment up…”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    Ah, another ray of sunshine on a cloudy day!

  2. nora Says:

    I think that you have a misspelling or mis-typing…
    The Obamacare plan will cost $20K and the penalty is $2400 (not $2400K)…

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    nora: yes, a typo. Thanks, will fix.

    Although $2,400K would be quite an effective penalty.

  4. holmes Says:

    But, here in Texas, it’s a sunny weekend in the low 70’s with clear skies. I now understand why Californians haven’t revolted- they’re too pacified by the nice weather.

  5. Mr. Frank Says:

    Justice John Roberts said the “tax” for not participating in ACA was small enough that it would not coerce free choice. $2400 seems a heavy penalty to me. I guess that seems OK compared to $20,000 for insurance.

  6. Ray Says:

    Obamacare is another great success like Tenncare and Romneycare. Tenncare was the Tennessee version of Hillarycare. In the first year, 1995, it cost 2.5 billion dollars and in 2004 the cost had increased to 8 billion dollars. Tenncare was the largest line item in the Tennessee budget and was well on the way to bankrupting the state. It had to be drasticalyl cut back.

  7. Mary Beth Says:

    I think Scottie was tired of the wall-to-wall campaigning. And if he lost another election, he would be toast politically. Not easy for Repubs to win anything in Mass, although we do elect Repub governors from time to time. So maybe he runs for governor in 4 years, or sooner if Obama taps Deval Patrick. We can only hope!

  8. southpaw Says:

    Scott the moderate says:
    “and the prospect of returning to a Congress even more partisan than the one I left, was really the best way for me to continue in public service at this time,” Brown said in a statement. “And I know it’s not the only way for me to advance the ideals and causes that matter most to me.”

    2 things caught my attention in this statement
    1. Partisanship bothers him. Really? what is he doing in politics? This kind of naive idealistic attitude about representation seems to be fashionable these days, but it hardly prepares you to be an advocate for the folks who think you’re on their side. The statement implies he believes that legislatures elected by people with opposing opinions, who themselves have strongly different opinions, are all going to hold hands and throw those things aside and be one big, happy, bunch of do- gooders. He needs to get a grip. translation:”if you dont want to share your toys, I’ll take my dollies and go home!”
    That got his ass kicked by a strongly left leaning loon. I know Massachusetts is a different animal, but middle of the road isn’t necessarily all the republicans insist it is. In my opinion, that’s where the party wants to be, but not necessarily where the people who vote for them want them to be.
    2. “And I know it’s not the only way for me to advance the ideals and causes that matter most to me.”
    Advancing HIS causes are what motivates him to public service . That says a lot about him and the reason he failed. The general idea is to advance the causes that matter to your constituency, or the majority that sent you to office, not necessarily yours.
    What does he stand for anyway? Seemed like a nice guy and a family man, level headed and all that. but he let down conservatives, and i would guess the far left at times too, and the moderates weren’t there to save his butt. So other than being an equal opportunity disappointer, what was his legacy?

  9. Paul in Boston Says:

    It was a rational decision by Scott Brown not to run. In their arrogance of thinking that they had a mortal lock on all offices in MA, the Democrats were blindsided by his win over Coakley. You can be damned sure they won’t let it happen again, no matter how unappealing the candidate they run, e.g., Elizabeth Warren. At least Deval had the good sense to stuff Barney Frank and appoint some else to warm the seat until the election.

  10. James Says:

    The Administrations’ newest economic slogan from the immortal Mr. Berra “We may be lost, but we’re making good time!”

  11. Don Carlos Says:

    Scott Brown is a perfect symbol for the malady of our times. He was a thin reed in the Senate, a classic RINO. MA deserves Warren, but the rest of us do not.

  12. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    A wee comment on the confirmation hearings of Hagel and Kerry. Methinks Kerry’s questioning could have been just as hard-nosed as was Hagel’s. Kerry is a big bag of wind, but was given a pass by all but a couple of the R Senators. Why? IMO, he’s just as incompetent as Hagel and could have been shown as such. Yet they treated him with kid gloves. It leaves a bitter taste. Are McCain, Graham, and others as hypocritical as this makes them look? It calls into question the whole damned process.

    I commented before on Hagel that he had no major management experience that qualified him to run DOD. His perfomance really showed that, but also made it appear that he can’t even string two coherent thoughts together. (Somewhere in Nebraska a village is missing its idiot?) I’m probably the worst public speaker one could imagine, but Hagel’s performance made me feel positively Churchillian.

    Anyhoo, a bizarre and dispiriting perfomance by an august body that is supposed to be serious in its deliberations. I guess it shouldn’t surprise. But it does.

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    J. J.: I wrote here that I was disappointed only three senators voted against Kerry. I agree with you that the questioning of Kerry could have been far, far, harder than it was, as well.

    I think the difference may be that they think they have a chance of getting Hagel replaced, whereas they didn’t think they had any chance re Kerry. Another thing (something I read in a comment on another blog; mostly a joke but perhaps a tiny bit serious) is that they were especially eager to finally get Kerry out of the Senate. If he doesn’t get the job in the end, he remains a senator, and then they have to listen to him. With Hagel, he’s out of their hair already.

  14. beverly Says:

    Well, we now have a treasonous gasbag, the world’s most expensive gigolo [twice!] as secretary of state: a worthy successor to Thomas Jefferson?

    holy fertilizer

    also, wikipedia already has a hagiographic portrait of said d-bag on its secretary of state page.

    And now Chuckles Hagel as the secretary of defense: what could possibly be next?

    I know! Barry O. will appoint a HORSE to take Kerry’s seat in the Senate — and the august body will accept it tamely. Hell, outside of the improvements, they’ll never know the difference.

    We are so screwed.

  15. Artfldgr Says:

    the health care thing being ad is just sinking in on the left
    but they have not yet caught on that the process was to remove health insurance as a regular part of what a corporation (large) provides… healthcare became a way to get better employees, till everyone did it, then everyone was kind of obligated to as the best employees would not go there. now how do you get these large companies back to their old progressive fascist ways of not providing insurance?

    have the state provide it…

    the companies are adapting to that…
    for instance. adjunct professors who had health care are losing it in huge numbers now as their hours are being cut to 1 hour below the requirement. not only that, but with so many degrees chasing adjunct positions salaries are down and there is no shortage to make up the disparity of cutting hours with an extra warm body that also doesn’t get healthcare

    they have yet to figure out that the size of the very thing belays the concept of not knowing

  16. Don Carlos Says:

    Way to go, beverly!!

  17. Mr. Frank Says:

    Kerry looks a lot like a horse.

  18. Rick Caird Says:

    I know the Democrats thought that ObamaCare was a path to single payer, but I doubt that will happen. ObamaCare already polls poorly and that is before things like reduced hours, layoffs due to the 2.3% tax on the gross revenues of medical device companies, the rapidly escalating cost of health insurance, and all the ins and outs of the contraceptive mandate. The whole of ObamaCare is a mess and there is something for everybody to hate. How about a 50% penalty on low income smokers? Think that might add to the discontent? The, thee is also the problem with the state exchanges and the inability to subsidize people in states without state exchanges.

    The problem the Democrats have is that ObamaCare will collapse. It has to. And, then the only thing they can do is reopen it for “fixing” even if that fix is single payer. But, a more likely “fix” if it is reopened is repeal, so they are afraid to do that. Remember, there was not a single Republican vote for it and many of the problems will become visible to even the low information voter in 2014 as we run up to those elections. ObamaCare may well end up being the gift that keeps on giving to the Republicans.

  19. Rick Caird Says:

    Oh, one other thing on ObamaCare. There seems to be no enforcement mechanism for failure to pay the $2400 penalty except the IRS can take it out of your refund. So, if you withhold correctly, even that will not be possible.

  20. Ymarsakar Says:

    “So, in the immortal words of Hillary Clinton, what difference does it make if Hagel’s answers were a disgrace?”

    It makes the job of those of us who believe civil war is inevitable in the US, a lot easier. When the civilian population no longer believe in their own system nor believe that politics is the answer to their problems, they will be far more amenable to other, more practical, solutions.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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