Sunday, September 10, 2006

Reader mailbag - "But Lieberman IS 'moderate!' the Media says so!"

This is representative of the feedback to today's cartoon about Joe Lieberman and the mainstream media:

By candor do you mean your opinion?---no humor?

Most people do not want a time table to pull out of Iraq.The people who are against privitization of SS don't have an alternative solution.Most people don't want to raise taxes to supprt universal health care.I'm sure the people you surround yourself with don't think Lieberman is a moderate,but most Americans do,based on facts,not the"mass media".--Is your comic ever humorous?--it so one sided.

-Steve N.

...And my response...

1. As recently as last month, 57 percent of Americans supported a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

2. The people who are against privatization of Social Security DO have an alternative solution: it's called Social Security. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. A plurality of the country believed in 2005 that the system wasn't broken, and modest changes to the system, along the lines of the changes made in the '80s, would keep it solvent for generations.

3. Most people do want universal health care, even if it meant raising taxes.

In short, you're wrong on every count -- which leads me to believe that your assessment of the humor in Candorville is probably equally faulty. Thanks for taking the time to write!


The Pete said...

Excellent. And just where does this maroon think "most Americans" are getting their "facts," if not from the "mass media?"

Paul said...

I had to read that strip a couple of times – you had a lot in it. Another example of how little actual reporting gets done and how much “repeat the current fashionable line” is done. When I was I England I listened to the news and the broadcasts begin with “tonight’s news will be read by…” At least that’s honest.

So if Lieberman’s “moderate” how does the "mass media" see itself? Moderate, right down the middle?

The other issue raised has to do with people’s perceptions, which may or may not be based on facts. Give them data and see what happens to their response. Ever ask an owner of a huge SUV the mileage he (or in most cases, “she”) gets? Sure, that Escalade gets 20 mpg. Right. Then say, "You drove lots of under-15 mile trips, total 1,000 miles last month, used 111 gallons, that’s 9 miles per gallon."

I’ll agree, small changes to Social Security early on can forestall large changes later – but most politicians won’t even do that. Look at the changes done in the 80s. Were they supposed to guarantee no problems for more than 20 years? Personal savings accounts? At least the administration proposed something. I hoped maybe Congress would default to the modest change position, but they didn’t have the stomach for even that.

Is the public perception of SS’s solvency accurate?

Social Security may be in trouble by '08
In two days of grilling about Social Security, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan put an important new date on our calendars: 2008.
That's when he believes problems may begin with Social Security.
Not 2052, the date the Congressional Budget Office estimates the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted and benefits will have to be reduced.
Not 2042, the date the Social Security trustees estimate for the same event.
Not 2018, the date the Social Security trustees estimate benefits will exceed revenues and it will be necessary to start redeeming the Treasury obligations in the famed Social Security trust fund.
All those dates are pretty far off. Some of the legislators questioning Mr. Greenspan felt that the dates were so distant that Social Security must be a manufactured problem.
But 2008 is just three years away. How could Mr. Greenspan believe the problem is so close when two major institutions are putting problems decades in the future?
The answer is one word: cash.

Universal health care. Google search shows all kinds of numbers for health expenditures – all tailored to the position of the web site. Check the 2006 Statistical Abstract, US Census Bureau:
2004 medical expenditures (estimated) $1.805 trillion
2004 population 295,734,134
Medical cost per person $6,103
Projected to double in 10 years

So if you told people their taxes would have to include $500 a month for health care per family member they’d say “WHAT?!!?” ‘Course, that’s straight numbers – changes to how we handle health care can tremendously lower costs. But most Americans want, want, want – as long as someone else pays for it.

BTW, I have a family member who’s a public school teacher. Mid-level health insurance, rates contracted by the state, premium for person and spouse is nearly $700 a month. On a public school teacher’s salary. One way or another, lots of people are probably paying $500 a month already. Econ 101: TANSTAAFL (there ain’t no such thing as a “free” lunch)

Anonymous said...

The Media's so full of it. I can't even watch CNN anymore. Whatever happened to people like Bernard Shaw, who had integrity and intelligence? Now we're left with inarticulate simpletons like Wolf Blitzer, and even more inarticulate pretty faces like Anderson Cooper. They toss around labels like "moderate" and "radical" even when they don't apply to what they're talking about. They don't analyze anything anymore, and when they do you can't trust them, because it's coming from people like Bill O'Reilly instead of people like David Brinkley. I'd rather see Pat Buchanan have his own show on Fox than Bill O'Reilly, because even when I disagree with Buchanan, I never feel like he's lying to me.

The news has gone WAY downhill.

Anonymous said...

Paul, those medical care numbers, are those fees paid by consumers to HMO's? If so, the price tag wouldn't be anywhere near that. The price tag would be the same as it is for Medicare. Remember, we'd be removing the middle man (a middle-man that has to make a profit and therefore jacks up its fees).

As for Social Security, I don't think Greenspan has much credibility. His policies contributed to two unsustainable bubbles (dotcom and housing), and he's got some peculiar ideas about the role of a Fed chairman (preventing "wage inflation" is a highly questionable strategy).

"At least Bush proposed something" doesn't wash in my book, not when the proposal is worse than the "problem." Modest changes would fix the system for another generation at least, which is a reasonable goal. But you won't get that when Congress is run by the party that's been trying since the 1930s to abolish Social Security.

Paul said...

Medical numbers include everything but the kitchen sink - premiums, construction, etc ad infinitum. Anything directly tied to health care. Costs are huge, care is uneven throughout the population. Maybe some experiments such as Mitt Romney's in Massachusetts will work. Read that a year or two ago Texas voters put limits on malpractice awards - doctors quitting some areas, malpractice premiums high, people couldn't get care. What's happened is premiums are still high, care is a bit more available, and people with cases under $100k are out of luck 'cause lawyers won't take "little cases" (guess which lawyers, I mean, groups, backed the referendum)?

Agree about Greenspan. Just wanted to illustrate some think there are some big bills coming due. Yeah, the "At least" comment was sloppy - and the administration's proposal was theory over reality. Like lots of people are going to come up with $5k for health savings accounts. Right. But Congress could have done some modest changes (tie retirement age to longevity changes, tie pensions to inflation, not wage growth) but they didn't have the nerve for that. Both parties failed, to my way of thinking.

I agree with the utility of some "reporters" - hence my comment about Brit "news readers." I started tuning in to O'Reilly a while back when I heard so much talk - I don't question his integrity. He's one of few I've listened to who says "I believe X because of Y and Z" (position backed up by reasons- whether you agree with them is another matter). Also really like the way he keeps coming back with the same question to people who spout mindless sayings or avoid answers - like the Democrat Congressman (Georgia?) who took a (deserved) shot at the administration and said we should "go after bin Laden." O'Reilly said "so you want US forces to invade Pakistan?" He also regularly rips on the administration. Also asked Kerry a few months ago "Hey, you and most of the other incumbents have had 20 years to solve this energy fiasco and get us out of the grip of Detroit and Big Oil. You've failed. Why should you be reelected?" Believe it or not, Kerry handled himself well - said a big mistake was not coming on his show before the election. But the good I see is in such things as highlighting judges and lawmakers (like the head of NY's State Assembly) who are easy on child predators. His soapbox has led many states to revise their sentencing laws for stricter sentences - maybe some treatment - and that's a good thing.

Fred Wurther said...

But he lies constantly. Yeah, he backs up his statements, but he does so by quoting sources like the "Paris Business Review" which doesn't even exist. When he happens to quote sources that do exist, more often than not, when I watch and manage to find the time to check what he says, I can't find any evidence that he quoted them correctly.

I think O'Reilly relies on us lazy Americans not checking his facts. Same problem I have with Hannity, and on the left with Michael Moore.

Zirconia Wolf said...

Perfect response (to that lame letter) Darrin!

Truth can afford to be simple.

It's the lies that "supporters" feel the need to pump up with useless jibberish.