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Who Said That?

In honor of July 4th, here’s a game of match the quote to the revolutionary.

The document titles will be giveaways in many cases.  A key to the initials is at the end.

The Bible represents God to be a changeable, passionate, vindictive being: making a world and then drowning it, afterwards repenting of what he has done, and promising not to do so again.  Setting one nation to cut the throats of another, and stopping the course of the sun until the butchery be done.  But the works of God in the creation preach to us another doctrine… It is from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine and murder; for the belief of a cruel God makes a cruel man…

PT

A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.

When the rich plunder the poor of his rights, it becomes an example of the poor to plunder the rich of his property, for the rights of the one are as much property to him as wealth is property to the other and the little all is as dear as the much. It is only by setting out on just principles that men are trained to be just to each other; and it will always be found, that when the rich protect the rights of the poor, the poor will protect the property of the rich.

PT, Letter to the Addressers of the Late Proclamation, 1792

It is the nature and intention of a constitution to prevent governing by party, by establishing a common principle that shall limit and control the power and impulse of party, and that says to all parties, thus far shalt thou go and no further. But in the absence of a constitution, men look entirely to party; and instead of principle governing party, party governs principle.

PT, First Principles of Government, 1795

What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

JT, 1787, letter to Williams Stephens Smith

Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.

JT, 1787, letter to Peter Carr

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty, than those attending too small a degree of it.

JT, 1791, letter to Archibald Stuart

Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. . . . I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false.

JT, Letter to John Novell, 1807

Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains. In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is easier to acquire them, and to effect this, they have perverted the best religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purposes. With the lawyers it is a new thing. They have, in the mother country, been generally the primest supporters of the free principles of their constitution. But there, too, they have changed.

JT, letter to Horatio Stafford, 1814

While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in Union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must derive from Union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighbouring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty.

WG, Farewell Address, 1796

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.

WG, Farewell Address, 1796

Has it been found that bodies of men act with more rectitude or greater disinterestedness than individuals? The contrary of this has been inferred by all accurate observers of the conduct of mankind; and the inference is founded upon obvious reasons. Regard to reputation has a less active influence, when the infamy of a bad action is to be divided among a number than when it is to fall singly upon one. A spirit of faction, which is apt to mingle its poison in the deliberations of all bodies of men, will often hurry the persons of whom they are composed into improprieties and excesses, for which they would blush in a private capacity.

HA, Federalist Papers 15

If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government…

HA, Federalist Papers 29

The history of human conduct does not warrant that exalted opinion of human virtue which would make it wise in a nation to commit interests of so delicate and momentous a kind as those which concern its intercourse with the rest of the world to the sole disposal of a magistrate, created and circumstanced, as would be a President of the United States.

HA, Federalist Papers 75

PT Paine, Thomas

JT Jefferson, Thomas

WG Washington, George

HA Hamilton, Alexander

  1. Anonymous
    July 4, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Do I have to read all of this?

  2. July 4, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Hamilton’s comments from the Federalist Papers are a good example of why I never got more than a quarter of the way through them.

    You would think that back in the day of having to write everything by pen writers would have been less wordy.

  3. Anonymous
    July 4, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Fred, back in the day, people enjoyed reading and could assimilate facts and ideas from written text.

  4. Curley
    July 4, 2012 at 10:25 am

    That kind of prose makes reading the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire a chore too. It was published in 1776 I believe and it takes you about a month to get past the flowery wording before you can settle in with it.

  5. Anonymous
    July 4, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Fred is just another of the limbautomized frightwing mob who doesn’t need literacy…he just knows the founders intended for what he believes to be constitutional and anything he doesn’t to be unconstitutional. Such people are easy pickings for corrupt demagogues.

  6. firesidechet
    July 4, 2012 at 10:34 am

    my favorite – “License they mean when they cry liberty”

  7. Patrants
    July 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Paine was an infidel and took direct communication from satan. I hear some of his bones are in H’s house. http://www.tripatini.com/profiles/blogs/the-death-of-thomas-paine

  8. July 4, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Just a bunch of flowery speech and empty words. What politician hasn’t spouted the same BS, I’m sure if you read Hitler’s speeches you’ll find all kinds of lofty ideals. Doesn’t mean a thing. What were they doing when they wrote this stuff? Oppressing other human beings, stealing land from rightful owners and getting the peasants to die for their corporate takeover of the King George’s companies.

  9. July 4, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Fred, back in the day, people enjoyed reading and could assimilate facts and ideas from written text.

    Your attempt at insulting doesn’t work. It’s poor writing. They could have used a third of the words to make their point. Despite your suggestion, I’m sure it’s always been true that the longer an essay- and more words used- the less likely people are to read it in its entirety, if at all.

    But back to my original point: Remember I referred to them having to hand write everything. Not even typewriters were around then. It’s hard to believe brevity was tossed aside when all those essays were hand written. And what if you made a mistake?

    You’d think they’d have made brevity a priority back in those days simply because of the effort involved in writing.

  10. Mitch
    July 4, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I don’t find this writing too wordy at all.

    These excerpts from some of their writings are not meant to be bumper stickers. Perhaps we are so used to the now-trite aphorisms that we’ve forgotten that many subtleties take full paragraphs — horrors, perhaps even several paragraphs — to properly convey.

    My point in posting these excerpts was primarily to remind people of how opposed some of our founders were, at least on occasion, to many of the things some of us now assume they must have supported: parties, a standing military, merchants, the press, and Christianity.

  11. What Now
    July 4, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Excellent post, Heraldo!
    many of he above comments are pathetic for the most part.

    In a period when a classical education was desired and honored, the ability to allude to greek and roman classics as well as middle english and literature from France and Germany, minds were sharpened and far more accute.There was also an art to writing letters, correspondence, and tracts from Franklin’s handbills to Jefferson and Adams tomes.
    Today, people want their “information” in 30 second to 2 minute sound bites, the Hollywood spectacle instead of the book, and Cliff’s notes guide to reality.
    It’s been noticeable to me for over 5 decades now that people are intellectually lazy.
    Ask your “christian” friends to name every book in the bible.Ask your “capitalist” apologistfriends to name Adam Smith’s intellectual inspiration.
    The “dumbing down of America” isn;t a nefarious plot by a think tank or organization,it’s a willing race to recliner with a cold beer and a remote control to sattelite entertainment.

  12. July 4, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    It’s not being intellectually lazy to want people to make their point without rambling.

  13. What Now
    July 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Good thing you live in this day and age, Fred.
    You can stagger and lurch through life with a monosyllabic vocabulary.

  14. Anonymous
    July 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Fred Mangles on the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States of America:

    “tldr”

  15. July 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Ok. Let’s hear each of you interpret- no, make that translate- the last phrase in the posting. I’ve made my best guess. I’d like to hear yours. From the Federalist Papers:

    The history of human conduct does not warrant that exalted opinion of human virtue which would make it wise in a nation to commit interests of so delicate and momentous a kind as those which concern its intercourse with the rest of the world to the sole disposal of a magistrate, created and circumstanced, as would be a President of the United States.

  16. Don Key Jote
    July 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Fred, are you kidding bro? It’s in English….

  17. July 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    What’s he trying to say? C’mon. You can do it.

  18. Anonymous
    July 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Easy Fred. He said that history shows that people are imperfect and we shouldn’t trust a single person with sole authority over foreign policy.

  19. Anonymous
    July 4, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Of course Hamilton said it more elegantly and persuasively. He wasn’t writing for the illiterate masses. We could use a renaissance.

  20. July 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Sorry Fred, but he says EXACTLY what he means. I’d say Barack Obama missed his point, too.

  21. July 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Actually, I understand the literacy rate was much higher back in those days, up through the 1800s. I think I read somewhere it was over 95%.

    As an aside, I’m often amazed at the penmanship of even common folk back then.

    If you ever get a chance, take a look at the picture of the letter Billy the Kid wrote to Governor Lew Wallace asking for a pardon. Very nice writing, assuming he wrote it, which I think he did. I’ve seen numerous examples of relatively common people who wrote quite well.

  22. July 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Of course Hamilton said it more elegantly and persuasively.

    It’s not persuasive at all when you have to try and figure out what he’s trying to say.

    I sure wish you guys would start writing letters to the editors. I could really kick ass with that kind of competition.

  23. July 4, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    This person identifies the problem exactly for what it is. Not necessarily about Fred (really), but about people in general.

    “Fred is just another of the limbautomized frightwing mob who doesn’t need literacy…he just knows the founders intended for what he believes to be constitutional and anything he doesn’t to be unconstitutional. Such people are easy pickings for corrupt demagogues.”

    The difference between today and 200 years ago is that those people knew how to think, today everyone is relegated to believing. Both have about as much to do with each other as oil and water.

  24. July 4, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Remember Fred, those guys were writing to the literate few, not to slaves, Indians, people of color, people that did NOT own property, or women. Not to say that any of these people can’t think if given the opportunity. Based upon personal experience, I’d say that’s a very, very small minority…

  25. July 4, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    History shows running a nation is too complex for one dude to make all the decisions…

    Fred Mangels says:
    July 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Ok. Let’s hear each of you interpret- no, make that translate- the last phrase in the posting. I’ve made my best guess. I’d like to hear yours. From the Federalist Papers:

    The history of human conduct does not warrant that exalted opinion of human virtue which would make it wise in a nation to commit interests of so delicate and momentous a kind as those which concern its intercourse with the rest of the world to the sole disposal of a magistrate, created and circumstanced, as would be a President of the United States.

  26. EBTeconomy
    July 4, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    What is Libor? Has Liberty died?

  27. EBTeconomy
    July 4, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Wrong link….but funny anyway. TSA eats Terrorist……..Liberty has died.

  28. Anonymous
    July 4, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Since over half the population of colonial America was neither white nor male and white males were the only group surveyed (the only group that mattered), even 100% literacy translates to less than 50% of the populace.

  29. Thorstein Veblen
    July 4, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    On the issue of brevity, back then, people had to think before they wrote, unlike modern-day blogs. Although a bit later, Mark Twain would often take a whole day to write only a page or two of handwriting on paper. I think that drafts and revisions were to be avoided if possible.

    And if you look at the handwriting, its often full of punctuation and veering off into tangents and then coming back on topic, etc., as though they sometimes got new thoughts while writing, or needed to make explanations as they went. I’m guessing that a view of the handwriting might make a difference as opposed to just seeing the text in our modern keyboarding style.

  30. July 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    …even 100% literacy translates to less than 50% of the populace..

    That assumes neither non- whites or women couldn’t read or write. I have no doubt that is an incorrect assumption. I’ve seen numerous examples of both women and non- whites who could read and write back then.

    Mark Twain would often take a whole day to write only a page or two of handwriting on paper.

    And Mark Twain’s writings were understandable, both back then and now. You do make my point, though, about how difficult writing probably was back then.

  31. 06em
    July 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I’d really like to know where that “somewhere” was that you read about a 95% literacy rate in 1800. I seriously doubt you on this one, Fred. Link?

  32. Anonymous
    July 4, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    95% of those who were surveyed may have been literate. What percent were surveyed and in which regions is unknown. Nevertheless, a functionally illiterate populace is prey to every huckster who will tell them the lies they want to hear.

  33. 06em
    July 4, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    I think 95% literacy is very high for anywhere in 1800. I’ll see if I can google it up.

  34. Mitch
    July 4, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    8:48,

    Maybe it was 95% of those who returned the survey. :)

  35. 06em
    July 4, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Please excuse the long quote, but it mostly explains why it is difficult to quantify 19th century literacy rates. It’s nowhere near Fred’s figure, unless he was talking about white, male Bostonians:

    Despite the caveats, we can generalize about patterns of literacy. In 1974, University of Montana scholar Kenneth Lockridge’s groundbreaking book, Literacy in Colonial New England, surveyed evidence from legal records and offered provisional conclusions—“The exercise is bound to be tentative, as it uses a biased sample and an ambiguous measure”—but he made the case that, among white New England men, about 60 percent of the population was literate between 1650 and 1670, a figure that rose to 85 percent between 1758 and 1762, and to 90 percent between 1787 and 1795. In cities such as Boston, the rate had come close to 100 percent by century’s end.

    Lockridge and his successors showed that literacy was higher in New England and the mid-Atlantic colonies than in the South, and higher in the cities than in the countryside. Traders and shopkeepers were more literate than farmers. They showed that American literacy was high by European standards. As the University of Delaware’s F. W. Grubb wrote in 1990:

    Of all European countries perhaps only Scotland surpassed America in literacy by 1800. Not only had the European literacy revolution been transplanted to the American periphery during the colonial period, but colonial literacy had somehow leaped past that of northwestern Europe.

    Such research confirmed a widespread belief in early America itself. In 1800, a magazine called The Columbian Phenix and Boston Review reported that “no country on the face of the earth can boast of a larger proportion of inhabitants, versed in the rudiments of science, or fewer, who are not able to read and write their names, than the United States of America.”

    Perhaps it should have been no surprise, because literacy had been an American obsession since the beginning. As early as 1642, Massachusetts passed a law ordering the selectmen to monitor children’s ability “to read & understand the principles of religion & the capitall lawes of this country.” And though New Englanders were more devoted to public schooling than southerners throughout the eighteenth century, schemes for literacy education were widespread throughout the colonies and the early United States. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, drafted a Virginia Assembly bill in the 1770s, titled “A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge,” that began:

    Those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people of large.

    He proposed a series of public schools at which “reading, writing, and common arithmetick” would be taught to “all the free children, male and female.”

    Jefferson’s qualification, though, demands our attention: “all the free children” excludes slaves, roughly 40 percent of Virginia’s population. This fact had gone largely unnoticed among historians of literacy, who had grown accustomed to writing about the “near-universal literacy” achieved by the end of the eighteenth century. Beginning in the late 1970s, scholars began to ask whether “universal” was the right term. Since so much of the evidence about literacy came from legal documents, it was necessarily limited to those who could sign such documents—which, at the time, usually meant free white adult males. Scholars have begun asking about the excluded groups.

    One of the important excluded groups was women. Main has written, “Historians have tended to treat female literacy as a minor postscript to the larger tale of literacy’s spread, but the story for women has important dimensions of its own.” Jefferson’s plan for a public school system included girls, but that was not typical of eighteenth-century education; women’s literacy lagged behind men’s. Lockridge’s figures make the case: while male literacy in New England rose from 60 percent in the late seventeenth century to 90 percent by the early days of the Republic, he estimated female literacy in the same period as rising from 31 percent to 48 percent—roughly half the rate of males.

    http://www.history.org/foundation/journal/winter11/literacy.cfm

    Happy Fourth!!!

  36. July 5, 2012 at 9:14 am

    When we’re talking about brevity in speeches, I think we need to remember that we’re dealing with lawyers and politicians. Legal speech is just as convoluted today as it was in the 18th centrury.

  37. Mitch
    July 5, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Amazing. Ten or so quotes from our “founding fathers” criticizing the bible, the military, merchants, priests, and the idea of parties.

    Few comments, almost all of which deal with the frightening lengths of the paragraphs.

    People get the government they deserve.

  38. Justha Factsmaam
    July 5, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Just a note on Thomas Paine. After the American Revolution, he went to France, and became a propagandist for the French Revolution. He wrote long and eloquent essays and pamphlets defending the Revolution, in the name of Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality, even as the guillotine was working overtime in the public square outside his window. He was eventually imprisoned and sentenced to death by the same ideologues whose virtues he had praised. He only escaped the razor because of luck and timing. Afterwards, he wrote bitter letters to George Washington, accusing him of doing nothing to try to free him while imprisoned. Washington ignored him because he abhorred the bloodbath that was the French Revolution, and had no sympathy for it’s socialist ideology, or anyone who enabled it.

  39. Anonymous
    July 5, 2012 at 10:19 am

    So, who said this?

    “I can tell you this – we’re spending a lot of money, because we’ve got lots of money.”

  40. Mitch
    July 5, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Justha Factsmaam,

    Tom Paine was not a fan of George Washington, either. But he and Jefferson agreed on much, and when Jefferson became President he invited Paine to return to America. Paine did.

    His disrespect for Christianity, and his utmost respect for freedom, liberty, and human rights left him with few friends among the powerful.

  41. Anonymous
    July 5, 2012 at 10:33 am

    It’s dangerous to a society when the people who scream the loudest about whether something is constitutional (Fred and Rose) get their cues from poorly educated but brazenly deceitful (Beck and Limbaugh) pundits via the radio and TV because they aren’t literate enough to read newspaper articles written at the 6th grade level – much less the flowery but basic language of the founders they revere – despite their inability to comprehend them.

  42. ADD in 'Merica
    July 5, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Moviedad is rite. These qwotes are long and stoopid. “Freedom Roks!” is shorter and eazier than the old english vershion

  43. Anonymous
    July 5, 2012 at 11:21 am

    “I can tell you this – we’re spending a lot of money, because we’ve got lots of money.”

    — Robin Arkley Sr.

  44. Anonymous
    July 5, 2012 at 11:37 am

    The Gettysburg Address, frightwing version:

    “This country was started 87 years ago based on the belief that all men are free and equal. We can’t let states leave the country or it will fail and waste the lives of all the people who died for it.”

  45. Beachcomber Marie
    July 5, 2012 at 11:50 am

    To Thorstein Veblen
    Just an aside as a note of trivia…Tom Sawyer was the first manuscript written on a typewriter. :-)

  46. July 5, 2012 at 11:54 am

    All those men z point by chosen words and left us a legacy,Washington made the same point as another general/president-

  47. Anonymous
    July 5, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Yes, Jean. The military – industrial – corporate complex has more political power than any elected official and far more than the masses. We get to choose between 2 parties owned by said complex and delude ourselves into believing we live in a democracy.

  48. tra
    July 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    “Has it been found that bodies of men act with more rectitude or greater disinterestedness than individuals? The contrary of this has been inferred by all accurate observers of the conduct of mankind; and the inference is founded upon obvious reasons. Regard to reputation has a less active influence, when the infamy of a bad action is to be divided among a number than when it is to fall singly upon one. A spirit of faction, which is apt to mingle its poison in the deliberations of all bodies of men, will often hurry the persons of whom they are composed into improprieties and excesses, for which they would blush in a private capacity.” – George Washington

    I’m not sure what the context of this quote was — perhaps he was referring to the danger of political parties gaining too much power, as in his other quotes above — but his observation certainly lends itself equally well to the debate over corporate power.

    Those who defend the concept of “corporate personhood” often point out that corporations are made up of people — the people who own, manage, and work for them. (I assume that was the argument Romney was angling for with his “Corporations are people, my friend” remark. He just didn’t quite get his talking points straight.)

    But as Washington observed, when “the infamy of a bad action is to be divided among a number,” the resulting loss of accountability can encourage people to take wrongful actions that they wouldn’t be willing to take as individuals. “Just following orders” and “not my department” are two examples of the kinds of rationalizations individuals can turn to when they are acting as agents of an organization, rather than as individuals.

    And of course in the case of corporate personhood, we have a situation where the loss of personal accountability goes well beyond issues of personal reputation and the ability to assuage one’s conscience: There are plenty of cases where corporations are found “guilty” of crimes and sanctioned (usually with fines), and yet the actual human beings that make up that corporation are not jailed or in any other way held personally responsible.

  49. Anonymous
    July 5, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    The founders’ experiences with corporate / government corruption is probably why they didn’t include corporate rights in the constitution. It took a corrupt pro-corporate court to grant them federal rights. Funny how the “strict constitutionists” are so militant about protecting corporate rights which didn’t exist anywhere in the Constitution or Bill of Rights.

  50. longwinds
    July 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    The truest perspective on corporate personhood is embedded in the 14th Amendment, which was written to free slaves. Yet in the more than 100 cases about it before the Supreme Court, 80 percent of them were brought to free oppressed corporations. Meanwhile, Jim Crow institutionalized inequality for mere people.

    ps, the highest paid corporate lawyer at the time when the 14th Amendment was written? Abe Lincoln. The ole railsplitter had a day job . . .

  51. July 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Hey, Hooked-on-phonics dude. I was not the one who said they were too long or stupid. Nice attempt at an insult. Way to cower behind anonymity.

  52. Anonymous
    July 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    If only the founders had had the foresight to prohibit corporate personhood like their recognition that civil rights need to be expressly protected. They didn’t foresee future citizens being so stupid as to grant human rights to legal fictions enabling them to take over the country. They gave us a democratic republic but we allowed it to be stolen and turned into an imperialist plutocracy.

  53. Thorstein Veblen
    July 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    No wonder it took Mark Twain so long to write, using a typewriter for his handwriting instead of a pen. Musta been hard to hold and get the right angle to put ink to paper.

  54. Anonymous
    July 5, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    “he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors.”

    That’s why Fox viewers test at the very bottom, below even those who don’t watch any news. Could be why they try to ignore Jefferson despite the fact that he authored the Declaration of Independence and co-authored the Constitution they claim to hold almost sacred.

  55. I work for a living
    July 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Obama has betrayed the people with his government takeover of the medical industry and with plunging the federal government into overwhelming debt that will doom the US to third world status eventually.

    He should not just be defeated in November, he should be impeached and jailed.

  56. Anonymous
    July 5, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    “I work for a living” is obviously one of those functionally illiterate fools who thinks forcing everyone buy private insurance is a govt take-over of the medical industry because Fox and their echo chamber said so.

  57. God
    July 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Fox said it, I believe it, that settles it.

  58. 713
    July 5, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Are you saying Obama has not increased the debt?

  59. Anonymous
    July 5, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    713 is another one. The claim IWFAL made that was clearly being disputed is about govt. take-over of the health care industry. Of course Obama has increased the debt. We’re in a multiple dip recession where not increasing the debt would likely mean a severe depression – which would require even more govt. debt to get out of. Do you know any history not revised by Fox and Clones?

  60. Anonymous
    July 5, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Although to be completely factual, congress increased the debt and Obama approved it.

  61. 713
    July 5, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I don’t watch fox…sorry to burst your bubble. I thought the president set the budget and congress approved it? So the solution to debt is more debt? I’m going to have to try that one.

  62. tra
    July 5, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Maybe someday we’ll learn that, when times are good, rather than handing out tax breaks to the rich and expanding spending, we should instead be paying down our national debt, and — here’s a shocking concept — actually put a significant amount of money aside “for a rainy day.”

    That way when the economy goes into one of its inevitable downturns we can then use our national “rainy day fund” to help bridge us over — instead of having to choose between cutting social programs and public-sector spending just when these things are needed most, or else piling up more debts on top of our existing debts to try to cover those needs. Maybe someday.

  63. 713
    July 5, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Careful, you will be labeled a fox watcher. Of course, it will be by an idiot who ironically calls me illiterate.

  64. Anonymous
    July 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Lack of demand for products and services provided by American labor is only worsened by laying more workers. Cutting back on govt. spending puts more people out of work, whether that is teachers laid off because the feds won’t give the states enough aid, or highway construction workers not working because there is no funding. The decreased demand by previously laid off workers puts more workers out of work. The unemployed don’t pay much in federal taxes so revenues decline further which, of course, requires more cuts in spending. Private industry doesn’t hire people until they can’t meet their demand with current staffing which isn’t going to happen when everyone from the federal government to the local school board is laying off more people. No business ever hired a single person because they got a tax break. They hire because there is too much demand for their product than current staffing can meet and layoff when they have too much staffing. There is a deliberate attempt to keep our economy on the edge of crisis if not push it over so who exactly benefits from a depression. Some people always do.

  65. Anonymous
    July 5, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    713 thinks Tra’s 852 post is similar to what you would hear on Fox? She really doesn’t get much.

  66. Walt
    July 6, 2012 at 5:23 am

    “There is a deliberate attempt to keep our economy on the edge of crisis if not push it over. . .” At least until Romney is elected. Then just watch how “liberal” the banks and corporations become. . .

  67. Anonymous
    July 6, 2012 at 7:05 am

    Govt stimulus in a recession is as necessary to improving the economy as priming a dry pump is to get water. You can pump 24/7 but you aren’t going to get any water until you pour enough in. While you might find an investor to pour some water in for you for, giving him ownership of the well for his cup of water would be nuts.

  68. Anonymous
    July 6, 2012 at 7:15 am

    713 may not watch Fox specifically, but she’s picking up their idiotic talking points from somewhere. A nation’s (or world’s) economy has little in common with a household budget, but maybe a household analogy would help her understand. If you are struggling with lots of debt and the car you must have to work breaks down, do you quit your job and go bankrupt or increase your debt and fix your car?

  69. Anonymous
    July 6, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Demand drives the economy. Expecting improvement while shutting while crimping the fuel line is delusional.

  70. Mitch
    July 6, 2012 at 7:35 am

    713,

    “So the solution to debt is more debt? I’m going to have to try that one.”

    Krugman says it far better than I could, so I’ll just suggest anyone curious go here for starters: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/deficits-and-virtue/. Then you could pick up his book, “End this Depression Now.”

    The thing is, 713, I’ll bet you already know that, and also know that Obama was locked into huge debt increases by the collapse that preceded his taking office.

    So why just repeat the Fox line, when you’re NOT a dittohead?

  71. Anonymous
    July 6, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Krugman’s column today is also very good.

  72. Thorstein Veblen
    July 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

    While giving some indications that he is starting to see reality, Krugman is still stuck in a world where private debt has no net effect on demand, and where fed regulation of banks effectively controls the money supply. Policies based on these simplistic and erroneous ideas, while better than the devastating austerity the republicans are pushing, won’t take us out of this mess any time soon.

  73. Anonymous
    July 6, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Where did you get the idea that Krugman believes private debt has no net effect on demand? His belief that private debt doesn’t influence the overall net worth (one person’s liability is another person’s asset) doesn’t mean he discounts the negative impact debt has on demand.

    In fact, yesterday he wrote on his blog, “Mike Konczal has an excellent survey of the recent literature on balance sheet recessions; as he says, there is now a lot of empirical evidence supporting the view that we are mainly facing a slump in aggregate demand, which in turn is largely driven by debt overhang. There are strong implications for, among other things, mortgage relief; and in general, macro policy is different under these conditions.”

    He then provides the evidence and summarizes:

    “And all of this evidence supports a demand-side view of the world, one in which fiscal policy “works”, in which debt relief can help, in which inflation can help some and deflation is deadly.”

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/

  74. Thorstein Veblen
    July 6, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Agree with all of that. Like I said, he’s starting to get it, especially the ‘debt relief’ part of it. Here’s one critique;

    http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2012/05/15/paul-krugmans-economic-blinders-by-michael-hudson-2/

  75. Anonymous
    July 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Why don’t you find a statement from Krugman where he says, himself, that private debt doesn’t impact demand instead of other’s interpretations of his views?

  76. Anonymous
    July 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    On 1/20/2012 he said,

    “What you see here is a gradual decline in overall debt — not at all what you hear in the public debate. Now, the composition of that debt is changing: rising public debt, falling private debt. But that’s exactly what you need to deal with the aftermath of a Minsky moment: you need to reduce the debt of balance-sheet-constrained players, so that the drag on the economy is reduced over time, eventually getting us to the point where deficit spending is no longer needed to sustain the economy.

    It’s a crime that we aren’t doing more, that unemployment is as high as it is — and sustained high unemployment is itself taking a toll on our future as well as our present. But as far as debt is concerned, America’s situation is getting better, not worse.”

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/debt-and-transfiguration-2/

  77. 713
    July 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Mitch,
    I agree Obama inherit a mess. The healthcare bill will add a trillion to that over ten years. That’s a lot of money to me.

  78. Mitch
    July 6, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    The CBO is supposed to be nonpartisan. It estimates a net decrease in costs over 2012-2021: “CBO still holds that the law reduces the deficit by billions of dollars over 10 years.”

    Of course, Fox wants you to think otherwise: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/03/conservatives-distort-cbo-data-to-claim-obamacare-costs-have-exploded.php

    Again, 713, I find your recent statements very confusing, given that I know you know better. Surely you’re not joing the Foxes in cherry-picking particular numbers.

  79. 713
    July 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Sorry Mitch, I read the bill will cost around a trillion dollars. It is supposed to be offset, but for some reason I don’t believe that. Aren’t they just shifting a bunch of costs to the states, medicare, etc?

  80. Mitch
    July 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Well, it’s a free country. You are certainly free to disbelieve the CBO. I couldn’t fault you for mistrusting government estimates.

    It would be nice, though, if you could read what the CBO analysts have written and articulate a reason you believe them to be wrong. CBO has the best track record of providing neutral projections of pretty much any outfit.

    It’s fine to dislike the ACA — I dislike it because I think it included too much pandering to insurance companies, which are unnecessary in the health care system, but which had to be bought off to obtain passage.

    Universal health insurance, with the government bureaucrats replacing the insurance company bureaucrats, would be far more efficient at delivering needed payments — it would eliminate incentives to juggle expensive people off of your plan and onto someone else’s, which is an inevitable goal of every private health insurer, and which has no benefit whatsoever to anyone who needs health care. The goal becomes pointless to society when EVERYONE gets to be insured. Do we really need a layer of executives getting rewarded for externalizing costs better than the next guy, when there is no more “external?”

    You’ll recall that when CBO issued an estimate on Boehner’s bill to kill Obamacare, they said that killing Obamacare would increase the deficit by about $150 billion over ten years.

  81. Anonymous
    July 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    What are you going to believe, the CBO’s nonpartisan analysis or a really high number because it’s scary but no evidence to support it?

  82. Thorstein Veblen
    July 6, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Well, theres this one;

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/27/minksy-and-methodology-wonkish/

    “Keen then goes on to assert that lending is, by definition (at least as I understand it), an addition to aggregate demand. I guess I don’t get that at all. If I decide to cut back on my spending and stash the funds in a bank, which lends them out to someone else, this doesn’t have to represent a net increase in demand. Yes, in some (many) cases lending is associated with higher demand, because resources are being transferred to people with a higher propensity to spend; but Keen seems to be saying something else, and I’m not sure what. I think it has something to do with the notion that creating money = creating demand, but again that isn’t right in any model I understand.”

    But, like I say, Krugman is starting to come around. Give him credit, when the theory and data conflict, he’s at least willing to consider alternatives to orthodoxy. Some people aren’t, even ones on this blog.

  83. Anonymous
    July 6, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Not even on the same subject, TV.

  84. Eric Kirk
    July 6, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Fred – your approach to writing denies so much of the texture available to writers and readers. Maybe you’re happy with meat and potatoes, but other people appreciate the feelings words evoke as well as the the information relayed. I’m sorry that your appreciation for writing is so one dimensional.

    But you probably like Hemingway. He is famous for short, concise sentences. It actually sometimes leaves me cold.

  85. High Finance
    July 6, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Mitch you are better than that. In the first ten years the Obamacare package doesn’t add to the deficit because the taxes kick in years before the costs do.

    It is very dishonest to not look at the huge increase to the deficit from that point forward. Someone else a few days ago downplayed the tremendous tax increase Obamacare has. Again more dishonest wordplay. That person’s link does not count the new taxes on those who refuse to buy insurance and instead plays the Obama line that it is a penalty.

    The Supreme Court exposed that fraud.

  86. Mitch
  87. Anonymous
    July 7, 2012 at 9:41 am

    The right wing mentality about health care is fairly consistent with their mentality about reducing poverty. They claim we can’t afford to help the poor so we’ll keep them hungry and ignorant until they can be imprisoned at a cost many times higher than what it would have cost to support and educate them through college. We can’t afford health care for the poor until they show up at an ER with late stage diabetes or heart disease and then we spend millions to postpone their early deaths. The waste of human potential is, of course, priceless.

  88. 713
    July 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Mitch,
    I have a few problems with the bill. I don’t like the mandate. I don’t like the way they are going to curb demand via the extra tax on Cadillac plans. I agree costs are way out of hand but part of that has to do with jury awards and I believe that was neglected in the bill. I also think adding to the deficit at this time is a terrible idea. We have to get out of our wars and get our financial house in order. Also need to find a way to get competitive again with production. Until the government either gets out of the way or seriously commits itself to improving the economy, we are screwed. But on another thread they are arguing about banning redwood harvests, so you may see why I am a skeptic.

  89. Thorstein Veblen
    July 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Jury awards? The push for limitations on jury awards is by corporations who want their liability to be capped. And in many states it is, at $250,000. Who pays for the medical bills of the injured in excess of that? ANswer: you do. While the perpetrator/corporation goes on its way free of responsibility. What a system!!!

  90. 713
    July 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Look up defensive medicine.

  91. Mitch
    July 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    713,

    The excise tax on high cost plans cuts in only on employer-sponsored tax deductible plans that have annual premiums of more than $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family. This will be indexed for inflation.

    Compare this with the median wage in America in 2010 of $26,364.

    According to a Kaiser study, the average all-in cost for family coverage health insurance in 2010 is approximately $15,000.

    The idea is to limit the cost of the DEDUCTIBLE plans — you can still go ahead and supplement such a plan with additional insurance, but the additional plan will not be deductible (if sponsored by your employer).

    If the aggregate cost of an employer-sponsored plan exceeds $27,500 per family, it seems reasonable to think that something odd is going on. It’s not obvious to me why the median worker should be paying for anyone else to have such a plan — and yet that’s what making it tax deductible means.

    It sounds to me like the main effect of this is to close a tax loophole used by the wealthiest, not to “limit demand.”

    Incidentally, the best summary of “Obamacare” I’ve seen is here, from the Kaiser Family Foundation: http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/8061.pdf

  92. Mitch
    July 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    It is honestly a mystery to me how “individual responsibility” conservatives can do the mental contortions necessary to oppose the idea that all Americans be required to purchase health insurance.

    Anyone in the U.S., by law, must receive basic care if they present themselves in a hospital emergency room. The “individual mandate” says every individual has to take some responsibility for that, because in our civilization, we do not intend to turn people away from emergency rooms.

    Yes, it would make more sense in my opinion to simply pay the necessary costs via taxes. But conservatives have succeeded in convincing America that all taxes are evil. So this is the next best thing — everyone has to pay into the system that insures they get treated when absolutely necessary.

    How that is “liberal” as opposed to “conservative” is beyond me.

  93. 713
    July 8, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Mitch, that cadillac plan is what a lot of union and public employees have. If a business is providing health insurance, why shouldn’t they write it off? It is an expense just like wages or office supplies. You must not have shopped for insurance lately, but when you get over 50, most of the decent plans run at least $1,000 per person. And they are not that good.

    I believe they are doing this because those cadillac plans are the ones where people only pay $10, so they are going to the doctor all the time, where the rest of us will wait because it is $125 for us. Once there is a 40% tax, these plans will cease to exist for the most part.

    I suspect the unions will fix this before it comes to pass.

  94. Dave Kirby
    July 8, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Ernie Borgnine has gone on ahead. When he played Marty he was my hero for all of us who are not good looking. In from “Here to Eternity ” he was a bad guy who may be the only person to curb Frank Sinatra. He was a hard working guy. I hope to see him around the bend on the other side.

  95. What Now
    July 8, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    For the last 30 years, unions and bargaining groups gave up wage hikes and made many other concessions to maintain health coverage while CEO’s and “gold butt” administrators raided the coffers like pigs at the trough.This reached it’s grand crescendo when a GOP congress passed to tax cuts for the upper incomes while wageing two petroleum wars.
    It was the heritage Foundation’s grand scheme (and a rather brilliant counter strike after the 2006 elections) for Arch Duke Caligula Dubyah Bush to attack employer provided health care as a preemptive move to abort publicly popular calls for health industry reform by useing that perncious argument in his 2007 State of the anemic union address.

  96. Thorstein Veblen
    July 8, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    I’m just stunned at how people can be fooled, willingly, apparently, time and again. Tell you what, 7:13, you watch “hot coffee’ on hbo or elsewhere, and I’ll look up defensive medicine. To be so sure about stuff that you are so wrong about so often, is truly amazing.

  97. Mitch
    July 8, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    713,

    Employee sponsored tax deductible benefits are an accident of history, they came about back when wages were frozen during World War 2.

    There’s nothing wrong with tax deductible employee benefits, but there’s really no reason that the federal government should extend a tax deduction beyond the median benefit.

    By extending a tax deduction only up to the median, at least everyone can get an equal deduction from the system. The value of that deduction still varies based on the marginal tax rate, so high income people still make out better than low income people. The result of extending tax deductions beyond the median benefit is that low-income people pay for high income people’s benefits.

    Even so, the health insurance overhaul allows deductions on plans that go well beyond the median. And the excise tax doesn’t cut in when a single individual’s cost under the plan is more than $10,200 — it cuts in when the average cost for all individuals on the plan exceed $10,200 per person. Or, in the case of a family plan, when the average cost for all families on the plan is higher than $27,000.

    If you can afford a plan that is worth more than $27,000, great, but I don’t see why the public should subsidize your plan with a deduction on amounts that are in excess of what most people earn for everything they need, not just for health care.

  98. 713
    July 9, 2012 at 6:15 am

    If you take away the deduction Mitch, the benefit goes away. How can you expect business to claim money they are paying for health insurance as income? I believe these thresholds will hit our local teache, firefighters, and public employees pretty hard.

    TV – I don’t think you understand. They are doing a bunch of extra stuff so they don’t get sued, not to improve patient care. Estimates say it is 10 – 20% of healthcare costs.

  99. Mitch
    July 9, 2012 at 6:57 am

    713,

    Please. The deductible benefit remains, up to $27,000 worth per family. For those who desire more health insurance than $27,000 per family buys, they buy a supplemental plan that is not deductible. So every employer is free to provide up to $27,000 in deductible health insurance benefit to each of its employees.

    Yes, employers will cease to provide plans that cost more than $27,000 per family indexed for inflation. Those few individuals who feel that a $27,000 plan is insufficient are free to supplement their employer sponsored deductible plan with an additional health insurance plan that the taxpayers will not support.

    That way, they can pay an additional $10,000 per year for the privilege of having 1000 thread count sheets in their exclusive Taos hospital suite in the event they must be hospitalized for “stress fatigue,” and the sheets can be changed hourly by their personal nurse.

  100. 713
    July 9, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Where are you getting that they are only taxing the amount over 10,500 and 27,000? Every article I have read says they are charging a 40% surtax on premiums that cost in excess of those amounts, not taxing the amount over those numbers. You don’t have to be rich to pay those premiums, what do you think a decent insurance policy for a 55 year old librarian costs?

  101. Mitch
    July 9, 2012 at 8:23 am

    This is from the Kaiser summary here: http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/8061.pdf

    “The tax is equal to 40% of the value of the plan that exceeds the threshold amounts and is imposed on the issuer of the health insurance policy, which in the case of a self-insured plan is the
    plan administrator or, in some cases, the employer.”

    There is a ton of misinformation being flung about by the conservative media. The Kaiser summary is well worth a read.

  102. 713
    July 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Good to know Mitch. I don’t think the misrepresentation was strictly from the “conservative” media. Obviously the effect is much less than I believed, but I still don’t like the idea of them taxing people so they don’t go to the doctor as much. Regardless, thanks for the info.

  103. Mitch
    July 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    The huge problem with the health care market has been that there is no real market — employers provide a plan, the plan negotiates with providers, but the usage is determined by the individual.

    That’s why it’s so important to have some sort of co-pay, so the consumer realizes they are actually buying a service and have an interest in going to efficient providers of that service and in monitoring the costs of the service.

    I suspect any plan that costs over $27K for a family has no copays and practically encourages waste, possibly because the plan organization benefits from the waste.

    All of this is standard CONSERVATIVE ideology; the only reason “conservatives” are against “Obamacare” is that it’s not named Romneycare.

  104. Anonymous
    July 9, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Mitch,
    There is also no market because consumers can’t really control the demand for health care. When you need it, you need. I have been in the position of having no bills for years and then a six figure hospital bill. It is then you appreciate insurance.

  105. Mitch
    July 9, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Anonymous,

    Of course you’re right, to an extent. But hospitalization or emergency medicine is not all of medicine.

  106. High Finance
    July 10, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Consumers can control the demand for health care and that is a sorry leason you’re going to learn in a couple of years.

    With health INSURANCE the cost of health CARE is small. With the cost of health care is relatively insignificant more people on insurance means they will use health care more often often times unnecessarily. Demand WILL go up it is a certain fact.

    Supply will not increase. In fact supply may decrease since government run health care will cut the fees doctors may charge. Doctors will retire earlier.

  107. High Finance
    July 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Demand will go up and supply will go down.

    Since prices will be controlled by the government that can only mean service must go down. Longer wait times, fewer services available will happen.

    If Obamacare is not repealed people 20 years from now will damn us for our shortsightness and stupidity.

  108. Mitch
    July 10, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    HiFi,

    The amazing thing about health care is that when people get good preventive and early care when they need it, they end up needing fewer services later on. Ounce of prevention and all that. Check out the Forbes article I linked to above, and just think of the ACA as Romneycare if it makes you feel better.

    By nudging the country an inch or two in the direction of basic decency, the Obama administration will end up saving us all money while letting even the little people see doctors. Maybe, just maybe, in another decade or two we’ll collectively realize that when everyone has guaranteed health care, there’s no more reason to have private health insurers. Or maybe not.

  109. High Finance
    July 11, 2012 at 7:19 am

    The government health insurance plans will effectively drive out the private insurers within a few years. The reason is the government plan will cost less because it will be subsidized by the taxpayers.

    The only private insurance plans left will be a couple that cater to the extremly wealthy.

    Politicians will then dictate to the American people what we are allowed and not allowed in the way of health care. People should shudder at the very thought of that.

  110. Mitch
    July 11, 2012 at 8:31 am

    This article should be required reading for anyone who intends to discuss health care costs: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional/worst-tb-outbreakin-20-years-kept-secret/nPpLs/

    For those with limited attention spans, here: “At that point, a disease that can cost $500 to overcome grows exponentially more costly. The average cost to treat a drug-resistant strain is more than $275,000, requiring up to two years on medications.”

  111. Anonymous
    July 11, 2012 at 10:19 am

    The reason the government plan will cost less is because there won’t be hundreds of millions of health care dollars wasted on paper shuffling parasites who provide no health care. Its easier to replace politicians who don’t do the people’s bidding than it is to find an affordable insurance policy these days. People who like dictatorial CEO’s more than democratically elected and accountable politicians are so strange.

  112. High Finance
    July 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    10.19am has not even a smidgen of how the real world and the government works.

  113. Anonymous
    July 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    HiFi thinks that is an intelligent rebuttal.

  114. What Now
    July 11, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    7:22, Dart Finance is delusional.
    Too many years carrying water as a low level lackey parasite for the new pathocracy.

  115. Anonymous
    July 12, 2012 at 8:48 am

    This is a brilliant essay by the NYTimes Editorial Board:

    The Road to More Jobs
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/12/opinion/the-road-to-more-jobs.html?hp

  116. July 16, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I have long considered Hamilton to be the worst of the Founders and the source of much mischief, but the excerpts reproduced here are dead on target. Credit where due.

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