Of course we are talking about people without insurance already and the law specifically puts congress and it's staffers into that category so including them is more then appropriate.
OK, so we're moving them into an entirely different category of worker by grand fiat. I suppose the fact that hey get paid better than the average McDonald's worker is also "special treatment" and not just part of their normal compensation package for their skill sets. Somebody should pass a law cutting them to minimum wage so they really feel the pinch. Forget paying market wages for marketable skills, we have a point to make. In fact, let's test our welfare system by cutting their pay to $0. Surely that's not a stupid idea that will backfire as soon as it hits market realities.
You have people who can't afford it, or do not incur medical costs and do not purchase insurance, and you have some who might be mooching off the rest of us by making us bear their medical cost.
If you're walking around without insurance secure in the knowledge that you'll be treated in case of catastrophe, you're basically stealing catastrophic coverage from the rest of us. We pay more so you can do that. The fact that you never use it is a side issue. Risk has a price, and insulation from risk has a value. If everybody behaves that way, the system collapses.
Well, here is a constructive alternative, instead of forcing everyone to get insurance, how about forcing people who don't pay their medical bills to get insurance.
How, exactly, would that work mathematically? What you're describing is known as adverse selection. Again, if everybody behaves this way, the system collapses.
Insurance is pretty simple. Most people pay in more than they ever take out so that a small subset of people can take out way more than they put in. The only way it works is if the ratio of payers to redeemers is high enough. You can't create a system where everybody opts out of being a payer and then jumps into being a redeemer when they need it, even if you penalize them some small amount.
Every single citizen in the US who did not have insurance had their market wage reduced by the requirement by law to spend part of those wages or have them removed by the federal government.
Ah, so we're talking about people who don't have insurance already. OK. So that's a little different. Congressional staffers had insurance as part of their pay and then lost it, and the Republicans fought for the Vitter Amendment which prevents the OPM from making up that cut in dollars like it would in the regular market for people who have insurance as part of their pay package. They're creating a perverse situation that doesn't actually exist in the private markets which specifically screws the staffers.
People who don't have insurance fall into two categories. Either they can't afford it, in which case the exchanges should be a major boon to them, or they're mooching off the rest of us by making us bear their medical cost risks for them, and I don't have a lot of patience for whining over them having to pay into the system. Cry me a river.
The law specifically said they had to go onto the exchanges. Any rational person not believing that there is one set of rules for the subjects of the crown and another for the crown's court would understand this to mean they had to participate in the exchanges just like the millions of other people who fall under the law.
Nobody was keeping them off the exchanges. They were going to the exchanges. They're still going to the exchanges. The only question was whether the government would behave like a normal employer and pay the cash savings over to the employees so they could spend it on the exchanges or whether they'd take an arbitrary pay cut the likes of which doesn't happen to the rest of us if our employer drops coverage.
If you take a few deep breaths and calm down, maybe you'll see it more clearly. You seem pretty amped up on hate for congressional staffers. They didn't have a "special exemption" before the Grassley amendment. They just had employer health care like most of us do. They weren't getting special treatment before the Vitter amendment. The only problem comes from the fact that Congress is calling this a "subsidy" which is illegal, instead of what it really is: being paid their negotiated wage.
Second,what republican has ever said staffers couldn't get a raise?
David Vitter. But only in the sense that it can't be called a "subsidy." And it's not really a raise, but a "not cut." This whole thing is a weird parsing of the word "subsidy" versus "raise" versus "cut." The basic market outcome was broken by the Grassley amendment and the Vitter amendment was an attempt to keep it broken.
They'll eventually have to pass something entirely different to give the money back in a way that doesn't look like a "subsidy", but the Republicans are making a hard stand on it as though there's a meaningful principle at stake, probably because the voters are confused and really think that extra money is being shoveled into the pockets of staffers, and hating on those guys is playing really well in the media right now. "Here's the money we just took away from you" isn't a subsidy by any reasonable definition.
I don't see that as a terrible thing. Some claim the staffers have too much power and influence in government and constant changing of them would negate that so the representation of the people takes priority.
That's fine. If your position is that we're better off with an across the board pay cut of between $5,000 and $11,000 for congressional staffers who aren't exactly making bank, that's a perfectly valid place to be. But it doesn't have anything to do with "special treatment" for anybody.
And for the record, I'd like to see *everybody* on the exchanges. You, me, Congressional staffers, Senators, everybody. Employers should stop buying insurance for their employees and just give the employees the cash directly. We'll all be better off with a functional market for insurance instead of the mess we have now.
With the proviso that magicing huge amounts of money out of nowhere is not a valid way of entering into this.
You didn't answer the question why? What, exactly, is wrong with changing the amount of money in the economy? Is the current amount exactly the right amount for the circumstances? Is it a moral objection? Superstitious? The appropriate money supply for an economy is kind of a big piece of 20th century economic thought, so the assertion "never change it, ever" seems like it should have some fairly solid theoretical grounding.
Fiat currencies do not work, they all fail given enough time.
I always love this line of reasoning. "Every fiat currency in history has failed. Except for the ones that haven't. Therefore, all of the currencies that haven't failed will eventually fail." I suppose it's trivially true that everything we build will fail sometime before the heat death of the universe.
Dollar is not accepted everywhere anymore, not since it shed 40% of value in one year and people realized that dollar is not more stable for preserving wealth than their local currency.
Which currency did the dollar depreciate 40% against? Over what timeframe?
[insert face palm here] Borrowing more money does not help your credit.
Which helps your credit less?
A) Borrowing money.
B) Saying that you are not going to repay your creditors.
I'm pretty sure the answer is (B).
The last time the US's credit was downgraded, it was because they did another huge round of borrowing.
Holy crap, did you read S&P statement on the reason for the downgrade? They explicitly wrote that threatening not to raise the debt ceiling was the reason for the downgrade.
Allow interest rates to find their own correct level and go from there.
What is the "correct" level and why is it correct? That is, what criteria do you use to determine whether one interest rate is better than another?
Who said the Treasury would have the authority? That's Congress' job; constitutionally they have the power of the purse. They're the "elected representatives" in this representative republic (for what it's worth).
Sure, Congress could do that, but they didn't. That's the whole problem. There are no rules about who gets stiffed when the government runs out of money except for a vague statement in the Constitution that the government won't stiff its creditors. So the Treasury is in a difficult spot. Congress has said, "You legally must spend this money that we haven't given you, and don't borrow to make up the difference." They're not tooled up to pick and choose who gets paid (Why would they be? The Feds aren't supposed to default on any payments!), and even if they were, there's no clear authority or guidance on how to do it. Whatever they did was going to piss somebody off and probably be technically illegal that they'd lose in court over it.
If Congress could pass some legislation cutting certain types of spending, that would be just fine and you wouldn't hear us howling. In fact, that would be them doing their job. But they didn't do that. They just dumped an impossibly big turd into the punch bowl and walked away, expecting Treasury to make everything work out. That's either an indication of terrifying levels of irresponsibility or a woeful misunderstanding of how the financial system works.
The DotCom boom brought in a surplus in Social Security revenue and instead of putting that in the SS trust fund as legally required, they went and "borrowed" it for the usual overspending that has now become baseline. If you or I took money from a trust and used it for another purpose not stated in the trust we'd be in jail.
The better way of putting that would be that instead of sitting on cash, the SS Trust Fund bought US government bonds which will be paid back to them just like all of the other bonds as long as we don't let the Republicans have their way. The surplus was accrued by design because the trustees were well aware of the fact that Baby Boomers will get old. As long as we don't do something stupid like default on our debt, Social Security is just like any other pension plan that holds US bonds.
I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen