[FoRK] Just the facts, ma'am

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Fri Feb 27 10:31:37 PST 2009

Jeff Bone wrote:
> This is specifically for Luis, Lucas, and particularly Stephen.
> You guys strenuously "objected" to my assertion last fall that Obama's 
> health care plans simply *had,* by any reasonable means of 
> back-of-the-envelope estimation, to cost far more than the number his 
> team had been tossing around, $65B / year.  Looks like Obama's 
> administration itself provides my vindication.
> http://blog.objectmentor.com/articles/2009/02/26/10-papers-every-programmer-should-read-at-least-twice 
> "He proposed spending $634 billion over 10 years as a "down payment" 
> toward overhauling health care, including expanding insurance coverage 
> to the 46 million Americans now lacking it.  ...Aides acknowledged 
> that his health-care plan would cost more than $634 billion but said 
> Obama wanted to start identifying where the money would come from."
> So $634B / 10 years ~= $65B / year.  Combined with the amount 
> allocated under SCHIP and we're
So, he's sticking to his $65B/yr. estimate so far...  That seems much 
better than your predictions.  Spinning it as a "down payment" _is_ 
maneuvering for more, however that doesn't mean that he's deviated from 
the health platform he first laid out.  Are you saying that any new 
proposals break some implied campaign promise that "this is all we will 
> already over the originally "proposed" amount, and *we haven't even 
> accomplished goal one*, i.e. "insuring the uninsured."  (SCHIP only 
> accomplishes a small portion of that.)  And the aids themselves now 
> admit that this isn't the whole price tag yet.  (I would add, not by a 
> long shot.)
My memory was that he promised to "make health insurance available to 
all Americans" in some reasonable way.  As I pointed out, he did not 
promise to provide and pay for health insurance for all uninsured.
> Round 3 goes to Bone.  Let me know when you guys start to see the 
> light, mmmkay?
If you say so.
> I don't know what's worse:  a completely illiterate president 
> surrounded by assholes, or a completely innumerate one surrounded by 
> well-meaning idiots.  (Not that both configurations weren't / aren't a 
> bunch of arrogant spendthrifts....)
The former has been worse so far.  And we have a long way to go for parity.
> jb
> PS - so how do you guys like Spendulous II:  Porkapalooza?
> http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/feb/26/obama-health-and-education-022609/ 
> "Among the recipients of federal largesse is the Polynesian Voyaging 
> Society of Honolulu, which got a $238,000 "earmark" in the bill.The 
> group organizes sea voyages in ancient-style sailing canoes like the 
> ones that first brought settlers to Hawaii.The sailing club has a 
> powerful wind at its back in the person of Sen. Daniel Inouye 
> (D-Hawaii), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee...  
> But the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense calculates that 
> there are an astonishing 8,570 earmarks at a cost of $7.7 billion."
So, out of $7.7B, the best example they could only point out $238K for a 
possibly reasonable cultural preservation / education program?  I'm 
going to guess that somewhere else in the US, the government spends 
significantly here and there for American history education and 
preservation.  This sure seems like the narrow-minded white Republican 
being shocked that "the other" gets some funding, funding they clearly 
don't understand since it sounds so exotic.

After a long break, I finally watched a couple Daily Show's late last 
night, online.  He made the best observation about Jindal's 
counter-state of the union's volcano spending crack: [Paraphrased]: "So, 
the senator from Louisiana suggests that we not prepare for natural 

I completely agree that the earmarks are bad in many cases, perhaps even 
a majority of cases.  The reality is that this is the way that things 
get done.  I generally assume some "overhead", write it off as cost of 
doing government, and measure it as a percentage of the overall bill.


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