Tuesday, March 23, 2010

With the New Health Insurance Legislation ... What Happens to the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan?

I've gotten asked the above question multiple times the past few weeks. Here's what I know:

The New Health Insurance Reform legislation will impact:

Lifetime Maximum Benefit Payments -- currently the max is $2 million per participant or dependent. The new health bill eliminates these caps.

Dependents' Health Coverage -- right now MPI Health Insurance covers participants' children to age 19 (age 23 if they're a full-time student.) This will rise to age 26.

Tax on "Cadillac Plans" -- one of the contentious parts of the Senate version of the health care bill was this levy. Organized labor negotiated higher caps and a later kick-in date for the provision, so the tax now doesn't take effect until 2018, by which time, several labor contract cycles will have happened and unions and guilds will have hopefully made accommodations in the structure and costs of their respective plans ...

I'm anything but an expert, but I've followed the progress of the new legislation and read about many of its details; participants in the MPIPHP won't be seeing any sizable changes in the Plan because of the new Federal legislation. Certainly nothing anytime soon.

The bigger problem for all Union/Guild health plans in the entertainment industry (WGA, SAG, DGA, IATSE) has been escalating health costs. The Motion Picture Industry Health Plan's cost inflation has run below the national average by 1-2% year after year, yet still has annual increases of 8-10%.

These kinds of run-ups can't go on forever. Either more money has to be kicked into the Trust Fund, or the Health Plan has to be redesigned to lower costs. For the MPIPHP, it's been some of both: Employers have contributed more dollars, and Plan participants have endured higher out-of-pocket expenses. (One example: Emergency Room visits used to be free of charge, then they went to $50, now they are $100.)

There are ways for MPIHP participants to lower their health care costs inside the plan. In future posts, I'll go over various strategies. For now, know that the new health bill will not change the coverage that TAG members receive in any large way.

(Writer Craig Mazin comments on the health bill's impact on the Writers Guild's health plan here.)

Add On: List of immediate benefits of the bill here.

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

THIS is FANTASTIC! Thankfully,, it means the end of "death panels" and paying for other people's health care via emergency rooms, which is far more expensive than real health care.

Remember, of the previous 22 reconciliation bills, 16 were republican (including the 2 corporate tax cuts bush gave to his buddies in big business that spead us, along with an un-neccessary war to the current economic debacle).

And, wingnuts have used "deem and pass" far more than members of the Democratic Party have.

Majority rules. And Americans are happy. Stocks are up, millions will have health care, and we'll all save money.

GREAT NEWS!

"Mission Accomplished." Only this time, for real. And with far less death.

Anonymous said...

That's "sped" us....

Steve Hulett said...

Uh oh. The political back-and-forth begins ...

Anonymous said...

The tab for this bill is pushed off on our children. Consider the taxes used to pay this. They don't start until 2018.

Thats ABSURD.

Name one single bill or law that offset the price eight years down the road. Name one.

Anonymous said...

This IS GREAT NEWS!

Now we can be just like europe. If we're lucky we can have the same wonderful economy that Greece has!

Anonymous said...

...or something approaching the kind of comprehensive health care that every single other western nation has?

Germany and France are doing alright, as is the UK. Guess what? They have health care for their citizens. How can ANYONE in the US be against it?


Naysayers: unless you've had to suffer NO insurance or going bankrupt because of health care you have no right to bitch about this. Nothing's perfect(DUH), but suggesting the financial misdealings of Greece have fuck all to do with health care coverage is ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

The tab for this bill is pushed off on our children.

Yes. Much like Operation Iragqi Freedom, Medicare Part D, The Hank Paulson bank bailout ...

What's new?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

have any of you actually been a patient in a hospital in Europe? often times is a horrifying experience; no privacy, not clean, no screens on the windows, bugs ... Many doctors are not properly trained, and patients often come out of the hospital with more problems than when they checked in. fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Ok, great pep rally. Now can we please confront the massive financial disaster waiting in the foyer and ask if it will allow us to create a real economy again, or is it already looting the kitchen? Judging by the state of the Euro now, I seriously doubt anything can be done.

I am very happy we have the first social bill in what seems like a century, but the speed now at which our western economies are unraveling makes this victory the shortest in human history.

We finally caught up with Europe! Yay! Oh, wait, where did Europe go? Hello? Europe? Are you there? Helllooooooo?

Anonymous said...

I have been without health insurance off and on throughout my life because of job switching (and graduating college), and man oh man does it suck. Ive suffered injuries and illness almost every time Ive been without insurance, and trust me, you will be paying those bills the rest of your life.

Im so happy this passed, its such a step in the right direction. Sure it will present future problems, but the quality of life of every American will improve because of this.

Anonymous said...

have any of you actually been a patient in a hospital in Europe? often times is a horrifying experience

Then its our job to make it a better experience than that. No one is taking away private healthcare. In fact, many have argued (probably correctly) that being a medical professional will become even more lucrative than it is now, since you'll have a larger patient base.

To me, its simple: keep the doctors and nurses and techs and scientists paid well, and our medical care will continue to be great. Getting rid of top-skimming risk-management insurance companies only drives more money to the medical professionals.

Anonymous said...

The massive "financial debacle" was thanks to bush giving corporate communists their way. The American Taxpayer got screwed.

republicans want something for nothing. It cannot be.

We have to pay the piper. It takes a real man to own up to the facts.

Mission Accomplished.

Anonymous said...

Remember, the "individual mandate" provision so "reviled" by republicans....was PROPOSED BY THE REPUBLICANS!

It's not an opinion, it's a fact, with the public record to back it up.

WAHH!

Anonymous said...

Please, cease with the Democrat/Republican talking points already. Nothing gets solved regurgitating sound bites. What you save in healthcare will be erased by coming oil increases. Healthcare and financial reform is a sideshow to the big picture. Get on with it, already. All labor should watch this. Management, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYuLjGQQ-jg&feature=player_embedded

Anonymous said...

The people talking about how bad hospitals are in Europe have no idea what they're talking about. Becham flew to Europe to get his ankle worked on by socialized medicine, instead of staying here.

As far as Greece, they definitely have no idea what they're talking about. Greece's economy went off a cliff because they were so heavily involved in our derivatives market while having no regulation to protect the people. Look it up... it's fact.

Anonymous said...

Underneath all of the bitching and whining and moaning and talk of the socialist sky falling, ultimately this is a human rights issue.

People for health reform believe its the right of every American to have healthcare.

People against it think it's a privilege.

Personally, I believe its a right, just like police and military and fire protection. You know, things that help protect your life. But some people are also against welfare and unemployment benefits, so to each their own. For me, I totally support my taxes going to things that help struggling Americans, especially when I see so much superfluous spending going towards other things like Taco Bell for our soldiers and super high-tech bombs.

Anonymous said...

The rate of infant mortality in the US is higher than in most European countries, and our life expectancy is shorter, all while we're paying a MUCH greater percentage of our GDP into health care. Something was wrong with that picture.

RushLimbaugh said...

YEAH! Why should I pay for someone else's health bill...

Our kids will have to pay the taxes on this...

From my cold dead hands!

I'm gonna move to Costa Rica...well maybe not...

Slavery should be reinstated...oh wait....

Steven said...

I lived in one of those "socialist" European countries for ten years. There was no noticeable difference in the quality of the health care. The people who live there are more than happy with it. At first, it felt strange going to the doctor and leaving the office without even having to come up with a co-pay, or not being harassed by aggressive medical collection agencies, but after a little while, it made perfect sense.

Maybe the crowded primary care waiting rooms had fewer designer furnishings, but the emergency rooms were practically empty. Unless I wanted to be treated by the dean of the medical university, there were no restrictions on choice of doctor or medicine. Even alternative and holistic medicine was covered. The facts are that people are healthier and live longer under this kind of system. And, guess what? The insurance companies were thriving, too. I still remember the huge billboards occupied with advertising for rival major medical insurance companies.

Ninety percent of the dire predictions and horror stories that the right came up with to resist this long overdue, common sense measure was bullshit; shameless fear mongering. They took advantage of many American's provincialism and isolation. Generally, Americans don't travel much, so they can be told anything. Now, it's the deficit, or the debt, or the burden on "future generations."

Quiz: Who said, "Deficits don't matter."? Answer: Dick Chaney. I guess he meant, REPUBLICAN deficits don't matter. They took a bad gamble. They tried the Newt/1994 strategy and it failed. Campaigning on this issue in November will be even more disastrous for them. They better give up their phony populism movements and buy a clue or they will have to change their mascot from elephant to Do-do bird.

Anonymous said...

I cant believe how well the "socialist" label sticks though. I hear it every time this debate comes up and people sound so moronic when they use it.

It speaks volumes to the ignorance of the masses. But the good thing about being ignorant is that it's better then being unintelligent. Hopefully in time people will learn and realize this is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Aren't there enough political blogs that we have to clog this site with the rantings and ravings of quasi-marxists?

Anonymous said...

I'm a 34-year old VFX artist whose applications for insurance were rejected three times by three different insurers because of a preexisting condition. I'm grateful that this law passed.

Steve wrote: "The bigger problem for all Union/Guild health plans in the entertainment industry (WGA, SAG, DGA, IATSE) has been escalating health costs. The Motion Picture Industry Health Plan's cost inflation has run below the national average by 1-2% year after year, yet still has annual increases of 8-10%.

These kinds of run-ups can't go on forever..."


Steve, things might get better soon. Thanks to the cost controls in the new health reform law, the MPIPHP might soon see some relief.

:-)

Steven said...

"Aren't there enough political blogs that we have to clog this site with the rantings and ravings of quasi-marxists?"

Apparently there is plenty room for the rantings of crypto-fascists. If you can't make sense, there is always name calling.

Universal health care is not, nor is it a sign of, any political philosophy. It's just plain old, humane, practical common sense. It literally saves lives. To block it in the name of defending some political ideal is barbaric.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to be the first to note this since its been ignored in all of these comments.

The health care systems in France and Germany and the like were subsidized by the good ol' United States for the past half century.

After Europe tore itself apart during WWII, the United States provided a military presence there to hold off Russia from annexing those nations. The money that they would have spent on military they instead used to build up a national health care system. So please stop waving around Europe as an example of what can be done 'if we were so inclined'.

It can be done if we find another nation to subsidize the effort. Any ideas?

The health care system in this nation needs reform, but this bill isn't it. This bill is a massive tax on all citizens while the real villains - the health insurance companies - get off scott free.

Anonymous said...

This bill is a massive tax on all citizens while the real villains - the health insurance companies - get off scott free.

If it means all Americans get access to health care, I don't care if the health insurance companies are run by Chernobog himself.

That said, the insurers are NOT going to "get off scott-free." Insurance companies must spend 80% on health care for small-group insurance and 85% for large-group insurance, starting in 2011. If the insurer collects too much and the customers use too little health care, the difference must be rebated to customers.

Insurers will soon have to profit from volume instead of from cherry-picking customers.

Anonymous said...

>The health care systems in France and Germany and the like were subsidized by the good ol' United States for the past half century.

They 'were' financed. Hardly relevant today. And Europe has no need for a standing army, unless you think Putin or the Chinese plan on marching west, which is pure folly. Bring the troops in the Middle East home and sign over that check written to the military-industrial complex to the healthcare bill, merging it with veterans programs. Problem solved.

Or is the US still under the impression that it is still a superpower, as our nostalgic media love affair with HBO WWII specials seems to suggest?

Anonymous said...

It's socialistic propaganda to call healthcare a "right". There is nothing constitutional about it. What other cherished American "right" has ever required that we diminish another's liberty? The heavy hand of government will now compel every American to exercise their so-called "right" to healthcare. The government will take from some to give to others? When in the history of our country have we had to secure a right by trampling on the liberties of others. This "right" will be possible -- in the words of Karl Marx -- by taking from citizens "according to their ability" and giving to others "according to their needs."

How much healthcare will the taxpayer have to pay for? Does it include the most advanced or experimental treatment? What if a cure for cancer was found but treatments cost 10 million dollars? Do we all have a "right" to that? Should taxpayers subsidies smokers, drug abusers and dare-devils? Should healthy low-income working young people subsidize the healthcare costs of those who a wealthier and sicker?

Those who call heathcare a "right" must envision an America much different that what the constitution (that Barack Obama swore to uphold and defend) intended.

Anonymous said...

Should taxpayers subsidies smokers, drug abusers and dare-devils? Should healthy low-income working young people subsidize the healthcare costs of those who a wealthier and sicker?

In any insurance pool, the healthy people pay for sick people. That's how health insurance works. If you are insured, you are already paying for someone else's health care. Your insurer uses your monthly premiums to treat "smokers, drug abusers and dare-devils" right now.

---

Second, doctors don't work for free. If an uninsured person gets sick, goes to the emergency room and can't pay, the doctors must still get paid. Under the old American system, guess who paid for the cost of the uninsured?

YOU.

Under the old system, hospitals regularly overcharged private insurers to pay for the cost of treating uninsured people. Your insurer then turned around and raised YOUR premiums to pay for the cost of treating uninsured people.

Sometimes overcharging private insurers isn't enough. To keep up with the cost of treating the uninsured, sometimes the hospitals need to dip into state coffers to keep their doors open. That comes out of YOUR taxes.

Under the new law, most of the once-uninsured Americans will have to pay for their own health insurance, instead of freeloading off of you.

You should be happy about this.

Steve Hulett said...

It can be done if we find another nation to subsidize the effort. Any ideas?

China. They already own a lot of our debt. I'm sure they'll be happy to underwrite this new enterprise.

We just issue more bonds.

Steve Hulett said...

What other cherished American "right" has ever required that we diminish another's liberty? The heavy hand of government will now compel every American to exercise their so-called "right" to healthcare.

Let's not forget: The "individual mandate" Republicans now hate was a Republican proposal.

You might disagree with it (and it doesn't bother me if you do), but it's a tad disingenuous for the folks who proposed it as a counter to "HillaryCare" now denounce it.

Who are we kidding?

(Apparently rubes who have short memories.)

Anonymous said...

You're being disingenuous, Steve. Whether it's an individual mandate to buy private insurance, or a single-payer government run program -- which most Democrats wanted but were opposed by other Democrats -- the outcome is the same. Republicans never wanted to board this sinking ship. They knew it was un-seaworthy no matter how many leaking holes they tried to plug. Don't blame Republicans for any of this. For good or ill this is owned 100% by dems.

Anonymous said...

For good or ill this is owned 100% by dems.

I hope you're right, Anonymous. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is now trying to take credit for the new health reform law, even though he did not vote for it.

It's not fair for the Republicans to try to steal credit for health reform from the Democrats.

Anonymous said...

"They 'were' financed. Hardly relevant today."

Its completely relevant. The history and development of the system you are citing is 100% pertinent to the conversation.

Basically you just got a lesson in history that you were too high to learn the fist time in highschool. If you need anymore let me know. I'll be happy to better you and put your ignorance on display once again.


"And Europe has no need for a standing army, unless you think Putin or the Chinese plan on marching west, which is pure folly."


BUT THEY DID.
You has a disturbing disconnect going on between the present and the past. Perhaps you should just sit this round out, instead of posting moronically crafted thought trains that invariably end in a dead end.

Anonymous said...

"China. They already own a lot of our debt. I'm sure they'll be happy to underwrite this new enterprise."

"We just issue more bonds."

Okay, you are being snarky, correct? The global question is no joke, and when, not if the demand for these bonds drops, forcing even higher interest rates in order to sustain the rate at which the central bank has to unload our stream of junk, then you and I will be buying it, and that will indeed be a whole new world. Forget healthcare, we will all be living a very strange and different new life, for better or worse. And we will all despise politicians through a new lens. No joke.

Anonymous said...

Um, republicans were the ones promoting the "individual mandates."

That's not an opinion. It's a fact. With lots of public record supporting it.

A majority of Americans want this bill. And the "arm twisting" any Democratic party members did is NOTHING compared to the underhanded tactics the disgraced Texas representative tom delay used. Not even close. What a scumbag he was.

Steve Hulett said...

Okay, you are being snarky, correct? The global question is no joke, and when, not if the demand for these bonds drops, forcing even higher interest rates in order to sustain the rate at which the central bank has to unload our stream of junk, then you and I will be buying it, and that will indeed be a whole new world.

Anon, I don't disagree with what you're saying.

The trouble here is that most of the Republican establishment had minimal trouble with an unfunded Medicare bill ($500+ billion); no trouble with $700 billion dropped into Iraq (cheered on by the corporate media); no trouble with the Wall Street bailout.

NONE of the above, I hasten to add, was paid for.

So you'll have to excuse me if I have nothing but a horse laugh for the Republican twits who are now all nipply about deficit spending. Where the fuck were they from 2002 to 2008?

And let me make a full disclosure here. BEFORE the Paulson TARP bailout, I called and wrote EVERY one of my congressional reps and urged them to vote NO. I was ignored.

There might be room for legitimate complaints about our current spending and deficit, but the GOP isn't the party to credibly make them. Not to anyone who has the flimsiest grasp of history.

Anonymous said...

"Its completely relevant. The history and development of the system you are citing is 100% pertinent to the conversation."

This has been said here before. Look, we get it, you support national defense over healthcare. Defense first. That's been the neocon logline since Reagan, they burned it into us pretty good. No need to name call, Maverick.

Anonymous said...

You know you're getting to lefties when they start dropping "F" bombs.

Anonymous said...

>Where the fuck were they from 2002 to 2008?

And I agree with you as well. I have no patience for the Republican establishment. But politics aside, the math on the global front is what all policy lives or dies on, no matter how many laws written or votes cast. The debt will cast the final vote, it does with all administrations, especially today. We were all pushed over the edge a long time ago. I do hope we come out okay on the other side.

Anonymous said...

It's socialistic propaganda to call healthcare a "right".

No propaganda. I clearly labeled it as my opinion.

When in the history of our country have we had to secure a right by trampling on the liberties of others

What liberties are being trampled? Are you talking about taxes?

Anonymous said...

You know you're getting to lefties when they start dropping "F" bombs.

What are you, Mormon? Grow up.

Anonymous said...

Um, republicans were the ones promoting the "individual mandates."
That's not an opinion. It's a fact. With lots of public record supporting it.




WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.

There are a number of republicans that support madates. There are a number of democrats too. Key democrats like Charles Schumer who statd:

"If you have to make a choice when there are limited dollars, it seems to me this is the best choice,"

But neither party has endorsed the idea fully. So please stop tyrying to assess blame of the most unsavory aspect of the bill to the party that didn't have one person vote for it. You must be parroting Keith Olberman. It shows.

The bottom line that that we are all subsidizing the for-profit insurance companies with the mandate. And you know what, the democrats OWN this legislation. That might sting and you might not like that, but thats the consequence of pushing through a piece of legislation in a back room without media coverage and refuting the other party.

Mandates are the republicans idea? Hardly. But lets pretend they were - then they are the great idea that NONE OF THEM VOTED FOR.

The individual mandate is very dodgy and is a boon for insurance companies. The democrast gave it to them with all of their votes.

The republicans are scott free on this.

Anonymous said...

Yes, thankfully come election time NO Republican will be able to claim they helped the American public by giving them health care. They can also tell the voters they are also against Social Security and Medicare while they're at it and believe that the rich should get tax breaks and not the poor.
Go ahead and blame the democrats for all these things....

Let's see how that works for you...

Anonymous said...

Medicare and Social Security are going to go belly up in either 2014 or 2016 because of this health care bill and the american taxpayer will be hit with the huge tax increase to pay for the money that it doesn't have.

Yes, the republicans will be very very happy that they didn't vote for this then.
But by all means, continue your desperate attempts to blame the mandate on people who didn't contribute one single solitary vote towards this bill.

Great argument!!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry...we're good with the Gop (or the 'Party of No' or the 'Sarah Palin Party' or the FOX Party or whatever they're known as now)

We'll take our chances - you take yours. My guess is the Repubs running for office shortly will blink first and start taking credit for quite a bit of the bill.

Anonymous said...

My guess is the Repubs running for office shortly will blink first and start taking credit for quite a bit of the bill.

You guessed correctly. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley has started taking credit already.

Anonymous said...

"It's socialistic propaganda to call healthcare a "right"."

"...Endowed by their creator with certain unalienable RIGHTS. That among these are LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.."

You must be from Texas, knowing these words were written by that old Socialist, Thomas Jefferson.

It's not that the righty wingnuts are unfamiliar with the Right to Life, it's just that they think it was only intended to apply to unborn children, not adults who are dying of Cancer because they were dropped by their health insurance companies.

Anonymous said...

Texas is the poster child for states rights and anti-government fervor. But state 'educators' voted to minimize the role that Jefferson played in American history. Hayseed conservative religious dumbshits.

So who should we fear more, conservative religious dumbshits who consume cheap oil in the Middle East or conservative religious dumbshits who consume cheap oil in Texas?

Anonymous said...

Texas ia also one of the most vibrant and highest-growing economies in the U.S, the overall employment recently grew by 2.9 percent, as opposed to California(or the Greece of America) where we are in the middle of a fiscal crisis and probably won't be able to pull out of it. There is a 107 percent difference in growth between California and Texas.

Call them ignorant, but at least they know how to maintain a stable economy. Which is much much more than one can say for this state - which is failing on every level.

Anonymous said...

-but at least they know how to maintain a stable economy. Which is much much more than one can say for this state - which is failing on every level.

Texas leads the nation in consumption of energy. California is number two. Their contrasting politics is window dressing on the underlying reality. But unlike California, they consider cheap energy a right, one that has no cost. Much like every other energy economy in the world, which is why in Saudia Arabia you pay 5 cents per gallon. Every oil producing powerhouse tends to be an oil consuming powerhouse. That is their stable economy. It is not the result of some mythical DIY pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps populace. The Texas face is a myth. It's all about energy, and Texas sucks it. Literally. And with fundamentalist fervor, apparently. Much like the Middle East.

Anonymous said...

Your analogy is absolutely moronic. Texas uses the most energy? Per person or because it is the second most populous state? Did the size of Texas figure into your simplistic observation? You use statistics like a drunk uses a lamp post. For support rather than illumination.

1.5 million people left California last year alone. It is a state being bankrupt by public labor unions. Ou payouts to them are, by every single measure, completely unsustainable.

More on the difference of California's economic policies to Texas' here:
http://tinyurl.com/yeycpxe

Anonymous said...

Wow, more oilman Anschutz propaganda. You are yet another patsy of the energy elite and you don't even know it. Two Bush dynasties and three wars weren't enough for you? Hayseed.

If you are interested in facts, you just need to go to Texas's own published figures. They have graphs. You do know how to read those, correct?

http://www.window.state.tx.us/finances/captrade/tx_energy_quickfacts.html

Howard Jarvis' small government Reagan Revolution gutted California. It's the original small government anti-tax crusade. It is tired, it is old, and it is hayseed.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1904938,00.html

And Texas state educators now apparently want to create whole new generations of you morons.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, we're in a budget crisis - according to Kevin O'Leary's WIDELY refuted and laughable article - because California doesn't have high enough taxes!

And its all Reagan's fault!

Pray tell: what should the taxes in California be??


P.S. Thats a rhetorical question.

P.S.P.S. You are a total fucking idiot.

Anonymous said...

Also worth noting:
It wasn't Reagan that created Proposition 13.

Great article though!!!

Well done!!!

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Anonymous said...

No, but the Howard Jarvis movement dovetailed perfectly into the small government Reagan revolution manifesto, which over the course of just a few short years, became corrupted into bloated defense spending. The small tax conservatives painted themselves into a corner, which pushed them directly into the arms of the Fed and Wall Street financial wizards who were more than happy to supply mechanisms of debt to support their new economy. Clinton rode with the global tidal wave of consumerism that was unleashed, and neoconservatives did not touch what, by 2000, was considered the holy cornerstone of American economic power, which is why the only thing Bush had to say to inspire sacrifice in everyone after 9/11 was to tell them to go shopping. What happened to asking them to pay? Pitch in? How pathetic. That's your small government. Get elected on promises of low taxes and spend through deregulation and Federal Reserve acrobats. You don't have to sacrifice anything - you don't have to pay into the system because the magic of the free market, ie the magic of the global high-energy consumerism rip-off, will pay for everything. You don't even have to pay for three wars or actually fight or support the war yourself through mandatory civil service because it is all paid for. Magic Black Box. So the black box vomits now, and you tea party morons go blaming big government. What?!?

Californians pay high taxes for a variety of reasons, yes, one of which is public unions gone awry, but that is a small part of the total picture. Environmental standards are high because, god forbid, people actually give a crap about the land beneath their feet and air they breath. Imagine that! How fucking repulsive!

We are all in debt because the economy that the Reagan revolution unleashed after the collapse of manufacturing is based on consumerism, and at every level of the game, from federal to state to local, the incentive is built in for you to spend and spend a lot. Subprime and the collapse of credit standards was simply the final levy that burst after they couldn't deregulate anymore. Fannie and Freddie unfortunately dived into the game holding hands with their Wall Street counterparts. And since all of this economic facade is energy-intensive, the oil and gas oligarchies win, and you, the citizen, lose. Every. Single. Time. No matter if you believe in higher or lower taxes, first world 'wealth' and standard of living all share the common denominator of energy. High individual mobility, global distribution of food and consumer products, communications and technology, healthcare, all of it disappears overnight without enormous amounts of energy supplying the facade. The low tax argument and the labor/management argument are irrelevant when compared to what really effects your life and the choices you make every second of every day. Energy oligarchs even own every choice you get to make - THEY PROVIDE ALL OF THEM.

And you make yourself look an idiot when you quote editorials funded by an old conservative oilman like Anschutz.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read any of that.

California BY ALL ACCOUNTS has been a liberal state with liberal policies - and in being so has failed because of them.

Don't try to invert reality here to save face. Everyone knows the score. Your ass is sucking swamp water on this issue.

You actually think that we need higher taxes? Silk screen that on a t shirt so everyone cansee you coming and avoid talking to you.
You are a grade A dunce and you are wasting my time.

buh bye.

(get the facts right next time before you argue)

Anonymous said...

and you, my little yellow rose, keep a-wearin' that Sarah Palin T.

Anonymous said...

Okay, here are some more facts for you since you seem to be in dire need of so many of them.

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=108356952517874&_fb_noscript=1

Jhon smith said...

have any of you actually been a patient in a hospital in Europe? often times is a horrifying experience; no privacy, not clean, no screens on the windows, bugs ... Many doctors are not properly trained, and patients often come out of the hospital with more problems than when they checked in. fantastic.

Bhimashankar said...

The rate of infant mortality in the US is higher than in most European countries, and our life expectancy is shorter, all while we're paying a MUCH greater percentage of our GDP into health care. Something was wrong with that picture.

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