Christmas greetings from Krugman and Schiff

By mw | Related entries in Budget, Business, Economy, health care reform, Liberalism, Libertarian, Money

Paul Krugman offers “Tidings of Comfort” in the New York Times:

“…Tiny Tim, is sick. And his treatment will cost far more than his parents can pay out of pocket. Fortunately, our story is set in 2014, and the Cratchits have health insurance… reform legislation enacted in 2010 banned insurance discrimination on the basis of medical history and also created a system of subsidies to help families pay for coverage.”

Fortunate indeed that Tiny Tim did not get sick in 2010-13 before the benefits kick in. Also fortunate – Krugman did not choose to use as an example the children of those who will lose their jobs as a consequence of the massive additional tax burden thrown on the back of the economy to pay for this bill. A tax burden that kicks in years before benefits are seen by Tiny Tim or his family.

Paul also joins the chorus for changing the rules in the Senate:

“But given the way the Senate rules work, it takes 60 votes to do almost anything. And that fact, combined with total Republican opposition, has placed sharp limits on what can be enacted. If progressives want more, they’ll have to make changing those Senate rules a priority.”

Like Rachel Maddow and Ezra Klein, Krugman is hell bent on making it much easier for the probable Republican majority in 2013-2016 to undo this bill than it was for the Democratic majority in 2009-10 to pass it. Ho Ho Ho.

While Krugman is brimming with good tidings and bubbling over with holiday cheer, from the other side of the political spectrum Peter Schiff is offering a dour double dose of “Bah Humbug.”:




Just because he was right in 2006-07 about the financial crash, and he was right in 2008 about the collapsing dollar and rising gold prices, it doesn’t necessarily mean he will be right in 2009. Does it?



Note to Peter:
I think your analysis is clear, cogent and correct. I even sent you a contribution for your Senate campaign. I’d love to see you be a libertarian voice in the Senate much like Ron Paul is the libertarian conscience of the House…

but…

If you want to be the Senator from Connecticut, you are going to have to come across as something other than a humorless prophet of doom. You need to find a way to temper your message with at least a hint of optimism and – dare I say it? – “Hope”. As an example – Ron Paul’s media friendly phrase – “Freedom is popular.” Just saying…

You can’t get elected if all your supporters are suicidal.

Cross posted from “Divided We Stand United We Fall”


This entry was posted on Friday, December 25th, 2009 and is filed under Budget, Business, Economy, health care reform, Liberalism, Libertarian, Money. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

19 Responses to “Christmas greetings from Krugman and Schiff”

  1. Justin Gardner Says:

    Fortunate indeed that Tiny Tim did not get sick in 2010-13 before the benefits kick in. Also fortunate – Krugman did not choose to use as an example the children of those who will lose their jobs as a consequence of the massive additional tax burden thrown on the back of the economy to pay for this bill. A tax burden that kicks in years before benefits are seen by Tiny Tim or his family.

    So you’re criticizing the fact that the bill is rolling out in a responsible, measured manner?

    Also, only people who make over $200K are being taxed. So how you can claim a huge number of people will lose their jobs is extremely speculative.

  2. mw Says:

    @Justin

    I am commenting on Krugman’s piece.

    I have not yet begun to criticize this bill. Stay tuned.

    Claiming the taxes in this bill will only affect $200k+ income earners is highly speculative. How many $200K+ workers do you find in the tanning booth business? Do you think only $200K+ workers have “cadillac” plans? The primary problem is the tax burden increasing on employers not just $200K+ plus wage earners. The real question is how can you possibly assert that $400B in new taxes will not affect employment?

    Individual Mandate Tax (Page 324/Sec. 1501/$15 bil/Jan 2014)
    Employer Mandate Tax (Page 348/Sec. 1513/$28 bil/Jan 2014)
    Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans (Page 1979/Sec. 9001/$149.1 bil/Jan 2011)
    Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 (Page 1996/Sec. 9002/Min$/Jan 2011)
    Medicine Cabinet Tax (Page 1997/Sec. 9003/$5 bil/Jan 2011)
    HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike (Page 1998/Sec. 9004/$1.3 bil/Jan 2011)
    FSA Cap (Page 1999/Sec. 9005/$13.3 bil/Jan 2011
    Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting (Page 1999/Sec. 9006/$17.1 bil/Jan 2012)
    Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (page 2001/Sec. 9007/Min$/immediate
    Tax on Innovator Drug Companies (Page 2010/Sec. 9008/ $22.2 bil/Jan 2010)
    Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers (Page 2020/Sec. 9009/$19.2 bil/Jan 2010)
    Tax on Health Insurers (Page 2026/Sec. 9010/$59.6 bil/Jan 2011)
    Eliminate tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D (Page 2034/Sec. 9012/$5.4 bil/Jan 2011)
    Raise “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI (Page 2034/Sec. 9013/$15.2 bil/Jan 2013)
    $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives (Page 2035/Sec. 9014/$0.6 bil/Jan 2013)
    Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax (Page 2040/Sec. 9015/$86.8 bil/Jan 2013)
    Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike (Page 2044/Sec. 9016/$0.4 bil/Jan 2010)
    STRICKEN: Tax on Cosmetic Medical Procedures (Page 2045/Sec. 9017/$5.8 bil/Jan 2010)
    REPLACED BY: Tax on Indoor Tanning Services (Page 373 of Manager’s amendment/$2.7 billion/July 1, 2010)

  3. Terry Says:

    @mw. Copy and paste from mass emails/right wing ATR talking points isn’t really a big seller. I buy their snake oil on health care as much as I bought their snake oil on the invasion of Iraq and we know how that went. Or No Child Left Behind… great name on the PR front, though…

    Is your concern that a republican administration ran up our federal deficit so high in the past 8 years you’re feeling a bit waterlogged? The Bush administration added what – $4.8 TRILLION dollars to our deficient? Where were your comments then? And btw – what do we have to show for it?

  4. mw Says:

    @Terry
    These were my comments then.

    And I’d like to thank you for articulating the single most intellectually bankrupt argument of the Obama apologists. I call this the “Bush committed a venal sin, so it is ok for Obama to commit a mortal sin.” argument. If you thought Bush was wrong on spending and deficits (and I do), then you must appreciate that Obama is far far worse by any measure.

    Let us try another analogy. If Bush broke the law by driving 70 in a 55, Obama is guilty of reckless endangerment driving at 174 mph. Both bad, but there is a difference.

  5. Doomed Says:

    4.8 trillion was an egregious example of what NOT to do. Bad Bush.

    Fast forward.

    Cheer up. The democrats have not legalized 12 million more POOR PEOPLE to add to the rolls. These 12 million were not taken into account by the CBO.

    We can now be thankful that this legislation also does not take into account how many more poor people the Democrats can create over the next 20-30-40 years.

    The more poor people you create…the less rich people are left to tax.

    The Democrats are NOT friends to the poor. The poor exist to give relevance to the Democrats. Without poverty the Democrats have little to no reason to exist as a major party unless you can make a case for some of their social issues are show stoppers for 40-50 percent of America.

    When this health care bill is fully in place and the poor people now have free medical care guess what?

    The Poor will still be poor.

    When the poor kids are bused across town and when they return home they are still poor.

    When food stamps are handed out…the poor are still poor.

    When they move into that beat up, run down apartment in the projects they are still poor.

    When the rich are taxed out the ying yang to pay for social works.

    The POOR ARE STILL POOR.

    Perhaps one day the POOR people will realize that the Democrats are NOT their friends. Their EVERY policy is designed to keep the poor in perpetual poverty.

    And when its all done and said with….The Democrats are the Champions of the poor and the GOP are perpetual haters of the poor by protesting the constant and incessant policies of the Democrats to keep the Poor in perpetual poverty.

    Because when the poor are no longer poor they are no longer beholden to the system that is designed by left and right to keep them poor.

    When will the people of this great nation wake up and realize that its much better to give the poor hope…then it is food stamps.

    There was no doubt REFORM was needed but this….this is a joke.

  6. Jim S Says:

    The posts from mw and Doomed show the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the modern American conservative. Their rhetoric and actions are basically limited to how evil government is and how good the wealthy are. They derive from these beliefs the “knowledge” that liberals are only going to tax the good, decent capitalists of America into extinction, destroying the hundreds of millions of good jobs they create that makes certain everyone in America has a chance at full employment with insurance that they can afford.

    Of course none of these facts that they have at their fingertips bear any resemblance to the real world. Don’t worry. It won’t stop them from claiming it’s true no matter what facts might get in the way.

  7. michael reynolds Says:

    I call this the “Bush committed a venal sin, so it is ok for Obama to commit a mortal sin.”

    Oh, is that what you call it? I call it the “selective outrage” argument.

    Or maybe the “The GOP pooped on the floor and is outraged by what we have to spend on Lysol” argument.

    Shall we assume you’re equally exercised over the money we’ll have to spend disengaging from Iraq and rushing troops to Afghanistan to slow the disaster Mr. Bush left us? Because I can’t quite recall you yelling quite as much about those dollars.

  8. mw Says:

    “The GOP pooped on the floor and is outraged by what we have to spend on Lysol” argument. – MR

    Hmm. Somewhat distasteful, and not the metaphor that I would choose, but – hey – you are the writer, so lets go with it.

    The correct use of that metaphor in this context would be more like this:

    The GOP pooped on the floor. The Democrats walk in, point at the mess and proceed to dump four time the load with four times the fragrance, shrug their collective shoulders and say “Hey – they did first.”

    And if anyone wants to continue to extend this metaphor, you’ll be doing it without me.

  9. kranky kritter Says:

    I agree with both sides that the other side is relying on intellectually bankrupt arguments. Because all each side wants to do is insult the other and defend their side at any cost. What a colossal waste of time and energy.

    Meanwhile, for the sane: The last Bush and first Obama budgets were comparably grotesque in the scope of their overspending. Whether any of us likes it or not, Obama and congress will have little choice but to begin to wind down this overspending to much lower levels within the next couple of budget cycles. Foreign investors will not continue to buy our debt while we collect 3 dollars and spend 4 or 5. Not without us offering substantially higher interest rates, which will devalue the dollar even more and bring very unpleasant levels of inflation.

    Peter Schiff understands this, and that’s why we should pay attention to what he has to say regardless of whose team he is on. In these clips, I am struck by the stark contrast in how Schiff is treated now compared to how he was treated by other talking heads when he was correctly predicting the financial meltdown our country experienced. Then he was laughed at and ridiculed and met with blithe counter-predictions based on nothing but bullshit and uneducated hope.
    Now? Deference and mostly silence.

    I consider anyone who doesn’t get this (about our federal government’s current rates of overspending) to be innumerate, which is to math what the term illiterate is to reading and writing. So many people who cheerfully acknowledge their lack of understanding of math and very basic economics nevertheless feel entitled to their opinion about whether or not the government can keep overspending like it has with the last couple of budgets. Even more than claiming their entitlement to such opinions, they go so far as to have real faith in their uneducated opinions.

    This is the raising of the practice of rational ignorance to a high art of true idiocy. Go ahead, folks, assure yourself that it will all be just fine. America can just keep borrowing and spending while other nations produce and save while consuming at lower and more sustainable rates.

    The new normal for America is to some extent already here. It’s still up to us how unpleasant it will be. But as a debtor nation whose debt continues to explode, we run the saerious risk of being unable to pay the piper. And if you can’t pay the piper, you don’t get to call the tune. America has called the tune since WWII, so we’ve all grown up to believe that it’s the American birthright to keep calling the tune.

    It’s clear to me that almost no one in this country will believe that a fundamental shift in this dynamic is underway until the shift is complete and the results are too obvious for everyone to ignore. And that’s a shame.

  10. kranky kritter Says:

    Well, I agree with both sides that the other side is relying on intellectually bankrupt arguments. Because all each side wants to do is insult the other and defend their side at any cost. What a colossal waste of time and energy.

    Meanwhile, for the sane: The last Bush and first Obama budgets were comparably grotesque in the scope of their overspending. Whether any of us likes it or not, Obama and congress will have little choice but to begin to wind down this overspending to much lower levels within the next couple of budget cycles. Foreign investors will not continue to buy our debt while we collect 3 dollars and spend 4 or 5. Not without us offering substantially higher interest rates, which will devalue the dollar even more and bring very unpleasant levels of inflation.

    Peter Schiff understands this, and that’s why we should pay attention to what he has to say regardless of whose team he is on. In these clips, I am struck by the stark contrast in how Schiff is treated now compared to how he was treated by other talking heads when he was correctly predicting the financial meltdown our country experienced. Then he was laughed at and ridiculed and met with blithe counter-predictions based on nothing but bullshit and uneducated hope.
    Now? Deference and mostly silence.

    I consider anyone who doesn’t get this (about our federal government’s current rates of overspending) to be innumerate, which is to math what the term illiterate is to reading and writing. So many people who cheerfully acknowledge their lack of understanding of math and very basic economics nevertheless feel entitled to their opinion about whether or not the government can keep overspending like it has with the last couple of budgets. Even more than claiming their entitlement to such opinions, they go so far as to have real faith in their uneducated opinions.

    This is the raising of the practice of rational ignorance to a high art of true idiocy. Go ahead, folks, assure yourself that it will all be just fine. America can just keep borrowing and spending while other nations produce and save while consuming at lower and more sustainable rates.

    The new normal for America is to some extent already here. It’s still up to us how unpleasant it will be. But as a debtor nation whose debt continues to explode, we run the saerious risk of being unable to pay the piper. And if you can’t pay the piper, you don’t get to call the tune. America has called the tune since WWII, so we’ve all grown up to believe that it’s the American birthright to keep calling the tune.

    It’s clear to me that almost no one in this country will believe that a fundamental shift in this dynamic is underway until the shift is complete and the results are too obvious for everyone to ignore. And that’s a shame.

  11. Doomed Says:

    Jim S

    Im always up for a good debate on just exactly what the Democrats have really done to help the poor.

    Social security?

    Welfare?

    Medicaide?

    Raising the minimum wage?

    Busing?

    I mean name me a program that actually lifts the poor OUT of poverty rather than simply makes poverty comfortable.

    No where in my post did I claim the GOP is the friend to the poor. I simply pointed out that the Democrats have created the POOR class in response to the Republicans who have created the upper class.

    Now the question becomes. Is that true? As much as the GOP seem to hate and despise the POOR the Democrats seem to hate and despise the Rich.

    Fair enough.

    So again I ask. If the GOP are for the Rich what have they done to make the rich……..richer? Alot you say………there you go.

    So again I ask….if the Democrats love the poor…what have they done to help the poor out of poverty?

    Chirp…chirp…chirp.

    Democrats are in fact perpetual purveyors of poverty. If they eliminate poverty there is no useful purpose for the Democratic party. AS for the GOP if they make rich people their are always more people to make rich.

    Its sort of a hard pill for Democrats to swallow what with their constant adoration at their own feats of social justice but in the end the one thing that really matters for all people is empowerment to be their own entity.

    Poverty denies them the basic rights of American citizens promised by the constitution……life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    The Democrats have done nothing to alleviate poverty…they only make poverty more comfortable.

    In short they have done NOTHING for their constituents. While the GOP whose goal is to reward the rich have done an admirable job.

    Now if I can just convince the GOP that its in their best interests to create pathways to empower the poor and raise them up and out of poverty and make them a part of the system rather then beholden to the system we can prove to the left what the right already knows.

    You make your own happiness. No one can make it for you.

  12. Nick Benjamin Says:

    @Doomed
    You think Social Security keeps people poor?

    The more you post the more you convince me you’re a far-left wacko out to discredit the conservative movement.

  13. blackout Says:

    I’m reserving judgment on the Bush spent this vs. Obama is spending this argument until we see what Obama is getting for his buck. It’s extremely difficult to argue that Bush’s spending on wars has yielded much of value. The closest he came to anything that Obama is purchasing was the Medicare drug expansion.

    As for Schiff, I remember well how ridiculed he was by the financial punditocracy on the cable outlets. Anyone want to lay money as to how many of those ridiculing him were self-identified Repubs?

  14. Jim S Says:

    Social programs are not a way to end poverty. Neither is capitalism. Social programs are the equivalent of over the counter medication for a socio-economic condition that inevitably accompanies capitalism, for all the good that it does for many. Capitalism will inevitably be accompanied by varying degrees of economic inequity. Social programs are meant as a safety net, something that addresses the symptoms rather than being a cure for the condition. I tend to doubt that any system ever used has within it the ability to “cure” poverty.

    To claim that Democrats created an economic class that existed before this country did, much less the Democratic Party, shows a level of complete ignorance that is almost certainly incurable because it is an ignorance that is loved by a certain class of hyper-ideologue. They don’t recognize the level of ignorance betrayed by such blatantly false statements and therefore cannot address their condition.

  15. Jim S Says:

    As far as the claim that Republicans do better at alleviating poverty…

    http://democraticshortlist.com/compare.htm

    http://www.dailyyonder.com/poverty-rate-jumps-rural-america/2009/11/23/2466

    http://articles.latimes.com/2009/sep/11/business/fi-census-poverty11

  16. Doomed Says:

    No I never said the GOP does better at alleviating poverty.

    Nick you never want to debate you only want to call me a whacko for challenging your beliefs.

    And no I do not nor did I say that social security keeps people poor. If they are poor when they start receiving it they are poor while they receive it and most likely they will be poor when they die.

    No where did I say these are bad programs. I simply said they are designed to keep the poor in perpetual poverty. NOT END POVERTY.

    IF we pass health care for all poor people. Are they no longer poor?

    We give poor people food stamps………Are the poor no longer poor?

    We give them housing……………………Are the poor no longer poor.

    We bus them to better schools but when they return home that after noon are they no longer poor?

    Medicaide? Schip? Name me any program designed to HELP the poor to GET OUT OF POVERTY. Any program?

    They literally do not exist. These nice things the democrats always do for the poor that cost us more and more and more tax dollars does NOTHING about ending poverty……it only makes it comfortable to BE POOR.

    I never claimed the democrats CREATED POVERTY……I said they USE POVERTY TO maintain their RELEVANCE.

    The problem with the Democratic party is they never want to challenge their own short commings and the problem with the GOP is they never want to take advantage of those short commings.

    If the GOP is to continue to be relevant they are going to have to address the disparity of races in their party. The perfect opening is to go after poverty and to try and fix it. To raise people out of the depths of dispair.

    I challenge Democrats to challenge their own beliefs. Only because I know the GOP is too stupid to do anything about racial imbalances in membership and thus if the poor are ever truly going to be lifted out of poverty it will likely be the Democrats and not the GOP.

  17. Nick Benjamin Says:

    @Doomed
    When somebody nails you on a stupid statement there are two smart strategies. One you can ignore them, two you can say”my bad.” Your claim that Social Security does not help the poor was simply absurd on it’s face. So I pointed that out. Rather than admit you were wrong, or attempt to end that element of the debate, you claim to be the victim of an unjustified attack.

    If you’d ignored it I would have ignored your entire response because I am too damn lazy to get involved in threads that involve long posts. But you didn’t. You defended yourself. Which means I can spend 30 seconds proving that your stupid statement on Social Security was, in fact, extremely stupid.

    BTW, it should be noted that Doomed is attempting a switch his argument. His original claim:

    Im always up for a good debate on just exactly what the Democrats have really done to help the poor.

    Since that post he has switched to:

    And no I do not nor did I say that social security keeps people poor. If they are poor when they start receiving it they are poor while they receive it and most likely they will be poor when they die.

  18. Jim S Says:

    In his last post Doomed says

    I never claimed the democrats CREATED POVERTY……I said they USE POVERTY TO maintain their RELEVANCE.

    But what did he say in the post before that? Emphasis mine.

    I simply pointed out that the Democrats have created the POOR class in response to the Republicans who have created the upper class.

    The Republicans, when it comes to the poor, be they the unemployed or the working poor have the same response. The magic of the market will take care of it, or lacking that, the private charities that they so willingly donate to will take up the slack that the market fails to help. Pointing out to them that the private charities are stressed to the breaking point in this recession (and have reached that point even in the recent recessions that weren’t as bad) and that they are still not capable of helping all who need it just gets a blank stare or its verbal equivalent. As I said, capitalism produces instability and inequality. We have yet to find anything except the resources of a large and active government that is capable of ameliorating the suffering that this fact causes. This is true no matter how many times conservatives/Republicans claim it isn’t so.

  19. Donklephant » Blog Archive » A Happy New Year message from Peter Schiff: The value of your house is still 20% too high. Says:

    […] holiday forecasts have become a regular feature on this blog. As long as his prognostications prove to be more right […]

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