Tuesday, August 27, 2013
This morning was one of the few times when I have ever agreed with Joe Scarborough, but I approved when he said that the non- crazy wing of the Republican Party is starting to realize that the wing nuts of their party have lost all sense of reality. It’s one thing to argue about economics’; it’s another thing to rally around shutting down the government over an obsession to defund Obamacare. I could hardly believe my ears when I heard Senator Ted Cruz tell CNN’s Candy Crowley that President Obama would agree to defund Obamacare under the right conditions. Joe Scarborough laughed hysterically when conservative/ libertarian Senator Jeff Flake responded to an ad that was running against him because he refused to defund Obamacare. Senator Flake responded with a simple tweet “oh, whatever.”
I’ve got to remember to tell myself “oh, whatever” when I see a post stating that hospitals don’t make a huge profit and that the insurance companies and the government are the reason for the high cost of health care. Last night, Chris Hayes said a bag of saline, including the ingredients of salt and water cost about 44¢ but they charge the patient $191.00 and another $1000 for the use of the operating room. That one poster I mentioned said that the charge for attending nurses and other costs were part of the saline cost but that’s not true. Every item that a hospital charges has its own unique price. I’m thinking how much my orthopedic surgeon saved the insurance company by using an outpatient service and sending me home the very same day.
Another “oh, whatever” moment is the fallacy that welfare is going to lead us to financial ruin. The $235 billion we spend on the non-working poor amounts to about 10% of the federal budget according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. There’s a formula using census data to figure out where this money goes. First you have to combine all the costs of such programs to come up with the base total. Then you have to subtract spending on the elderly, and the disabled. In that figure will be vets, children, survivors of parents who have died, people on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and SSI. Finally we have to add up unemployment insurance, EITC and child tax credits understanding that people move in and out of these programs all the time. These programs come under the Non-discretionary spending and are required by law, so the battle is always about a percentage change or the amount of cost of living adjustments. You will see the GOP fixated on these programs in the upcoming budget battles and the Democrats will fight to keep the cuts as small as possible.
All the insignificant stuff will have to take a backseat to whatever we do militarily against Syria in the next few days. No serious person will question the amount of money we spend to send Syrian president, Bashar al Assad, a message that the international community will not tolerate the use of sarin gas on civilians or military personnel. The last I heard, it costs us about a million dollars to launch just one Tomahawk missile. According to the polls, Americans do not want us to engage in any type of military intervention in Syria but this is one of those cases where the president will have to take action despite the will of its citizenry. President Obama might have one of those “oh, whatever” moments.
Remember, don’t look for a new blog tomorrow but please keep checking because I might be back sooner than later…