published Saturday, August 29th, 2009

The Ouija Board

about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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JohnnyRingo said...

It's coming through.

O No...No.. No N ONO The walrus was Paul...

Well done Clay. You're clairvoyant. The Republicans knew it all along though. Even if we promise some of the money to put a visage of Reagan up on Rushmore, they were going to vote no.

I swear, Obama's trying to rewind us back to those carefree days of the Clinton era by picking up health care where Hillary left off, a fair share tax for the top rate, and regulatory oversight of corporations, and half the country's screaming like it's the Bolshevik revolution. Quit pretending this is all new.

August 29, 2009 at 3:39 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

No to enlarging the deficit? Better late of the Republicans than never. To "Can you balance the budget?" Democrats in Congress have been saying "No" for 40 years and show no sign of learning "Yes." A GOP Congress balanced some of Clinton's budgets. To cutting the cost of health care while increasing demand, reality itself says no. Nice that the GOP, blue dogs, and Lieberman have taken notice of reality. Buy health insurance for 50 million people without adding doctors while cutting cost without rationing? Ha. (Draw President Obama playing Twister?)
Increase demand while cutting cost? No, according to the laws of economics, unless we vastly increase supply--which could be done, and might be bipartisan-able, but hasn't been suggested. Let nurses and pharmacists compete with doctors, for instance; deregulate. Replace some degree of competition (we could use more) among HMOs and insurance companies with a government monopoly enforced by the nice people who bring us the IRS? No. Bill Buckley of blessed memory founded "National Review" magazine in 1955 saying, We're going to stand athwart the course of History yelling Stop. NR is lively and positive and has done a lot of good work. Enjoy the wonders of "No" in due places.

August 29, 2009 at 6:33 a.m.
moonpie said...

Andrew, the last balanced budget was Clinton's. 1998-2001.

Republicans try to take credit for it. They argue it was the Repbulican Congress that made it possible. Clinton says it was his tax on the wealthy. All of that is debatable. What is not, is that even when you include social security, it was the first balanced budget in many years.

The budget stayed balanced until the G.W. Bush tax cuts and 9-11.

http://cbo.gov/budget/historical.shtml


About the cartoon. My mommy always warned me not to talk to Satan.

August 29, 2009 at 8:18 a.m.
aces25 said...

Why stop with the stereotype there? All you need now is democrat board with "spendspendspend..." and "yes" in the corners for the cartoon to be full circle.

August 29, 2009 at 8:18 a.m.
alprova said...

Wait just a minute Andrew.


"No to enlarging the deficit? Better late of the Republicans than never. To "Can you balance the budget?" Democrats in Congress have been saying "No" for 40 years and show no sign of learning "Yes." A GOP Congress balanced some of Clinton's budgets."


Very little, if any of the budget busting has been done under Obama. $3 trillion dollars has been spent in war efforts that Republicans put us in, and Democrats have been trying to get us out of.

Cheney's been squawking like an old rooster because Democrats are peeling away the layers of the rotten onion that it has become.

And while Clinton may not have been my favorite of Presidents, I do specifically remember him being the one most actively involved in keeping budgets under control. He refused to sign budget bills twice because they were bloated with earmarks.


"Buy health insurance for 50 million people without adding doctors while cutting cost without rationing? Ha."

Okay, let's do nothing. We'll pay for more funerals instead. That's much more humane. Health care costs are only outrageous because the services are over-priced. If grocers could price their products similarly, we'd all be paying $129.99 for a can of tuna.


"Increase demand while cutting cost? No, according to the laws of economics, unless we vastly increase supply--which could be done, and might be bipartisan-able, but hasn't been suggested. Let nurses and pharmacists compete with doctors, for instance; deregulate."

What? Let's have airline pilots compete with taxi drivers. Then we'll all ride cheaper. Is that your conceptual understanding of "deregulation"?

The problem now is that there IS NO regulation. You can't get any more deregulated than the health care industry is at the moment. Anyone who WANTS to be a doctor can certainly get the education. But who can afford that education? The only thing more expensive than a two week stay in the hospital, is 8 years spent in school to get a medical degree. And don't think that this is merely coincidence either.

Turf protecting comes in all shapes and sizes.


"Replace some degree of competition (we could use more) among HMOs and insurance companies with a government monopoly enforced by the nice people who bring us the IRS?"

What possible problem could you have with the IRS? They are, after all, the most efficient and effective collection agency in the world. Right now as we speak, they are going after the Government's fair share of profits banked by prosperous Republicans who have stashed them in foreign banks over decades.

Oh...I'm sorry. I guess I do see the Republican gripe after all. Monopolies are a Republican initiative. How dare the Democrats invade their turf.

August 29, 2009 at 9:02 a.m.
OllieH said...

Really funny cartoon, Clay!

Make a request... any request.

August 29, 2009 at 9:16 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Placing blame on Republicans or Democrats for the economic situation we find ourselves in is counter-productive.Every last one of us is guilty to some degree of the excesses that have gotten us in this mess.Focusing on blame is to delay focus on solutions and the unified effort that will be required to begin to repair the damage that has been done.

The electorate pressures both parties to "deliver the goods".They have done so and now the party is over.The answers and solutions that are needed are not likely to come from those whose jobs depend on giving us ever more,paid for with borrowed money.I suspect that the answers that will resonate must come from low to high;that individuals,small groups,local solutions,will be more powerful than concentrating more power in an ever larger federal government that now seems bound up by the very democratic constraints that were meant to protect us.

The way forward is very unclear and our two party system seems unable to effectively respond to a crisis that both parties created.

August 29, 2009 at 12:03 p.m.
toonfan said...

I'm sorry, nacanuck, but the whole 'affixing blame for the recession is counterproductive, let's move on' argument sounds like somebody who belongs to the political party that's most culpable.

I can certainly understand this line of argument, plus the 'both parties are responsible' addendum, when it comes from the Republicans. Being in control of the White House and both chambers of Congress for most of the past eight years, they can't escape the blame. The best they can hope to do is spread it around.

But understanding who and what caused this recession is vitally important to prevent it from happening again. Standing back from it all, it looks as though the party of 'no', and the economic principle on which it's based, plays a huge part.

It's not what our government did that brought about this calamity, it's what our government didn't do- namely, to regulate investment brokers and Wall Street. Deregulation is the rock on which conservative economic philosophy is built. Well, it looks like that rock was clearly responsible for starting the avalanche that almost buried us all.

You stated that, "our two party system seems unable to effectively respond to a crisis'. There, we're in complete agreement. In my case, however, I believe that the two party system's inability to respond is due to the fact that one of the two parties believes no response is necessary. I know it's tough to have your entire economic belief system shaken to it's core, but to stubbornly hang on to a philosophy after its monumental failure is worse than denial... it's insane.

August 29, 2009 at 1:23 p.m.
nucanuck said...

toonfan

We don't disagree on where the blame lies.The Republican agenda from the early eighties was to starve the beast by lowering taxes below the needs and thereby forcing a contraction in the size of government.That was the beginning of the accelleration of the debt curve that is now in parabolic disaster mode.The entire game plan was/is Republican.Clinton and other Democrats went along with the deregulation,but the course followed was Republican to the core.

But so what if it's mostly the Republican's fault,we're now all in the stew together and it's getting worse.At some point we all have to pull together or continue the descent down to we know not what.

I do not suggest that we should forgive wrongful acts.Investigate and punish the guilty! I would suggest however,that the level and degree of corruption and greed that has seeped into our society over recent decades has fogged our collective view of acceptable behavior.Our moral core has been diluted.To me,there is little doubt that the greeding frenzy on Wall St and Washington is at the core of this moral decay,and it has been bi-partisan.

My earlier comment meant to suggest that solutions may have to come from the grassroots up,instead of from the corrupt head of the beast down.

August 29, 2009 at 4:07 p.m.
miraweb said...

A rather good piece in the Dallas-Fort Worth News today on why blogs bring out the inner idiot in all of us.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/localnews/columnists/jragland/stories/DN-ragland_29met.ART0.State.Edition1.4bf4b57.html

August 29, 2009 at 4:25 p.m.
toonfan said...

nucanuck-

I stand corrected.

I guess I've come to expect the 'let's move on' line being used by those who want to deflect responsibility for the here and now. My apologies for having made that assumption about you.

If the two party system is failing us in Congress, perhaps we need to stop looking to both parties. The Republicans have become so marginalized they have next to no legislative power, yet we still jump through hoops to include them in a solution. Even when they aren't looking for one.

The electorate wrote off the Republican Party last November. I think it's time the Democratic members of Congress did the same thing. We don't need the support of a group who's rallying cry has become, "Don't just do something... Stand there!"

August 29, 2009 at 6:22 p.m.
alprova said...

nucanuck brings up a fantastic point, similar to one that I have made a couple of times. Prior to 1989, the super-rich in this nation gave up 50% of their income to the tax man.

The proportion of rich Democrats to rich Republicans are very lopsided. Those of less moderate means are far more likely to be Democrats. Those with more substantial means are likely going to be Republican. There are exceptions to anything, but the generalization is very valid.

Reversing the lowered taxes on the rich that took place beginning while Reagan was in office is not going to occur without a very big fight. They like very much keeping 65% of their high incomes. Attempts by Republicans to further erode the middle class by taxing them more is not going to sit any better with them either. And the poor STILL don't have anything to take.

As long as there is such a thing as a penalty placed on incomes, we're going to continue to have the class warfare crap that stymies every debate where taxes have to be assessed to pay for social programs.

The rich don't want to pay taxes of any kind. It's true. Why deny it? The rich who do not have incomes, who instead live on amassed wealth are not paying ANY income taxes, so they could not care less about taxation issues. They sit back and laugh at all of us who worry about income taxes.

Changing our system of taxation from that of assessing earned income to one where we pay based on what we spend, will stop all of these debates. Taxes will be proportionate because the rich will still be spending more, and will pay more in taxes than those of us who are at the bottom rung of the ladder.

Politicians love playing football with the income tax issue and they always have. Until people realize that penalizing people for higher levels of achievement is not the best way to go about paying for Government expenditures, then we're going to continue to argue over dollars and cents until the end of time.

Until politicians quit raiding funds collected for one purpose and quit using them for other purposes, then we're never going to achieve a balanced budget.

I hold every politician responsible for reckless use of Government collected funds, for a period extending back at least for the last 50 years. Very few have acted any other way than to have looked at those dollars as anything less than a communal pot to draw from for practically anything under the sun.

It's got to stop.

Most of us discussing this very issue are having to live on less, and so should our Government. When times are good and the dollars are flowing in, then fine, spend them. When the belt tightens, then tighten the spending.

I'll guarantee you that there is plenty of trimming that could be done to pay for health care reform and a public option, without resorting to increasing taxes to pay for it.

Who's looking at that option?

August 29, 2009 at 6:48 p.m.
Sailorman said...

Alprova your point concerning consumption based taxes is right on. I'm afraid the way we're going to see it, unfortunately, will be a VAT in addition to income tax. Never will politicians give up their "football". At least not willingly.

I'll refrain from comment on the rest of what you and Toonfan have been saying. It only gives me a headache :)

August 29, 2009 at 8:38 p.m.
Clara said...

Alprova,

Isn't there a regulatory agency that decides how many medical personnel will be needed? I thought I read that somewhere. That would certainly keep prices up because of scarcity?

Was it the AMA?

I'd also like to know what specific group of people, naming names, put the Health Care Bill together for presentation by the President.

I've reached pp 46 in the version that was given here by miraweb, (I do have a life,and it is VERY slow reading,) and it is worrisome,convoluted, soporific, and the proposals are highly questionable!

Very questionable is the proposal of a Health Insurance Exchange that will offer 3 levels of care, for different prices, of course, that would eliminate the poor from dental and eye care etc. at the lowest level. I'm wondering what the remaining pages hold for my understanding and effort.

Our Dem. Congressman from our district is certainly not in favor of the bill, and he is not a bluedog, I'm sure.

August 29, 2009 at 8:45 p.m.
alprova said...

Clara, I don't know to what extent the AMA controls the level of access to the medical arena by aspiring physicians, but since they are the disciplinary arm called upon to regulate physicians who are brought up on charges, it stands to reason that they would have some control over the numbers accepted into approved colleges for education, again because they do the licensing for the medical community.

There is no official confirmation one way or the other that I have been able to find on the subject of limiting competition. If true, and I happen to think that it is, then it is very likely that limiting the number of candidates for medical school would be a great way to keep the pay of physicians up in the clouds.

I did a little research on the organization and was completely stunned to learn that the AMA supports H.R. 3200 and has firmly denounced the lies being told about the contents of Section 1233, somewhat brought to light, purposely by the quitter we all know as the former Republican Governor, and former Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin.

They clearly consider her recent writings on Twitter regarding Section 1233 to be patently false, which is no great revelation, because the woman is lying through her fingers and the proof of that her lies are contained in the bill.

Two Blue Dog Democrats are from Tennessee and they both have deep pockets that have been filled by the medical sector. I posted those numbers last week, but will refresh some memories today.

Congressman John Tanner, who represents the Memphis metro area has taken in $216,000 from the health care sector.

Congressman Bart Gordon, who represents the east of Nashville area, stretching from Shelbyville to Gallatin metro areas, has taken in $1,173,000 in donations from the health sector.

Neither represent voters in the Chattanooga metro area. Zach Wamp represents most of the Chattanooga metro area, for now at least until he resigns his seat to actively run for Governor, is a Republican, and is most certainly not a Blue Dog. He's blood red and is adamantly opposed to H.R. 3200.

August 29, 2009 at 10:43 p.m.
FM_33 said...

Two Blue Dog Democrats are from Tennessee and they both have deep pockets that have been filled by the medical sector. I posted those numbers last week, but will refresh some memories today. Username: alprova | On: August 29, 2009 at 10:43 p.m.


The players may be diferent Alprova but they work together for the same agenda which is......

Keeping the money in there pockets only.

Plain and simple.

August 11, 2010 at 6:15 p.m.
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