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Conspiracies, Subsidiarity, and Zombie Economics

November 4, 2011

Well, this is strange. A person called Teresa, proprietor of a blog called Catholibertarian, is going after me for not approving a comment of hers in a timely manner.

Let’s get this out of the way first. I don’t always look at comments, especially if the post is an old one, and the thread has faded. When I saw this one, I approved it. I had not seen her “calling me out” beforehand – I was only alerted to this through back channels by my fellow Vox Novans.

I’ll get to the substance in a moment. But before that: this blog has the annoying habit of reference to “heresy” in Vox Nova. Nothing substantiated. Now here’s the irony. Libertarianism is itself a good candidate for a heretical belief, or at best a “quasi-heretical” belief. There is no such thing as a “Catholibertarian”. This has been the clear and unchanged position of the Church since the 19th century. Pius XI said it forcefully when he condemned both individualism and collectivism as the “twin rocks of shipwreck”.

In other words, while there is a vast area where Catholics can reasonably differ on economics, they are prohibited from embracing either full-scale collectivism or full-scale individualism, which denies or minimizes the social and public character of the right of property. And modern American libertarianism – by attacking the role of the state in regulation or distribution and attacking the idea that property has a public character- falls outside the pale. To use the words of John Paul II said, it is represents the idolatry of the market.

Church teaching is crystal clear on this. As Pius XI said “the right ordering of economic life cannot be left to a free competition of forces” and cannot “be considered and treated as altogether free from and independent of public authority”. Rather, economic life should be “subjected to and governed by a true and effective directing principle”. This is fundamental. We can have legitimate debates over the reach of this directing principle, but we cannot challenge its existence.

Now, to this comment. Here is what Teresa wrote:

“Do you believe in the Catholic social teaching of subsidiarity? As a “right-winger” as you label me and others who believe in less government intrusion into peoples’ lives I believe in the long standing Catholic social teaching of subsidiarity.

Do you think that it would have been a good thing if the U.S. could have avoided attaining a large amount of debt due to Fannie and Freddie having a large part in causing the financial crisis? Do you think that it is good to prop up government entities such as GSE’s, have them compete in the private sector, and keep on bailing them out when they had failed over and over again?”

I will take the two points in turn.

First: subsidiarity.

Here, Teresa seems to miss the whole point of my argument, which is based on subsidiarity. There is no teaching more misunderstood and distorted among American right-wing Catholics than subsidiarity. See posts here and here. Or even better, see the masterful post by Professor Stephen Schneck here. If you look at the world from a libertarian perspective – a bunch of autonomous individuals bound together only by a voluntarist social contract – then you will never understand subsidiarity. Subsidiarity presupposes a harmonious social order as a body-like whole, where everybody has moral obligations to everyone else. The common good of the whole is solidarity; the relationship between the parts is subsidiarity. The higher levels must offer a “subsidy” to the lower levels, but this “subsidy” is to allow them to flourish, so it cannot be too much or too little.

It certainly is possible that a public authority to provide “too much subsidy” (and think of subsidy as “help”, not just in monetary terms). It can create dependency. But it can also provide too little, ignoring a key requirement of justice – what Pope Benedict calls the institutional path of charity, no less important than the private path. But because they don’t understand the theory, the Catholic right does not understand that subsidiarity can also be violated in the private sector, and that it is the role of the government to create the conditions for each part of the social body to flourish. This is Pius XI’s  “true and effective directing principle”, whereby governments must always be “directing, watching, urging, restraining”, to make sure that subsidiary institutions can flourish. Or as John Paul II put it – while the principle of solidarity justifies a direct state role in economic affairs, the principle of subsidiarity justifies an indirect – but no less important – role, to  create “favorable conditions for the free exercise of economic activity”.

So the public authority has a watchdog role that protects small groups from being dominated and swallowed up by larger and more powerful ones. This was indeed the theme of the recent Vatican document on financial regulation, calling for a supranational authority to reduce the “excess subsidy” given toward large and powerful financial institutions in our insufficiently regulated globalized world. In other words, the call for proper regulation springs directly from the principle of subsidiarity.

Second, the zombie economics.

Now this is frustrating. Teresa repeats the lie – so often debunked by so many people – that Fannie and Freddie were somehow behind the financial crisis. See here for a pretty thorough refutation.

Let’s sum it up (again!). The loans that fed the subprime crisis originated overwhelming in private financial institutions. Mortgage originators made the loans, and them sold them to the investment banks to be packaged and repackaged into mortgage-backed securities and CDOs. Mortgage originators had no incentive to make sure people could repay, as they sold off the loans. Neither did the investment banks, as they sold them to final investors, taking huge fees. In fact, it was in everybody’s interest to make sure the interest rates were as high as possible, so the originators often conned homeowners into really bad deals, stuff they knew would blow up somewhere down the road. (This is the whole point of the consumer protection agency). And often, the investment banks deliberately put together the biggest pile of crap, so they could simultaneously lie to their investors that it was a good investment, while privately betting against it (and so making  money from selling it to investors and from it failing later on). Oh, and the investment banks dramatically magnified the risk by not being content with the CDOs themselves. They created synthetic CDOs out of funky derivatives called credit default swaps – since this pumped up risk and leverage way beyond the housing market, it meant that the collapse would be even greater.

This is the crisis. A private sector crisis. Want some statistics? By 2006, private firms were making 84 percent of the subprime loans. From 2002-o5, the Fannie/ Freddie market share fell from 50% to just under 30% of all mortgage originations. This was a huge shift, and reflected the move toward greater toxicity and mendacity. Oh, and subprime losses only accounted for 5 percent of GSE (Fannie/ Freddie) losses – that’s all. It is true that, in the last days of the bubble, the GSEs tried to get in on the action – because the very same “conservative” politicians that are now lambasting them for taking too much risk were back then lambasting them for not being profitable enough, next to the “market”! How history gets rewritten!

In the face of such clear evidence, it really is a shame that these zombie lies get such traction. It’s clear why. The financial industry is more powerful than ever, and goes to great lengths to present a false version of history, to distract attention from their own behavior. It’s funny, Pius XI saw this coming, when he said that, in the financial sector, “an immense power and despotic economic dictatorship is consolidated in the hands of a few”, which seeks to “gain supremacy over the State in order to use in economic struggles its resources and authority”.

Of course, the bulwark against this abuse of power is called subsidiarity. But since the Catholic right doesn’t understand subsidiarity, we are back to square one, and the zombies live on…

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43 Comments
  1. Kurt permalink
    November 4, 2011 3:27 pm

    MM,

    I love Teresa as the beautiful sister in Christ that she is to me. But having given her blog a gander, I don’t think she writes with the serious intellectual depth as do our friends DarwinCatholic or Blackadder. (However misguided they are as well).

    • November 4, 2011 4:59 pm

      I am a beginner at philosophy. While I know the basics of theology/Catholicism it wasn’t until about a year ago at most that I started to learn theology in a more in-depth manner. I am on a journey learning and am open to criticism, guidance, and suggestions. I have more knowledge regarding political issues than I do theology and philosophy. But, now I am integrating politics with theology, and politics with philosophy. I am learning on my own with the help of my husband Kevin. If you took a peek at my mainly political blog you would probably notice more intellectual depth on my part.

      God Bless my brother in Christ.

      • November 4, 2011 11:33 pm

        I am on a journey learning and am open to criticism, guidance, and suggestions.

        A good disposition to have. I’m on a subversive journey myself. ;-)

  2. November 4, 2011 3:59 pm

    Thank you for your response. The only reason I was a little miffed was due to the fact it had been two days and in that two days at least one comment had been posted. Where one knows the blog is a moderated blog that made me suspicious as to why my comment had not been posted. In addition, others in the past had refused to post comments of mine for no apparent legitimate reason.

    I read your post on subsidiarity called Practical Subsidiarity and I am in full agreement with you up until you touch on heath care. Even after that you make some good points worthy of discussion.

    Fannie and Freddie were indeed part of the problem. Government intervention was the main problem with ACORN and the government under the Community Reinvestment Act forcing banks to give out shady loans to people who couldn’t afford the mortgages. Yes, there were those CEO’s who took advantage of people purposefully but that did not constitute the majority of CEO’s. Plus there was a lack of the proper regulations. There can be good regulations which limit corruption and keep financial institutions in check but there can also be regulations which strangle and hurt businesses.

    The crisis was fueled by both the government and the private sector. It would have been nice if Democrats in Congress had heeded Bush’s warning of the possibility of economic calamity but Democrats such as Barney Frank and Maxine Waters claimed everything was OK.

    • November 5, 2011 2:07 pm

      Teresa, I appreciate your conciliatory tone. But I must repeat this point qute clearly: Fannie and Freddie were not responsible for the crisis. You don’t have to like them, but you can’t just change the facts. Facts are facts. Statistics are statistics.

      Likewise, the CRA had absolutely nothing to do wit the crisis. The mortgage originators that extended the vast majority of subprime roles were not even under the auspices of the CRA. And the evidence is clear – CRA lending tended to be quite prudent, beucase it was well reglated (therein lies an important lesson!). And to add to everything else, the timing doesn’t work, as the CRA dates from the 1970s. Again, facts are facts.

      And ACORN…??

      You must realize that these zombie lies – that the crisis was caused by government, the GSEs, and the CRA – all originate with people who are paid heavily by corporate interests to keep the heat away from them. The AEI and Heritage do the “studies”, funded by corporate interests, and Fox News and the rest of the echo chamber turn them into talking points that they repeat over and over and over. But they are still lies. And as Catholics, regardless of our political persuasion, we have a duty to oppose lying.

    • Kurt permalink
      November 4, 2011 8:07 pm

      My best wishes on your spiritual and intellectual journeys.

  3. Cindy permalink
    November 4, 2011 6:46 pm

    I came across a pretty good article the other day that helps explain a little better about all of this. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2008/10/12/53802/private-sector-loans-not-fannie.html
    It’s worth the read. I just wanted to say one little thing. The CRA didnt force banks to make shady loans. Only commerical banks and thrift banks have to follow CRA rules.

    These private non-bank lenders enjoyed a regulatory gap, allowing them to be regulated by 50 different state banking supervisors instead of the federal government. And mortgage brokers, who also weren’t subject to federal regulation or the CRA, originated most of the subprime loans. It’s that lack of regulatation that did us all in. Legal and financial experts have noted that CRA regulated loans tend to be safe and profitable, and that subprime excesses came mainly from institutions not regulated by the CRA….

    Also if you look at CRA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_Reinvestment_Act–It states
    The law, however, emphasizes that an institution’s CRA activities should be undertaken in a safe and sound manner, and does not require institutions to make high-risk loans that may bring losses to the institution,

  4. Cindy permalink
    November 4, 2011 6:49 pm

    I meant to end my sentence with a period. Sorry. :)

  5. November 4, 2011 11:28 pm

    Subsidiarity presupposes a harmonious social order as a body-like whole, where everybody has moral obligations to everyone else. The common good of the whole is solidarity; the relationship between the parts is subsidiarity. The higher levels must offer a “subsidy” to the lower levels, but this “subsidy” is to allow them to flourish, so it cannot be too much or too little.

    This.

  6. John Medaille permalink
    November 4, 2011 11:42 pm

    Let’s clear up one point right now: banks were not required to give “shady loans ” under the CRA. The cra loans were in fact stronger than most and have performed better than simular loans. Most of the loans were made by institutions not covered by the cra. The banks did this to themselves. Or rather, to us.

    • November 5, 2011 2:11 pm

      Exactly!

    • November 5, 2011 2:28 pm

      Due to the loosening of regulations, yes, there were those who were forced to allow loans to go to people they knew couldn’t afford them. The government played a major role in the loosening of regulations.
      Here is an article from a source you probably don’t visit too often :) But you might be surprised where the author places the blame for the financial crisis.

  7. November 5, 2011 7:13 am

    In the framework of our beliefs of limited government – not a big government which strangles freedom and liberty for all and which is a detriment to the common good – Kevin and I invented the neologism “Catholibertarian” which ascribes to Catholic principles, economic principles which promote independence from the State (but not individualism which you confuse with libertarianism – unfettered libertarianism), moral liberty, religious liberty, natural freedom, and human liberty such as Pope Leo XIII denotes in his encyclical Libertas.

    The Compendium on the Social Doctrine of the Church condemns individualism, one which feels they have no obligation to help others or one who is solely centered on the self. This is contrary to libertarianism. You may view American libertarianism as individualism run amok and some who call themselves “libertarians” may have this belief but overall libertarians believe that charity comes from the heart, comes from the person and that it should not come from excessive forced charity as instituted by our State nowadays. This does not constitute individualism as you described above. This is the legitimate debate regarding economics and the role of the government as you stated above. Libertarians believe that government should play a limited role in our lives and that the government should follow the Constitution. Libertarianism does not equal individualism. So to claim that “There is no such thing as a ‘Catholibertarian'” is fallacious. It seems you just needed a better understanding of the neologism.

    • November 5, 2011 11:24 am

      I need to retract this ” moral liberty, religious liberty, natural freedom, and human liberty such as Pope Leo XIII denotes in his encyclical Libertas” part of my previous statement due to my misreading of his encyclical.

    • Kurt permalink
      November 5, 2011 3:30 pm

      Kevin and I invented the neologism “Catholibertarian”

      If you invented the term, you get to define it. That is only fair.

      economic principles which promote independence from the State (but not individualism …

      Neither individualism nor an excessive role for the state seems to allow, if not encourage a strong third sector — trade unions, worker cooperatives, consumer activism, etc..

      libertarians believe that charity comes from the heart, comes from the person and that it should not come from excessive forced charity as instituted by our State nowadays.

      Would it not be an equally objectionable example of forced charity when corporations make donations of their shareholder’ money?

      Libertarians believe that government should play a limited role in our lives

      Most differences are not bi-polar debates but principles at right angles. Libertarians speak first of small government over big government. Liberals speak first of self-government over dictatorship. To us liberals, it is secondary that a free people organize their society by conservative, social democratic, christian democracy,or neo-liberal systems. What is primary and the principle protector of human freedom is democracy and self-government.

      • November 6, 2011 2:35 pm

        Neither individualism nor an excessive role for the state seems to allow, if not encourage a strong third sector — trade unions, worker cooperatives, consumer activism, etc..

        I agree. All of these should be promoted.

        Would it not be an equally objectionable example of forced charity when corporations make donations of their shareholder’ money?

        Possibly but isn’t it possible for shareholders to sell their shares? It is the shareholders’ decision to hold shares in a particular corporation. Unfortunately citizens cannot withdrawal from our government or don’t have much of a choice or control over how the money is delegated to this or that agency or other political entities.

      • Kurt permalink
        November 6, 2011 6:21 pm

        Possibly but isn’t it possible for shareholders to sell their shares?

        Well, that is flawed on multiple levels. If charity must be voluntary, then it is still taking someone’s property without their consent. And even by selling, that is an after the fact action. Thirdly, a shareholder has to know his property is being given away. Currently, corporations often keep this secret. President Obama, liberal Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman and some liberal activists have demanded corporations must at leart disclose some of their contributions. Are willing to support President Obama on this against the strident conservative opposition?

        Unfortunately citizens cannot withdrawal from our government …
        I’m willing to donate my frequent flyer points for a one way ticket for certain opponents of social welfare.

        or don’t have much of a choice or control over how the money is delegated to this or that agency or other political entities.

        This goes to my other point, which you have not answered. Ultimately, conservatives see nothing special about democracy and doubt that America is even currently the world’s greatest democracy. I think that is sad.

        • November 6, 2011 11:00 pm

          Kurt

          “Ultimately, conservatives see nothing special about democracy and doubt that America is even currently the world’s greatest democracy. I think that is sad.”

          The problem is liberals as defined today – those in favor of bigger government – wrongly think that America is a democracy. It isn’t. It is a Constitutional Republic.

          I would love to know which conservatives think that any other countries (democracies) are better than America. Conservatives are the ones who believe in American exceptionalism while progressives want to lead America to be more like Europe.

          How does having a problem with the way that government spends our money or misallocates how taxpayers money is spent go with you claiming that conservatives doubt that this country is the greatest country in the world? That just doesn’t make sense.

          How is that flawed? Essentially as citizens we do not have a choice as to how the government spends money. But if shareholders have a problem with how the corporation spends their money the shareholders have the option to make the choice to sell off their shares. In addition, for some reason you make the leap that there is no way shareholders will recover the money they invested, which in most cases is an incorrect assumption whereas with the government the taxpayers money will not be replaced or paid back to them by the government.

      • Kurt permalink
        November 7, 2011 4:58 pm

        The problem is liberals as defined today – those in favor of bigger government

        Except liberals do not favor big government for big government’s sake.

        How is that flawed? Essentially as citizens we do not have a choice as to how the government spends money.

        To say citizens do not have a choice in how in the US government spends money is to deny the Constitution, our system of government, American exceptionalism, and every things this country stands for. What you saud suggests you don’t believe in America.

        But if shareholders have a problem with how the corporation spends their money the shareholders have the option to make the choice to sell off their shares.

        1. Not if it is kept secret from the shareholders. 2. Not when they learn about it after it has been spent. 3. And it does not meet your deflinition of charity, which you say must be individual.

  8. Anne permalink
    November 5, 2011 8:56 pm

    Libertarianism has until recently been generally understood as out of step with Catholic social doctrine; in fact, the two have always seemed like oil and water. Ayn Rand herself considered her ideas irreconcilable with Catholicism, and was quite happy about that, as I recall. There was no love lost between her and the Church when her books were first published. How, nearly half a century later, American Catholics such as Rep. Paul Ryan think they can reconcile libertarian thinking, including Rand’s, with their religious values is beyond me.

    IMO, MM has done a good job of generally outlining the concepts of solidarity and subsidiarity and what the popes have said about the common good and government’s role. What I’d like to know is how on earth libertarianism, and the specifically American fear of “big government,” can be reconciled with all that, if at all?

  9. November 6, 2011 5:17 pm

    Teresa,

    As a fellow Catholic libertarian, let me first say: welcome! It’s always nice to meet another lover of liberty.

    On the specific issue of the Community Reinvestment Act, I have to say that MM is right, for reasons I have elaborated on here. I think there are some decent arguments that government policy is responsible for the financial crisis on 2008, but both economic theory and evidence suggest that it wasn’t the CRA that was responsible.

    I would agree with you, though, that there is a difference between libertarianism and the condemned doctrine of individualism. Many libertarians are individualists, but there is no necessary connection between the two.

    • November 6, 2011 6:36 pm

      Thanks you for that kind welcome my fellow Catholic libertarian, Blackadder.

      I am not quite sure how CRA wasn’t at least partially responsible for the 2008 financial crisis. I will definitely take a look at your explanation soon.

  10. Anne permalink
    November 6, 2011 5:40 pm

    Maybe I should have been more to the point and asked: How can libertarianism or “Catholibertarianism” or any of the current rightwing political ideologies in the US that require a belief in extreme free market capitalism and a concept of government so limiting that programs such as Social Security and Medicare are considered illegitimate reconcile with a Catholic social doctrine that led the US bishops after World War I to propose a program of social welfare that included government-run old-age insurance and universal health care (as well as a minimum and “family” wage)? FDR himself credited the bishops’ program as a blueprint for his New Deal. Virtually all of the bishops’ proposals were enacted by Roosevelt, except for those pertaining to health care, some of which Democrats have since implemented, including Medicare and much of what’s included in so-called “Obamacare.”

    • November 6, 2011 7:11 pm

      I am not quite sure what is so extreme about limited government. Now, I will admit Ron Paul and others of his ilk go a bit too far but my libertarian beliefs consist of a combination of conservative and libertarian principles.

      I have to research this more but I believe that social security as FDR sold it to the American people was supposed to be of a more limited nature than it’s current form today. I have no problem with social security per se but I do believe that the system needs to be changed to give younger workers a choice of whether they want to stick with the traditional system of social security or save it in a reasonably safe account of their choosing.

      I honestly think “Obamacare” goes against the dignity of the human person as well as against the common good. When you leave bureaucrats in charge of making health care decisions instead of having physicians in concert with patients making health care decisions that violates that dignity of the human person. Plus, Obamacare so far has been hostile to religious institutions and there beliefs. Yes, we needed reform but not changing the whole system as know it, as Obamacare does. I agree with the covering of pre-existing conditions part of it. There are probably a couple other items in Obamacare I agree with but can’t think of at this time. Personally I think we need to dump the insurance companies and go back to the way it was before there were insurance companies but I doubt that that’s feasible at this point in time.

      • Kurt permalink
        November 7, 2011 9:07 am

        I believe that social security as FDR sold it to the American people was supposed to be of a more limited nature than it’s current form today.

        Yes, originally Social Security (Old Age Insurance) did not include benefits for widows and orphans. And it was not until the 1950s that it was extended to the disabled. Both of these extentions were supported by the Catholic Church. We liberals are available 24/7 to have a discussion with our conservative friends about any proposals they have to cut social insurance benefits for widows, orphans and the disabled.

        I honestly think “Obamacare” goes against the dignity of the human person as well as against the common good. When you leave bureaucrats in charge of making health care decisions instead of having physicians in concert with patients making health care decisions that violates that dignity of the human person.

        The Affordable Care Act does not do a single thing to take health care decisions away from physicans or patients. Not a single thing. In fact, it increases consumer rights over health insurance company bureaucrats.

        • November 7, 2011 10:58 am

          The Affordable Care Act seems to be forcing a number of insurance companies to close up shop and thus eliminating the insurance bureaucrats. Now we are left with worse, the government bureaucrats who sit on boards deciding our fate. Yes, worse. I’ve never had a problem with an insurance bureaucrat preventing me from obtaining a necessary medical procedure but I can’t say that’s the same for other health care programs similar to that of Obamacare in other countries.

          I believe social security was only meant to help the individual for a few years and not the length of time that people require its use today. Plus, social security was not meant to be a sole source of income after retirement.

      • Kurt permalink
        November 7, 2011 1:32 pm

        The Affordable Care Act seems to be forcing a number of insurance companies to close up shop

        No, it has not.

        we are left with worse, the government bureaucrats who sit on boards deciding our fate.

        There are no such boards in the Affordable Care Act, deciding the patient’s fate.

        I believe social security was only meant to help the individual for a few years

        You are mistaken.

    • November 7, 2011 11:50 am

      For me, the interesting thing about the Bishop’s program for Social Reconstruction is how limited their advocacy of social insurance actually is. According to the Bishops, “any contribution to the insurance fund from the general revenues of the State should be only slight and temporary.” This is because “the ideal to be kept in mind is a condition in which all the workers would have the income and the responsibility of providing for all the needs and contingencies of life, both present and future. Hence, all forms of State insurance should be regarded as merely a lesser evil, and should be so organized and administered as to hasten the coming of the normal condition.”

      • Kurt permalink
        November 7, 2011 1:09 pm

        According to the Bishops, “any contribution to the insurance fund from the general revenues of the State should be only slight and temporary.”

        And with all due respect to FDR’s personal wisdom, that is exactly where the idea came from to fund OASI from social insurance premiums (FICA) rather than general revenue. The Catholic Church was involved not only in the general concept of Social Security but even the program details. The Social Security wage cap (which some of my less well-informed liberal friends sometimes complain about) is a response to the Bishops’ second point referenced above.

  11. Peter Paul Fuchs permalink
    November 6, 2011 7:24 pm

    Catholibertarian= crypto-theocrat

  12. David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink
    November 7, 2011 1:57 am

    Teresa writes:

    “Personally I think we need to dump the insurance companies and go back to the way it was before there were insurance companies”

    Would you care to elaborate? The only person I ever met who held this view was a paleo-conservative friend of my parents: he believed insurance was a socialist plot. He also believed Eisenhower was a communist stooge. It seems to me that insurance, particularly mutual insurance, is a very good example of the Catholic principle of solidarity.

    • November 7, 2011 8:54 am

      David

      I don’t believe that insurance is a socialist plot. Before insurance companies existed patients knew the cost of different procedures up front. Now you never know what this or that medial procedure costs until after making use of that particular procedure. And even then its like playing rush and roulette with finding out how much the insurance company is going to cover and negotiate down the costs of a medical procedure. Society was more community-oriented, neighbors helping neighbors and churches helping parishioners monetarily and this has changed since the creation of insurance companies. I don’t think that this is the only reason we, as a society, have abandoned a community-oriented philosophy or spirit. I agree with you on mutual insurance. Car insurance is a good thing too.

      • Kurt permalink
        November 7, 2011 1:12 pm

        rush and roulette

        I think you meant to write “Russian roulette.”

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink
      November 7, 2011 11:17 am

      ‘Society was more community-oriented, neighbors helping neighbors and churches helping parishioners monetarily and this has changed since the creation of insurance companies.”

      I think you paint insurance companies with too broad a brush. I refer you to the example of Fr. Michael McGivney of blessed memory, found of the Knights of Columbus. As an act of community he founded an insurance company.

      Also, I think you view the past through far too golden a lens. I doubt there ever was a time when things were as neighborly as you suggest. Did such neighborly acts occur? Of course. Did folks die because no one ponied up $20 for the doctor to come? Also the case.

  13. November 7, 2011 10:58 am

    Dear Teresa:

    What exactly do you think the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does? Yet again, your description of it (“bureacratic control”) is simply another Fox News-style lie with no resemblence to fact.

    The basics of the ACA are simple. It tries to make the dysfunctional individual insurance market functional. Right now, if you don’t have insurance from your employer, or medicare or medicaid, and are not young and in pristine health, then you will have grave difficulty in finding insurance at a price that is not prohibitive.

    The ACA fixes that by mandanting the creating of exchanges, so people can come together and pool risks – much as risks are pooled in large employer-based insurance. And it bans insurance companies from discriminating against people based on health risk (including pre-existing conditions). But for this to work, we need to make sure that the healthy people join the pool. If they don’t, you are just left with a pool of expensive sick people, and it won’t work. This is why there is an individual mandate – everybody must purchase insurance.

    And for the poorest people, the government will provide subsidies to help them purchase this private insurance.

    Note that this is extremely market based. The basic ideas can be traced back to the 1994 Republican alternative to the Clinton health care reforms. The Heritage foundation was the intellectual force behind the individual mandate.

    So why is it that market-based Republican ideas suddenly were labeled as “socialism”? Because it was in the interests of Republicans to muddy the waters attack Obama politically. But it’s still lies, and a gross violation of the eight commandment.

    • November 7, 2011 10:05 pm

      Morning’s Minion

      Holy Cow! You seem utterly obsessed with Fox News and labeling any point of disagreement a Fox News talking point. Ya know the internet is filled with loads of talking points, both conservative and liberal. The internet even has progressive ones which you seem to use quite often. I get most of my information on the internet and not on Fox News.

      We’ll see whether the unintended consequences or the consequences foreseen by conservatives actually becomes true in due time. But here is an article that leaves whether or not Obamacare is under “bureacratic control” up for debate. http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2011/06/28/obamacares-advisory-board-could-be-a-real-killer
      And now the Obama administration is forced to scrap CLASS due to its unsustainability. So there seems to be a number of flaws with the Affordable Care Act even before the majority of it has even gotten implemented. So much for reading the bill and finding out what’s in the bill before it was passed.

      “And it bans insurance companies from discriminating against people based on health risk (including pre-existing conditions).” This is a good thing.

      The individual mandate is treading in new waters. It is coercing every citizen just because they breathe to own health insurance. This goes way further than anything else when attempting to fit this under the commerce clause. To the point, the individual mandate is unconstitutional. Just because the other Party was advocating for the same type of wrong idea doesn’t make it right today. It is a form of socialism to force every person to buy something. That is tyranny.

      • Kurt permalink
        November 8, 2011 9:01 am

        Ya know the internet is filled with loads of talking points, both conservative and liberal.

        That is true, Teresa. So there is no need for you to add to it.

        We’ll see whether the unintended consequences or the consequences foreseen by conservatives actually becomes true in due time.

        I think folks were expected a little better response from you than we will have to wait and see what the future brings.

        It is coercing every citizen just because they breathe to own health insurance.

        Funny, most of the challenges to the health care law have been thrown out of court due to lack of standing because the right-wing can’t find a single person who will sign a declaration they do not and do not wish to have insurance. The only cases that have gone forward are where the judges decided this was not needed for standing.

  14. November 8, 2011 6:05 am

    “To say citizens do not have a choice in how in the US government spends money is to deny the Constitution, our system of government, American exceptionalism, and every things this country stands for. What you saud suggests you don’t believe in America.”

    Your assertion has no leg to stand on. When Democrat politicians ignore the will of the people when the majority of citizens wanted reform but not a fundamental change to our health care system, like Obamacare does, but rather to deal with the cost of health care and Congress acts to both undermine the Constitution and the will of the people then our system of government has become corrupted due to progressive politicians trying to “transform” America into some form of government which departs dramatically from our Founder’s vision. Progressive politicians ignored the will of the people for their own personal/political gain.

    Progressives are the ones who seek to undermine the Constitution, every chance they can get. Conservatives strive to follow the Constitution to a T. We promote American exceptionalism while progressives want to level the playing field or cut the U.S. down to size so we are equal with other countries. This is exactly what Obama is doing to America now. He believes, like his father did, that America is imperialistic and that is why he has a skewed view of America where he thinks that America is exceptional like every other country in the world. The leaders of progressives believe in keeping Americans who attend public schools deficient of certain knowledge, such as history, so they can use the useful idiots in their efforts to “transform”America.

    I believe in bringing America back to its roots, to the time before progressive corruption seeped into our political system and transformed America into being some type of quasi-socialist State. I believe in returning to the Constitution and returning to the values and principles of our Founding Fathers. Yes, the way to get this country working again like it used to is to elect constitutional conservatives who are willing to do what is right for America and Americans. This runs counter to the progressive movement which only seeks to undermine American values and principles, American exceptionalism, and our Constitution.

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