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Hey, what a great idea

Let’s make the best government program we have into an inefficient cash cow for the insurance industry! Dean Baker:

The NYT claims that plans that could raise the cost of Medicare equivalent policies for seniors by $34 trillion are gaining increasing support in Congress. These plans involve replacing Medicare with a voucher. This leads to higher costs both because the administrative costs of private plans are far higher than Medicare and they are likely to be less effective in controlling costs.

The Congressional Budget Official projected that a Republican plan along these lines, that was approved by House earlier in this year, would raise the cost of Medicare equivalent polices by $34 trillion over the program’s 75-year planning horizon. While this plan would save the government money by reducing its payments for Medicare, it would mean that future generations of workers would pay far more for health care in their retirement. The cost of Medicare equivalent policies would far exceed the typical retiree’s income by 2050.

It would have been helpful if this article had pointed out that these proposals imply both a huge increase in health care costs to beneficiaries and an increase in costs to the country as whole. Virtually all research shows that these sorts of plans will make the country’s health care system considerably less efficient.

Morning after.

Tased

Maybe someone should do something.

‘Just you f*ckers wait’

Mona Eltahaway, who is an amazing Egyptian journalist, was arrested and assaulted in Egypt yesterday, and her reaction is pretty much what I suspect mine would be: “Wait until I get out of here and write about it.”

Black Friday pepper spray

I find this entire sale ritual so bewildering. “I’m a great parent because I camped out on a sidewalk all night to get you the newest toy at 40% off”? My sister and her daughter were out at 4 a.m. today – eww. When you could still be warm in bed, sleeping? I don’t get it. Am I just being an old crank, or is it crazy?

Authorities are searching for a woman accused of pepper-spraying other shoppers Thursday night at the Wal-Mart in Porter Ranch so that she could grab more discounted merchandise.

Twenty customers, including children, were hurt in the 10:10 p.m. incident, officials said. Shoppers complained of minor skin and eye irritation and sore throats.

“This was customer-versus-customer ‘shopping rage,'” said Los Angeles Police Lt. Abel Parga.

The woman used the spray in more than one area of the Wal-Mart “to gain preferred access to a variety of locations in the store,” said Los Angeles Fire Capt. James Carson.

“She was competitive shopping,” he said.

Black Friday’s sales began at the Wal-Mart at 10 p.m. and featured door-buster sales on toys, including $5 Bratz dolls, $10 Wii video games and $29 tricycles.

Ah

First time I slept all the way through the night since I got sick. I feel so refreshed!

My oldest son drove us to Brooklyn yesterday in my car. He hasn’t driven in eight years and he’d never used power brakes before – so I was jolted a lot, but it wasn’t too bad. And my youngest and his wife made a beautiful Thanksgiving table; I just wish I’d been able to eat more of it. Then we watched a movie (Steven Spielberg’s “Super 8″, which was such a pastiche of/homage to other movies, it seemed to have no center of its own).

Oh, and I brought a toy for the dog – a stuffed-plush tree trunk with three little squirrels inside. She had a ball ferreting out the squirrels all night.

How was your Thanksgiving?

P.S. Found out from my son, who’s seen him at art galleries, that Robert DeNiro is only about 5’7 or 8. Damn, he looks tall on the screen, doesn’t he?

Double secret probation

The mind reels.

Much of the money we spend in corporate chain stores is being used to help elect the monsters who look after the interests of the wealthy, at our expense. More here.

Stay Hungry

Here’s that rhythm again…

If I don’t love you then …

Grits ain’t groceries
Eggs ain’t poultry
And Mona Lisa was a man.

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