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11 months, 3 weeks ago
  • My own point was not about payments via payroll tax (which largely funds Part A) versus payments from Medicare premiums plus general revenue (which fund B and D). Payments flowing in from individuals would occur through payroll tax, income tax, excise taxes, and premium payments. And, given inflation, how one interprets what an individual pays in versus takes out also does depend on whether amounts are given in constant dollars. My point is that the Cook article would lead readers to the conclusion that there’s a massive (e.g. 3:1) imbalance of expenditures versus payments into Medicare.

    Expenditures from the Medicare H1 trust fund (covering Part A) equaled deposits into the fund as of 2008, but have since begun to exceed deposits (but at this point not by a huge margin). Total Medicare expenditures in 2011 were $549.1 billion. Total income was $530.0 billion, consisting of $514.8 billion in non-interest income and $15.2 billion in interest earnings. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding the point you’re seeking to make?

  • You have to love the sleight of hand that Cook uses – e.g. stating that lots of Americans will draw more from Medicare than they paid in “almost $3 received for every $1 contributed in many cases”. Note the trick addendum words “in many cases”. This is the nature of insurance – under any private insurance plan, there will be plenty of individuals in which catastrophic medical conditions arise, who receive hundreds of dollars in medical coverage outlays for every dollar they paid in. But Cook is trying to mislead the reader into believing that Medicare is paying out $3 for every $1 of revenue it takes in (which is entirely false). I think that move warrants three Pinocchios.

    The article reflects a longstanding tactic out of the Right’s playbook, appealing to the politics of resentment – assuming a pie of fixed size where social groups must fight amongst themselves for the size of their slice, fight for their scraps.

    Moreover, I’m sick of pundits propagandizing about government debt levels, while entirely ignoring the far more consequential issue of private debt levels. Cook and his ilk push austerity programs that cripple economic growth, such as those currently destroying the economies of the Eurozone. Also of note, along these lines – to quote Lambert at Corrente: ” all I can hope is that future historians note that one of the core empirical points providing the intellectual foundation for the global move to austerity in the early 2010s was based on someone accidentally not updating a row formula in Excel.”

  • Really valid point. I see that apparently even her chosen name is based on the shock (electroconvulsive) therapy she was subjected to. In reading various online biographies, she seems to have had a hard life – mental illness, alcoholism, rape survivor, etc. I’ve sometimes seen others wrestling with those kinds of personal demons drift into extreme religiosity. I’d heard some comments about her erratic behavior previously, but never put it together with mental illness.

  • This 2011 interview helps illuminate her unfortunate trajectory toward yesterday’s anti-gay tirade.
    Years ago, I was thinking of pursuing a doctorate in theology. Though I still respect figures like MLK and Bonhoeffer, my more general reaction these days when I encounter Christians talking religion, is to see red – since most of the time it seems to be a vehicle for reactionary beliefs, hypocrisy, and intellectual dishonesty. People trying to force themselves to believe in things that they fundamentally know are fiction, and becoming psychologically brittle and distorted as a consequence. Repressing and castigating themselves and then trying to convince everyone else to join them in that mode.

  • copepod became a registered member

    2013-03-18 21:19:58View | Delete