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Help Wanted With Ideas For Survey About Who Will Win Presidency

It’s the start of the long, last week of summer (and since I’ve spent the bulk of it in San Francisco, there was no summer at all), where most of us will and should be away from the internet. So for those who stuck around, something distracting.

On 31 December 2011 I asked us all Who Will Win The Presidency? To refresh our memories, I said:

My own prediction is Mitt Romney.

I stick by myself.

DAV, Luis, and JH—even 49erDweet and Uncle Mile!—said, and I quote, “Obama will win.” Many echoed this. Only the very, very few, like bob, Joy, and Doug M, agreed with your host and projected Mitt Romney.

Anybody wish to change their minds?

Four years ago I ran a survey in which I asked who would win but also who people wanted to win. My idea was to study the idea of wishcasting. A wishcast is one in which the probability of an event is skewed high or low depending on whether the event is wished for or not. I want to repeat that survey after the Democrat convention, like I did last time.

After the convention, the battle lines are more or less drawn, and opinions roughly set. But it is still a point in time far enough from the election that uncertainty in the outcome is present.

Problem last time was that the survey was picked up by the most satisfied Pharyngula, a Utopian and blogger of limited range but large audience, who linked to it calling me (what is true) a conservative. Unfortunately, a great many of that man’s readers were and are unused to civilized discourse and confused, as many on the left do, a disruption with a valid argument.

Pharyngula’s fans felt that if they voted repeatedly for Obama, and input absurd data, that this would somehow show me a thing or two. It did indeed show me something. I had to throw away all the data from the point at which Myers gave the survey a plug.

But since elections are only every four years, and by definition of national interest, I don’t want to pass up on the chance to do this again, and do it right. As before, this is self-funded, and since I’ve just learned that the lottery ticket I purchased yesterday was defective, the level of funds I can afford to pay to myself is severely limited.

I want to have both Obama and Romney supporters; to have just one side would not be of any interest. Only sincere participants are needed, though. More are better: a few thousand would be terrific. Craig’s List is probably out, as a mechanism to solicit bodies. So are sites like that mentioned above. They have too many, what my old Sergeant used to call, over-zealoused followers.

Given that this is the internet, this may be an impossible task. But all ideas welcomed.

Thanks everybody!

82 thoughts on “Help Wanted With Ideas For Survey About Who Will Win Presidency Leave a comment

  1. What about wishcasting by pessimists? We skew our outlook toward the negative — Murphy’s Law and all that. If it can go wrong, it will, even though I don’t wish it to. That’s my prediction. Unconfirmation bias. So how will you account for that in your analysis?

  2. In 40-42 states it makes no difference who you vote for the state will go as expected. In 4-6 states the contest is up for grabs and who ever wins these states wins the presidency. In each of these battleground states the election will be determine in 2-4 counties. Today and for the last year or so the “mob” (that is unions, Democrat operatives Acorn and others) have been busy registering dead and non-existent people and signing up for absentee ballots. In each of these counties the election will be stolen unless it is an overwhelming victory for Romney. You will go to bed on election eve thinking Romney won and wake up the next morning to discover that enough votes were “found” to put Obama over the top. So the bottom line is unless this is an overwhelming vote for Romney in these few battle ground states Obama will win. The press will ignore the obvious and less obvious voter fraud and we will continue the error of Obama.

  3. I don’t see the GOP pulling the rabbit out of the hat just yet. Polls seem 50/50. I want Romney but I am beginning to wonder if he would be any better than The O — and I think The O is the worst president we ever had. Hope this doesn’t turn into a repeat of 2000.

    Noam Chomsky had something interesting to say about the 2000 election:
    http://www.chomsky.info/articles/200101–.htm

    GWTW,
    I thought I was a pessimist. 😉

    Reading PZ’s stuff when it comes to politics/religion and the ensuing comments is a lot like falling face first into a used and unflushed toilet.

    Did you really have to throw away all of the data from the PZ results? Why couldn’t you just comb out any repeats? Any online voting scheme has the potential for multivoting if there’s no screening process.

    To get unskewed data, why not get balance from both conservative and liberal sites? I’d still stick with voters from the PZ site if possible but try PJTV, Reason and JunkScience, too. What about WUWT or would that be too political for Anthony?

    just learned that the lottery ticket I purchased yesterday was defective

    You, too, huh?. There were a lot of those. Likely a mix up at the ticket factory.

  4. You want to see real pessimism? I like Mitt as a person and who he is but I don’t think he can or will turn it all around. Or situation is so dire that nothing short of a dramatic change in our policies can save us. Mitt will probably fail in repealling Obamacare, reigning in the deficit, decreasing the size of government, reducing the massive onslaught of bureaucratic regulations that are crippling business and harming the citizens, etc. He will fail because it will take some real guts and unprecedented vision to do what must be done to prevent our economic collapse. Mitt will fail not because he isn’t a good man or a capable leader he will fail because he isn’t a world class statesman with a clear vision of what it will take to restore our country and turn back the last 50 years of liberal excess by our lawmakers. So we will no doubt have a chance to experience a great depression and have an opportunity to show what we are made of just as the greatest generation did over 70 years ago. But for most of us it won’t be pretty. But Mitt will look the part in his sweater and open shirt for the fireside chats telling us that we will one day see the end of bad times.

  5. A lot of my reasoning as well but let’s be honest: no president can really undo all of that. Obama got away with some things because the government was handed over to the liberals in 2008 and not just because Obama was elected. In fact, he’s more do-nothing than Jimmy Carter — all babble. I have a sneaking suspicion that Obamacare is wanted by both sides in Congress. No politico is going to turn down easy money.

    He might be able to do something about the size of the bureaucracy but only Superman can stop a train. Mitt doesn’t come across as Superman. If he did, he’d win by a landslide.

  6. I’m not sure a president couldn’t do most if not all of the things necessary to turn our country around and restore us to a constitutional democratic republic. Much of it could be done by executive order and the rest could probably be done once he declared a national emergency. If Mitt is lucky enough to get a Republican house and senate he could get many of those changes made in an appropriate and constitutional manner. What is needed is a no nonsense leader with a clear vision and an indomitable will. We are in trouble and that fact alone should grease much of the mechanism of change especially in his first year.

  7. I’m always surprised by some of the position by the republican:
    They say they want small government and that they hate when government interfere with their lives. Yet they have no problem with the government interfering in the right of a woman to do with what they want with their body. They even have little problem to force women to have trans-vaginal ultrasound, i.e. they have no problem having the government forcing rape on a women who wants to get an abortion.
    They complain that poor people who are on food stamps or social security are receiving money for nothing. Meanwhile they would consider the subsidies given to oil companies as a tax hikes if the subsidies are abolished. I guess that oil industries don’t make enough profit that they need a hand out.
    If Obama isn’t reelected the USA will be going down the drain, and have another war in the next few years.

  8. They complain that poor people who are on food stamps or social security are receiving money for nothing.

    I know someone on food stamps and it is true: he doesn’t have to do anything to receive them. In fact, he’s not allowed to. This isn’t judgment just a statement of fact.

    Those receiving social security PAID for it. How much you get depends on how much you’ve paid. My sister, who didn’t pay-in all that much can only collect around $300/mo. I have been paying the max for some years now. If I wait until I’m 70, I will collect almost $4K/mo. Not sure if it was a good trade-off but I don’t know anyone who thinks social security is something for nothing. If anything, they think its nothing for something.

    BTW: I’m republican.

  9. @DAV

    I know that most reader here are republican.

    Just to show you how things got bad in the USA since Bush. Here in Quebec, in 2001, each person were endebted by about 40k (federal and provincial combined). In the USA, in 2001, the debt was around 28k/person (federal only).

    In 2012, in Québec, the debt is aroud 45K/person (federal and provincial combined and using the economic institute which is a think tank organization that usually pull the number upward). In the USA the debt is 45k/(person federal only). In California, you would have to add 10k/person.

    In the span of 10 years (and mainly since the Bush tax cut) the situtation has taken a turn for the worst in the USA mainly cause by lacks of revenu (which were supposed to grow with the tax cut).

  10. Well, then I’m confused by your previous post.

    You seem to be in favor of the govt. passing out money but you seem to favor passing it to the lesser providers (e.g., food stamps) instead of giving it to those who might help the economy.

    Obamacare just jacked up the cost of living by some $2K/person/year just to by the insurance. It wasn’t called a tax but that’s what it is. Mandated insurance seems to always result in increased costs of whatever is being insured. Collision insurance required by the banks as a condition of loans has driven up the cost of collision repair. If I were to walk into a doctor’s office today and announce that I had no insurance, the doctor’s fees, test fees and medication costs plummet by 67%. Obamacare is a windfall for the medical field if only because the discounts will vanish. Those that were on medical support from the govt. now are exempt from buying the insurance. It doesn’t reduce govt. cost but instead increases it for everybody.

    The govt. doesn’t even get the money. One of the most profitable businesses is insurance. They produce no product which would increase available wealth and have things rigged to guarantee profits. Obamacare just gives them more. How does that help?

    His agenda for the environment has increased prices all around starting with power and they will keep climbing. In January of 2008 he admitted that was his goal. The net result could likely be more spending by the govt.

    IMO, the best way to handle the debt is to cut spending and stop throttling the producers that drive the economy. The drive to increase spending can’t just be laid on Obama but he’s in the forefront.

    Not that Romney will do any better.

    It just isn’t clear what you’re suggesting and how reelecting Obama instead of Mitt would fix things.

  11. @DAV
    Your argument is a little bit confusing. The USA is one of few countries to not have government health care. Yet, already in 2007, the cost of health care per capita in the USA was the highest in the world, and double than that of Canada.
    From my understanding, US hospitals have/had to treat patient even if they don’t have insurance when they face life threatening situation. Since these people are usually poor and can’t repay the hospital for their care, the hospital transfer these cost to the insurance that in turns transfer it to their customer. The biggest expenditure for GM was the health care premium they paid for their employee. More people insured should lower health care cost. Obamacare is almost exactly the same than Romneycare in Mass. which is the states with the most coverage at 98%. Romenycare in Mass is very popular and has reduced cost. The flip-flop of Romney on this issue is very funny when you read it on his campaign page, even more when in 2008-09 he said in an interview that Romneycare should be applied nationwide.
    I can assure you that I don’t know many Canadian (less than 20%) or European that would change their public health care for the one you have, even less with what you had before Obamacare, except maybe the very rich who can afford million dollars treatment on their own, or expensive insurance.
    The question that his policy has driven the cost of power higher is mainly false. Power in North America is driven by the energy market. Price of gasoline is totally decided by this market, so are electric surpluses. Shell closed a refinery in Montreal last year for the only reason that they had calculated that reducing the production of refined gas would push for higher price at the pump. Immediate result was a 0.10$ hikes at the pump. That refinery represented about 25 millions $ in profit and cost the job to about 500 person. Yes rich people are job creators. This is why Google has about 60 billion $ dollars in banks. There is over 3 trillion $ in banks that are not used to create jobs in the USA only.
    Looking at food stamps program, in Texas people need to work 20 hours to be able to receive 200$/month. Food stamps are available only for 3 months in a 3 years span if someone doesn’t work. In Québec, social benefit requires no work and there is no time limit for recipient. The total benefit is about 10,000$/year and give access to minimum leaving condition. Yes there are some free loaders which have been demonstrated to be a small % (less than 10%) of the recipient. Having had a cousin who received welfare for about two years, before he was able to find works, yes he was looking and he was very happy when he found it. Giving money to poor people is not as much a hand out as it might seem. The money they receive is reinvested in the community and no they cannot afford drug with what little money they get.

  12. And our survey says (so far) …
    Romney — 1 (Briggs)
    Obama — 0
    Uncommitted — 6

    How about somebody answers the question.

  13. Briggs, if I understand you correctly, you’d like your survey, when you post it, to be noticed by people who won’t abuse it. I hang out on a conservative website called ricochet.com. The people there are well behaved (you have to pay money to participate), but are almost all conservative or libertarian. Indeed, I doubt that you’d find a single one to back the current President.

    But my question is: would you like them notified given their disposition?

  14. Sylvain Allard,

    No need to take my word for the cost of Obamacare. Here’s the March 2012 Congressional Budget Office report.

    http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/03-13-Coverage%20Estimates.pdf

    Kinda summarized here with commentary: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obamacare-the-reckoning/2012/03/22/gIQALF1QUS_story.html

    CBO and JCT now estimate that the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of just under $1.1 trillion over the 2012–2021 period

    and this footnote to the above

    The budgetary effects of the ACA discussed in this report are its effects on federal revenues and mandatory spending; they do not include federal administrative costs, which will be subject to future appropriation action. CBO has previously estimated that the Internal Revenue Service will need to spend between $5 billion and $10 billion over 10 years to implement the law, and that the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies will have to spend at least $5 billion to $10 billion over that period. In addition, the ACA included explicit authorizations for spending by a variety of grant and other programs; that funding is also subject to future appropriation action.

    Emphasis mine.

    Rather busy today so don’t have time for more.
    My apologies.

  15. Sylvain, your comment:

    Yet they have no problem with the government interfering in the right of a woman to do with what they want with their body.

    …is either ignorant or intentionally disingenuous. Obviously, your statement is consistent with the pro-abortion side of this argument, but many people believe that there’s another body involved, and your statement sounds absurd to these people as saying that arguing for small government means you think the government shouldn’t enforce laws against murder.

    As to health care. There are a lot of things wrong with the way our laws have distorted the way we pay for health care. But that’s not a good argument for making it worse by allowing more government intrusion.

    As to the original subject of this post, I’m of the opinion that Romney (my desired choice) is likely to win. Last time around, I believe I put in that Obama would win (but was not my choice).

  16. Presidents almost always elected. I’d like to see Romney in the oval office but its not likely. Obama will win his second term.

    My preference was for Ron Paul. US federal politics usually disappoints me though. Obama winning over McCain put me in a foul mood for an entire week. Bush winning over Kerry was, and still is, heart breaking…

  17. I hope Romney will win and am working and praying for him.

    As much as I hate to say it, I am sticking with my original prediction that Obama will win a second term. Further, I am sticking with my previous reasoning, that is, that MSM will continue their popularity contest style of coverage and continue to heavily favor the hard left and Obama as simply being more cool than Romney. This biased, brainless rah-rah support will work on the masses and effectively counter any substantive debate during the election.

    Battle-ground states Ohio and Michigan are experiencing a recovery of sorts in manufacturing:

    http://www.chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/cfmmi/2012/cfmmi_july_2012.pdf

    This will also play to Obama’s favor even though policies he has implemented like stalling/cancelling Keystone and hindering oil and mineral extraction on federal lands has done nothing to help these states. I predict they will still vote Obama; Romney will lose.

    I hope and pray I am wrong.

  18. Sylvain,

    Got a brief moment.

    Energy costs:
    Interesting movie: http://www.theboywhocriedwarming.com/watch-now.php

    Discusses the effects of Cap and Trade starting about 1:02:03 and an excerpt from what seems to be the January 2008 Obama chat starting at 1:05:50. Check out what he says starting at 1:06:12.

    Under my plan, Cap and Trade, electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket”

    Since the movie was about global warming, it omitted other bombshells like him saying he wants to see $8/gal for gasoline but would be happy with $5/gal. He’s close to getting his wish.

    Compare that with Romney’s plan for“North American energy independence” by 2020. There’s a brief summary/discussion here:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/30/north-american-energy-independence-by-2020/

    The Obama 2008 chat used to be easily found on YouTube but a quick search just now didn’t turn it up. Likely I botched it.

    Food stamps:
    All I know is that the guy on food stamps I mentioned above told me if he works he loses them. I don’t live in Texas. He does work at odd jobs, like grass cutting, but only when he can get paid under the table.

  19. Money being no object (since it is not my money), I spent a few minutes looking for an e-mail list to purchase — just to get an idea of cost. For 101,607 addresses in South Manhattan (no demographics or other qualificaitons applied) you will need to spend just $3,555.23. In addition, you will have to create a snappy subject line and copy to appeal to the three or four recipients that will actually read the e-mail. And finally, you will have to create an on-line survey.
    http://www.geoselector.com/geoselector/mapengine/buildOrder2.aspx

    If you want to visit the dark side I’m sure that millions of addresses are available (probably with credit card and social securitiy numbers) for ten dollars or so.

  20. Predicate your survey with a series of questions. Make these initial questions random, so that someone attempting to take the survey multiple times will not know all of the answers the second, third or even fourth time through. Finally, ask your survey question.
    The initial questions are only used to screen survey subjects. Those questions need not be difficult, but they can and should be verbose. Require a very high standard of accuracy for these initial questions in order to accept an answer to the actual survey question. Essentially you are requiring respondents to do some amount of work prior to answering the question that matters. Think of answering these questions as being akin to your respondents owning land.
    I’m not at all sure this would work, but the idea is to make it too much trouble for the fools and pranksters to get any fun out of it, and weed out the complete idiots who aren’t paying attention.
    The major flaw I see with this idea is that since you’re trying to actually figure out who will win a presidential election, such strict eligibility requirements would mean your sample won’t at all represent the the group of people who are allowed to vote in a presidential election.
    Rather, your previous attempt and the interference, multiple vote casting, etc. are probably a much more realistic representation of what democrats actually do in a real election.
    If you want to be as accurate as possible, I suggest you set up a program to bus homeless people, teenagers who have no foundational knowledge of politics or history, illegal aliens, and dead people to local libraries where they can cast their vote in between visiting porn sites.
    Finally, you need to retain a group of high-priced lawyers to challenge any outcome that you don’t agree with. Should that fail, be prepared for a long, arduous campaign of disinformation to make it appear that indeed, the results do not really reflect the will of the people.
    Speaking of which, you may want to institute some sort of electoral college between the actual voting and the final arbitration of the results. This will give you ample opportunity to complain about outdated flaws in the system later.

  21. @Dav
    We will agree a lot more on the subject of climate change than health care.
    I have looked into your CBO link and searched further.
    In your link the CBO also states that:
    «Those amounts do not encompass all of the budgetary impacts of the ACA because that legislation has many other provisions, including some that will cause significant reductions in Medicare spending and others that will generate added tax revenues, relative to what would have occurred under prior law. CBO and JCT have previously estimated that the ACA will, on net, reduce budget deficits over the 2012–2021 period; that estimate of the overall budgetary impact of the ACA has not been updated»
    And following a search I came upon this blog from the WH:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/04/09/official-sources-agree-affordable-care-act-reduces-deficit
    «CBO anticipates that enacting H.R. 2
    would increase federal budget deficits by a total of roughly $80 billion to
    $90 billion over the 2020–2021 period. Consequently, over the 2012–2021
    period, the effect of H.R. 2 on federal deficits as a result of changes in
    direct spending and revenues is likely to be an increase in the vicinity of
    $230 billion, plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes
    to CBO’s and JCT’s projections for that period.»
    and this:
    «Correspondingly, CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2
    would increase federal deficits in the decade after 2019 by an amount that is
    in a broad range around one-half percent of GDP, plus or minus the effects
    of technical and economic changes that CBO and JCT will include in the
    forthcoming estimate. For the decade beginning after 2021, the effect of
    H.R. 2 on federal deficits as a share of the economy would probably be
    somewhat larger.»

    Overall, it seems that the ACA reduces the deficit or is at least deficit neutral, while repealing the ACA would increase the deficit.

  22. Sylvain,

    Overall, it seems that the ACA reduces the deficit or is at least deficit neutral, while repealing the ACA would increase the deficit.

    Seriously?

    What I quoted was the March 2012 CBO report summary paragraph which clearly states net cost measured in trillions. That’s what you get when you add it all up and not just use the parts you selected. It’s the bottom line.

    The Whitehouse wouldn’t spin things would it? It tried to sugarcoat the impact by cherry-picking as mentioned in the WaPo article.

    But more interestingly, each of the WH quotes you provided leads off with would increase federal deficits. That means “make the debt larger” and I don’t see anyplace where it reversed the debt. In fact, in one quote you provided, the WH predicts the DEFICIT will INCREASE by 0.5% GDP after 2019 and become even larger later on.

    So how do get from increasing the deficit to reduces the deficit?

    Bottom line: ACA cost 2012-2021 $1.083 trillion.

  23. @DAV

    Haven’t you read this, which I pasted from the same report you linked:

    «CBO and JCT have previously estimated that the ACA will, on net, reduce budget deficits over the 2012–2021 period; that estimate of the overall budgetary impact of the ACA has not been updated.»

    and this part is also from a letter fom the CBO to Beonher, not from the WH:

    «CBO anticipates that enacting H.R. 2 would increase federal budget deficits by a total of roughly $80 billion to $90 billion over the 2020–2021 period. Consequently, over the 2012–2021 period, the effect of H.R. 2 on federal deficits as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues is likely to be an increase in the vicinity of $230 billion, plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes to CBO’s and JCT’s projections for that period.»

    and this:

    «Correspondingly, CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2 would increase federal deficits in the decade after 2019 by an amount that is in a broad range around one-half percent of GDP, plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes that CBO and JCT will include in the forthcoming estimate. For the decade beginning after 2021, the effect of H.R. 2 on federal deficits as a share of the economy would probably be somewhat larger.»

    The same CBO that you linked to contradict you.

  24. I misread what you posted. HR2 is the repeal but the quote from the CBO used by the WH says it’s just a guess at the estimate:
    http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/ftpdocs/120xx/doc12040/01-06-ppaca_repeal.pdf

    CBO has not yet developed a detailed estimate of the budgetary impact of repealing that legislation, although it is working with the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) to complete such an estimate in the near future.

    I note the date of the CBO letter (January 6, 2011) predates the CBO report (March 2012) I linked. It apparently is based on the 2010 report.

    I also note that the March 2012 report says that it changes the estimated cost by -48 billion from the previous estimate (March 2011, two months after the letter) resulting in $1.083 trillion. This, too, is on the WH page but it’s the change in estimates which both took place subsequent to the January 2011 letter. The change is in a comparison table under the label “Impact on the Federal Deficit”. In the table positive numbers represent an INCREASE in the deficit. In neither report did the bottom line go negative.

    Table 2 is entitled “March 2012 Estimate of the Budgetary Effects of the Insurance Coverage Provisions Contained in the Affordable Care Act”. It shows the impact on the Federal Budget by year and has the footnote: Positive numbers indicate increases in the deficit, and negative numbers indicate reductions in the deficit. All of the numbers are positive on the line labeled “NET COST OF COVERAGE PROVISIONS”.

    I also note that the cost of Medicaid went up by 168 billion between the March 2011 and 2012 reports. Medicaid pays in part for the uninsured emergency treatment you mentioned earlier.

    The Whitehouse is playing games by mixing favorable quotes from different dates.

  25. @DAV
    This is the part of the text that explain Table 2: (Note de last line)
    «This report also presents estimates through fiscal year 2022, because the baseline projection period now extends through that additional year. The ACA’s provisions related to insurance coverage are now projected to have a net cost of $1,252 billion over the 2012–2022 period (see Table 2, following the text); that amount represents a gross cost to the federal government of $1,762 billion, offset in part by $510 billion in receipts and other budgetary effects (primarily revenues from penalties and other sources). The addition of 2022 to the projection period has the effect of increasing the costs of the coverage provisions of the ACA relative to those projected in March 2011 for the 2012–2021 period because that change adds a year in which the expansion of eligibility for Medicaid and subsidies for health insurance purchased through the exchanges will be in effect. CBO and JCT have not estimated the budgetary effects in 2022 of the other provisions of the ACA; over the 2012–2021 period, those other provisions were previously estimated to reduce budget deficits. »
    The Net cost you are referring too of 1.083 trillion (from the 2012 report) is lower than the 2011 report, 1.131 trillion. This reduction of 50 billion increases the previous estimate of deficit reduction.
    And yes anyone will try to spin an argument their way. That include the WH, you and me :-).

  26. But, Sylvain, ACA is ADDING more than a trillion dollars to the deficit. If you plot net costs from Table 2, the amount climbs; stabilizes more or less between 2017 and 2019 maybe slightly reduces; and then begins to climbing again starting 2019.

    over the 2012–2021 period, those other provisions were previously estimated to reduce budget deficits.

    The keyword is previously. Doesn’t that mean “no longer”?

    You dropped the rest of the sentence: “… that estimate of the overall budgetary impact of the ACA has not been updated.” The footnote to that sentence offers a reason why the 2010 was incorrect and the sentence says it needs to be updated.

    This reduction of 50 billion increases the previous estimate of deficit reduction.

    The reduction of the 2012 estimates from 2011 is tacit admission that the previous report was slightly in error. IOW: not quite as bad as we thought. It’s a reduction in the estimate and not a reduction in the deficit. At no point does the report indicate ACA will ever reduce the deficit. It never can if its cost continues to increase.

    Furthermore, the report states: “Legislation enacted since March 2011 reduced the costs of the ACA’s coverage
    provisions by about $38 billion”. So, the 2011 wasn’t all that far off.

    IOW: Congress made it not quite as bad as originally conceived.

  27. I might point out that the numbers in Table 2 are net cost/year.

    When they increase from the previous year that means the cost/year is escalating. A lower number means it’s not increasing as much. It cannot begin reducing the deficit until the cost/year drops below zero. And it also will have to eventually pay for its original investment of more than a trillion dollars.

    If the cost/year difference between 2021 and 2022 in the 2012 report is any indication at all and remains constant, I figure it will take around 200 years before it has been fully amortized. Only then can it begin reducing what is now the current deficit.

    It’s a bad investment but the 2013 report, if there ever is one, might paint a rosier picture. I’m not holding my breath.

    http://i50.tinypic.com/2elqq2u.png

  28. “A wishcast is one in which the probability of an event is skewed high or low depending on whether the event is wished for or not.” Surely it’s our estimate of our uncertainty in the outcome that is skewed? I would have thought the probability stayed the same.

  29. @DAV

    I undertstand that the cost are net and adding to debt. I also understant that they do not take into account the enterity of the law.

    The «previously» doesn’t mean no longer, it mean that they have not looked at those effect of the law. They have not taken them into account. This include the 716$ «cut» to Medicare that Ryan is talking about.

    Here are where the cuts are:

    «So, yes, Obama’s law did find $716 billion in spending reductions. They were mainly aimed at insurance companies and hospitals, not beneficiaries. The law made significant reductions to Medicare Advantage, a subset of Medicare plans run by private insurers. Medicare Advantage was started under President George W. Bush, and the idea was that competition among the private insurers would reduce costs. But the plans have actually cost the government more than traditional Medicare. The health care law scales back the payments to private insurers.»

    The part of the law they don’t take into report is what makes the law reduce the deficit.

  30. I’ve changed my mind. The stench of fear emanating from the WH has become overpowering. Barring the worst type imaginable October surprise it will be Romney taking at least 40 states.

  31. Sylvain,

    This is getting nowhere. Obama has been at odds with the CBO for two years running now. I guess it all comes down to who you want to believe. The CBO has less at stake than Obama who views the economy with rose colored glasses. Why should anyone believe him?

    OT anyway.

  32. @DAV
    I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I’m just perplexed that you read over this which is found in the CBO report you linked too:
    «Those amounts do not encompass all of the budgetary impacts of the ACA because that legislation has many other provisions, including some that will cause significant reductions in Medicare spending and others that will generate added tax revenues, relative to what would have occurred under prior law. CBO and JCT have previously estimated that the ACA will, on net, reduce budget deficits over the 2012–2021 period; that estimate of the overall budgetary impact of the ACA has not been updated»

  33. While you are all having an amazing discussion on the technicalities of Obamacare and Medicare et al, I’ll watch it somewhat bemused from the vantage point of a single payer system beneficiary myself. I could pity you lot for your troubles, if it weren’t for the other unrelated problems my own country faces (due to the poor euro architecture).

  34. Luis,

    Don’t be so sure they’re all as unrelated as you assert. But the pity is probably appropriate as we sadly make our way closer to having our own single payer system.

  35. The last thing I want is to have someone else deciding what medical services I should receive and enforcing it by withholding money. I’d rather pay for it myself. Obamacare essentially says I should be penalized for doing that. The costs would be lower all around if health insurance didn’t exist.

    But why stop at medical care? Why not food, too? Isn’t that just as important and more pressing? Housing, eh? For that matter, why not all of my expenses and needs? Where should the line be drawn?

  36. Briggs,
    I like the model of the Intrade market. (currently 58% Obama) This source gives me a nearly real time update on swings in sentiment.

  37. Here in Québec and Canada, we have a single payer system. 100% of the population is covered for their health and it cost per capita less than half of what it cost in the USA.

    In the USA you have a multiple payer system which is very expensive and covered about 82% of the population. Leaving about 50 millions people not covered. I guess that these 50 million people were living your dream, if it wasn’t for the problem that they weren’t able to afford the more than 100$ dollars that a simple 15 minutes examination cost.

    Here they examine the cost of a broken leg, which with only a cast will cost you over 2,000$.

    http://health.costhelper.com/broken-leg.html

    Yes, our system is not perfect but no one in the entire country goes without any treatment.

    My dad was diagnose early with a colon cancer and had surgery within a week and it didn’t cost us anything than our usual taxes and loss of revenue for his convalescence. How much would this have cost to someone who is uninsured? 200k$?

    There are some changes that I would accept. I don’t diasagree that people who can afford it should be able to buy upgraded health insurance. Doctor should be to work for the government and privately.

    We also have a no fault law which means we can’t sue medical doctors for mistake, which is big part of cost reduction. The law can compensate for some mistake but prevent ridicule amount in litigation.

    The difference between medical care and food is very large. Food is relatively cheap and easily available. It doesn’t cost 100$ of dollars to consult your butcher. The cost of food is easily budgetable and stable, while the cost of health care isn’t easy to buget and can cost a 100k for accidental injury or cancers. How are you supposed to be able to financially protect yourself against accidental injuries other than by insurance. And what can you do if the insurance refuse to cover you?

  38. There are two things driving up the cost of medical care:

    1) the availability of insurance
    2) a capricious tort system

    If you only can get what you pay for and not many can afford to pay a lot then the prices will come down. Part of the reason for the capriciousness of the tort system is the availability of malpractice insurance allowing juries to justify out of proportion awards. It boils down to other people’s money.

    Doctors charge what they can get and will pass on costs just like everybody else.

    Make a big pile of money available and vultures will fight to cash in on it.

    You do indeed pay for the medical treatments you get but, just like killing for meat, you’ve been insulated from the reality of it.

    Long ago, Congress enacted things like Medicare and welfare programs which have gotten out of hand and have turned out to have been inadequately funded. Now that the chickens are coming home to roost, Congress is attempting to fix it by building more and bigger hen houses thus providing for more chickens in the future.

    The price of food is an example of a free market in operation but, even there, the government implements programs which interfere. We continue to respond to mistakes by implementing bigger ones instead of undoing them.

  39. The Canadian health care system suffers from the same faults as all socialized health care. Increased costs that are managed by delaying and denying care for the more expensive health problems. If you get a serious disease in Canada you may have to wait months and in some cases years to get lifesaving treatment. If you are old you may be denied lifesaving treatment because of your age. Canada has shortages of doctors and nurses and sometimes towards the end of the year the money runs out and entire hospitals are closed. Canada is however very fortunate when compared with European countries with socialize health care and that is because they have the U.S. at their border. A Canadian needing emergency surgery can, when turned down by the Canadian health care system, drive across the border and recieve care in an American hospital. Canadians who need an MRI can drive to the U.S. and get one right away where the average wait time in Canada exceeds 8 months. Canada’s system does indeed cost less per capita then the free market system, that is the benefit of rationing health care. One day you will be older, say 60’s or 70’s and you will need a bypass operation to save/extend your life. Your Canadian system will deny this operation to you to save money and then you will understand. Good luck!

  40. GWW,
    You are really ill informed about the Canadian healthcare system. There are no entire hospitals that have ever closed out of budget. There is no one who is denied lifesaving treatment because of their age.
    The premiere cause of rationing isn’t because of money but lack of personal. The lack of personal comes in part by the coming of age of baby boomers who are retiring, and in part from competition with US hospital who will offer 2-3 times the same amount of money they make here. That shortage of personal is everywhere and not limited to Canada.
    People with money can pass an MRI, in Canada, in private facilities as well and as much as they want or can afford it (here for example: http://www.irmsudouest.com/for_patients.html).
    No one is denied care or treatment. Yes some very expensive treatment might be denied and most likely these treatments will also be denied by US insurance companies. In Canada, unlike in the USA before Obamacare, there is no lifetime limit to health care, no one is ever dropped by the system like some people were dropped by their health insurance after they got sick. We don’t have pre-existing condition. My aunt, who was 85, at the time had a hip replacement surgery.
    Yes, our system has flaws but none that you said. We lack personal because100% of the population can access it. Before Obamacare that number was only 80% in the USA. The rationing isn’t for budget reason but mainly lack of employee. Plus now many operations are now offered privately for those who can afford it.
    No necessary treatments are denied to anyone. My grand-father died in 1953 because he couldn’t afford is bypass surgery. He was 38. Now they will do bypass surgery on 90-100 year patient, if they are strong enough to survive the operation.
    I understand that rich people in the USA don’t want everyone to have access to healthcare because when everyone does have access it will make the delay longer before being treated; By the way, many US citizen living near the border come in Canada for treatment because they are cheaper, and often to the suggestion of their insurance companies.

  41. DAV,

    I hope you understand why the FDA was created. After assuring that the food industry will be clean enough to make sure their practice will not kill you. Companies care about profit not their customer. Do you think that the tobacco industries care that they customer die, no they just want them to be hooked to their products.

  42. I hope you understand why the FDA was created.

    I do. That’s not what I was talking about when I said “interfere”. I don’t have a (much) of a problem with the CPSC either but they sometimes overreach.

    People aren’t required to buy tobacco. Assuming there is a danger, and arguably there may not be, there has been a big educational push. After that, it should be left to the individual to decide; not the government. Maybe Canadians look forward to being nannied but the real driver here is making a case for ‘free’ money.

    The big Tobacco Settlement engineered by one of my neighbors was a joke. Do you know what North Carolina did with their share? Invested in tobacco. How’s that for hypocrisy?

  43. I agree that to smoke or not to smoke is the choice of individuals. What is not their choice the addition of niccotine which is proven to be addictive.

    When the tobbacco industry was caught lying to congress it was not about the health issue it was about the niccotine addiction.

  44. What is not their choice the addition of niccotine which is proven to be addictive.

    I don’t know what your experiences have been but I think it more than likely you have never experienced “addiction” and thus are operating on hearsay.

    I used many recreational pharmaceuticals in my youth and chain-smoked. What we call “addiction” is more habit and mind-frame than deep craving or need.

    When I quit smoking, I stopped after the first cigarette in a fresh pack just to see how hard it was. It really wasn’t all that hard and just to prove it to myself, I carried that same pack with 19 cigarettes in my shirt pocket for about 18 months. After that time, I noticed people were giving me strange looks. Apparently, I had a habit of reaching for a cigarette when I stopped to talk to someone. What they saw me doing was digging for a cigarette in an empty pocket. I didn’t have a craving for, nor did I want, a cigarette — it was just a subconscious habit.

    I had a girlfriend who was a heroin user. She could go for months without a fix. At no time did she ever appear to have a craving for it that just had to be satisfied.

    Having engaged in similar activities I can affirm the psychological draw but most “addiction” is simply the caving-in to self-satisfaction and the refusal to do without.

    A “craving” is not an addiction. Neither is a habit. I might crave a pizza but that hardly means I’m addicted to pizzas. The word “addiction” is used way too freely and nearly always judgmentally or as a convenient excuse.

    This is not to say that some people are simply not strong-willed enough to break away. Some drugs do make it hard. The opiates affect one by making everything quite pleasant. When they are taken away, the unpleasant fact that reality sucks reappears and the results can at times be gut-wrenching. A person prone to hiding reality will use anything available. Alcohol, for instance. It’s a rather poor reason to use to say they should be forever unavailable to true adults.

    I’ll bet you ingest nicotine on a regular basis without even realizing it. It’s in plants like tomatoes, aubergines and potatoes. Do you get cravings for it? I’ll bet not.

  45. Sylvian: your figures are wrong regarding Canadian healthcare. Remove civil servants from the equation (20 percent of the working population) and the average tax payer in Canada pays more for health care than what it costs to insure a family of four in New York state. Go to StatsCan and you can work it out for yourself.

    Canadian healthcare provides good emergency care. If you have cancer or need a heart operation you will be well cared for. On the other hand, Canadian healthcare provides terrible routine service. If you have a bad knee or some chronic “ouchy”, getting it sorted out is going to be an issue. Wait times to see a dermatologist are over 6 months in my neck of the woods, for example.

  46. Sylvain: there have been people denied surgery because of their age. Hip replacement, for example. While entire hospitals may not have closed, there are floors that are closed or MRIs left unused because the hospital cannot afford the staff to operate them.

    You are painting a disingenuous picture of socialized healthcare in Canada. Just recently there was an elderly lady left laying in the entrance to the emergency unit at a hospital in Ontario because the rules require an EMT to put her on a stretcher, and none was available. She is suing the hospital IIRC.

    I took my daughter in to CHEO a couple years ago to have a broken leg examined and had to wait 4 hours– we had an appointment!!!! When I was a kid, in Canada, I waited 8 hours to have a broken arm put in to a cast! The last time I went to a clinic I had to drive to 3 different places to find one that had spots available! When I finally got a place, some poor kid came in with his mom and the desk was going to turn them away, so I gave up my spot.

    I spent over a $1200 in PARKING a few years back– a close relative was dying of cancer and the hospital charges through the nose for parking at the ICU.

    I’m sure the situation is a little different in Quebec, but that entire province is subsidized by the rest of Canada… Your taxes are through the roof there, property values are way lower than elsewhere in Canada, and you have language and garbage police for Pete’s sake! (in Quebec it is illegal to hang a sign that Isn’t in French).

  47. A relative in Canada died about 5 years ago at 82 from a heart attack. Two years before that he was told he had two years to live unless he got a bypass. He had about $100,000 he had received from the sale of the family farm. He made a decision to give the money to his adult children rather then go to the U.S. and get the surgery. His wife was very angry about the decision but he stuck with it. He was a proud Canadian, very vocal about the things he loved about Canada. But after the decision by Canadians Health care to not treat him he never again showed that pride. I miss him, a bull of a man with nothing but love and kindness in his heart. His grandchildren miss him but sadly even the adult grandchildren were not told about the betrayal by Canada, they have no idea his death was preventable. So sad.

    Probably the reason you are ignorant of the closing of clinics and hospitals in Canada is because you live in the East and the Canadian system is run by the provinces and it is the Western and central provinces that have the greatest budget problems. They have done a lot to improve that situation and may not face a closure this year. I understand that a few years ago the city of Philadelphia had more MRI machines then the entire country of Canada. The good news is Canada caught up and now they have just as many and they have reduced the waiting time to under 8 months!!

  48. DAV
    No I never had any addiction because I simply never smoke, taken drug or even alcohol. But having studied in nursing I know more than enough that addiction is real and this include to nicotine.
    Not everyone that smokes develop a dependency to nicotine. I guess that you have never been dependent to it. I know some smoker like my dad who smoked for 30 years and stopped just like that while others are too hook and have just too strong withdrawal symptoms to be able to stop without nicotine patches.
    As for the nicotine in food calculated in nanogram/gram while in cigarettes they are calculated in mg by cigarettes which is 10,000 times higher in concentration. In hospital, you can see who is addicted to nicotine by their withdrawal symptoms, which when observed requires nicotine patches as long as they don’t interfere with other medicament.

  49. GWW,
    I just found an interesting survey here:
    http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/revans/384out.pdf
    Note that the age of treatment is a little bit older in the USA than in Canada. The discrepancies between the 2 of them is that many people in the USA had to wait to be on Medicare before having the surgery, while in Canada people are treated when they need the treatment.
    They conclude that the quality of care are the same although the LOS in hospital is longer in Canada (probably less pressure to exit patient too fast since in hospital patient cost more). The survey mention that people over 85 receives bypass cardiac surgery.
    As for 82 years old relatives, it seems to me that the reason why they didn’t do the surgery was that the risk was to high that he had little chance to survive it. You say he had 100K$ to pay for surgery himself. Than why didn’t he go get the surgery in the USA? It would have cost him 20k$ for it. A bypass in Canada is less than 10k$ and it is a common surgery for all ages. Not sure how you learned about something the kids ignore. Also, did he even try to get a second opinion?
    Yes, each province has their own healthcare and both doctor and patient are free to move from province to province. Manitoba and Saskatchewan may have more difficulties retaining doctors when they are surrounded by the 2 richest provinces Ontario and Alberta. Most of the time, when departments close down it is because they lack the number of specialist to keep it open and surgery requires highly specialized workers at all level.
    As for the waiting time that you find so egregious, what is the waiting time for the non-insured in the USA for any none life threatening surgery. The study I linked to shows a waiting time of 5 years for a USA patient.

  50. The US has lots of problems when it comes to health care. Most of them trace back (at least partially) to some law or regulation that interferes with creating an actual market that would allow normal economic incentives to improve price, quality and availability of medical care.

    It takes a special kind of fabulist to imagine that the solution to those problems is more of the same, but this time with feeling! Sadly, while special, these fabulists are far too common.

  51. Sylvain,
    Than why didn’t he go get the surgery in the USA? It would have cost him 20k$ for it
    and
    As for the waiting time that you find so egregious, what is the waiting time for the non-insured in the USA for any none life threatening surgery. The study I linked to shows a waiting time of 5 years for a USA patient.

    You seem to have implied that if GWTW’s relative had come to the US with his $20K he would have been treated right away even though he wasn’t insured.

    So, you must mean non-insured in the USA who expect someone else to pay. IOW: free medical care. Obamacare won’t change any of that. What’s your point?

  52. DAV

    1- I guess that you already have healthcare so you wouldn’t know what it means to not have it.

    A non-insured patient in the US would not have been treated unless he paid (or demonstrated that he could pay) for his care in advance for any non-life threatening surgery.

  53. I guess that you already have healthcare so you wouldn’t know what it means to not have it.

    Well, I don’t have health insurance. I pay my own way.

    A non-insured patient in the US would not have been treated unless he paid (or demonstrated that he could pay) for his care in advance for any non-life threatening surgery.

    As it should be. One of the reason why things got out of hand is the increasing number looking for a free ride. It’s one thing to help out when it’s temporary and quite another when it becomes expected due.

  54. DAV

    You pay your own way and that is great. What happen the day you have a car accident or go in a movie theatre and get shot, or simply fall down the stair and that you have to spend a few weeks in howpital with several surgery and that your health care bill amount to 100k$, 500k$ or even a million dollars. How do you pay for it? how does anyone working for minumum wage pays for it?

  55. Well, now you’re back on emergency care which we’ve agreed is already covered. Oddly, I do have insurance against car accidents and falling down the stairs which are fallouts of other mandatory insurance requirements. I have them but don’t necessarily agree that I should.

    Non-emergency care is by definition non-life threatening. S**t happens. If it comes down to that then I’ll decide what is more important to me. So would insurance companies and hospitals. I don’t expect someone else to pickup the tab. I have little sympathy for those that rely on someone else for day to day care which is a growing problem. Covering those would effectively double my current costs by simultaneously placing a bet they will occur.

    In any case, the true amount I would have to pay won’t exceed what the insurance would have paid out. The prices you have been quoting amount to sticker shock as it’s called in the sales business.

    As I pointed out before, the high costs of medical care are in part due to things like the commonality of health insurance. It’s that idea of using other people’s money. Obamacare compounds that problem.

    Socialization is not the answer either. Not sure what can be done at this point but throwing good money after bad is rarely a good idea.

  56. Sylvain; glad to hear from you I thought you might have been the Parti Quebecois rally shooter acting out your anger.

    The reason he choose not to have the surgery was a combination of his advancing age and his religious belief in the afterlife, his anger and frustration with the Canada health care system that he thought betrayed him and his belief that he would rather give his children the inheiritance then be nickle-dimed by the Canadian health care syetem that had refused to treat him. His pride wouldn’t let him tell his grandchildren who idolized him and after his death his own children honored his wish on this.

  57. I’m not sure that commonality of health insurance is the main reason for higher health cost. Of course, in the USA, insurance companies are there to make profit, while in Canada the government is not in to make profit. Already, health cost are 10-20% higher in the US than in Canada.

    Taxes in Québec are much higher than in the US. A household that makes something like $250k will pay about 50% in taxes (federal and probincial combined). But on the other hand, Waht ever the medical illness wether it be life threatening or elective, accidental or developped over time, everyone just go to the hospital and are cared for. Buying a house in Canada is much less expensive, a $500k house in Montreal is/was worth $1.5 million. Electricity is also much cheaper though gas is more expensive. University is also much cheaper, a full year cost about $2.5k compared to $40k for almost any ivy league school in the USA. A 3-4 years degree costs less than one semester in US universities.

    We don’t have many people who don’t have enough to eat because there are safety nets that come to there help. Yes, there are some freeloaders but they are far from being the norm and most people really need the help they receive.

  58. «Sylvain; glad to hear from you I thought you might have been the Parti Quebecois rally shooter acting out your anger.»

    Le Parti Quebecois is even fatrher left than I am. In the USA they would be called communist and you might have been the one do the shooting. I’m really not an angry man so I really don’t understand what anger you are refering too, since I have treated everyone here with respect.

    As for your relative, I would need much more detail about is situation, but by my experience cases like this are really rare. Just as in any countries you can find extreme cases where everything as gone wrong.

    If you watched the DNC convention last night you saw a great example of what good Obamacare can do.

  59. Already, health cost are 10-20% higher in the US than in Canada.

    Then the prices in Canada are higher. The insurance companies here only pay around 33% of the quoted cost. The “charges” claimed are inflated to jack up the price. I mentioned earlier that I can get away with paying only what the insurance companies will. I rarely get an argument.

    I have a continuing medication need. When I had insurance, the medication charge was $400/mo. Copay came to $80/mo. Without the insurance, I now pay $10/mo but I switched medication, too.

    So in the US a $100K charge results in a $33K payment. (The hospitals also have highly inflated prices for incidentals like $15 for a box of tissues and have a tendency to double bill). If US prices Canadian prices are 20% higher than in Canada then the same charge $100K would be $83K.

    Sounds like socialization is very expensive.

    In any case, when OPM is used, both the insurance customer and the socialized medicine patient are insulated from the reality of the charges and the consumer has little incentive to investigate and question charges. This is true regardless of the money source as long as it is someone else paying be it insurance or the government.

    If you watched the DNC convention last night you saw a great example of what good Obamacare can do.

    Guess they couldn’t find any counter examples.

  60. Not sure I follow your reasoning but for the moment healthcare is twice as expensive in the US than in Canada.

    As for counter example the Republican convention last week didn’t find any example where Obamacare did hurt someone.

  61. As for counter example the Republican convention last week didn’t find any example where Obamacare did hurt someone.

    Yeah. Hard to get images of future problems, baseless forced private contracts, etc. with emotional appeal.

  62. Sylvain: Of course, in the USA, insurance companies are there to make profit, while in Canada the government is not in to make profit.

    Yes, exactly! Thank you for defending the US over Canada! /sarc

    Passing laws does not revoke the fact that people act in response to incentives. You simply make the incentives different. Trying to ignore all of the failures of centralized planning does not magically remove the problems when you apply it to health care.

    The health care market in the US is horribly distorted and problematic. But that’s not an argument for worse distortions.

  63. Sylvain: your statement about the health care system not existing to make profit is not true. While the corporate body does not seek profit, the members of it certainly do. What is the salary of a LIN executive? Why do former political hacks end up getting jobs as hospital administrators? Why are there more administrators than doctors? The beauracracys grow while service declines.

    We just had two massive healthcare related scandals here in Ontario that magically disappeared 3 billion dollars– E health, and Orange. Both organizations executives were connected to the premier. While I do t follow Quebec healthcare politics, I am certain that the most corrupt province in Canada (McLeans, 2010) has its fair share.

    I am still waiting for your response to my previous posts.

    GoneWithTheWind: the shooting comment was uncalled for. Not funny. Someone died.

  64. Sylvain: You grossly understate the taxes Canadians pay and the benefits you get from them. Your business and sales taxes are exorbitant. Your national and local income taxes are excessive. That is the inevitable result of adopting a socialized health care system. Your individual health care costs or college costs “appear” low because they already took 70% of your wealth to pay for it. Canada is very lucky because it has an abundance of natural resource, a small population and an enormous market for your products on your Southern border.

    My basic disagreement with socialized health care is that it is anti-democratic, anti-human rights and in our country at least unconstitutional. It is not right that 51% of the people can decide to allow the government to take my hard earned money at the point of a gun and threat of incarceration to pay for the health care and other needs of the lazy and unproductive. You like socialism today presumably because you like the free stuff it provides you. I prefer a system that provides me freedom and not free stuff.

  65. Sylvain lives in the most socialist (and corrupt) province in Canada. It costs the rest of Canada money to keep Quebec floating. I think we give Quebec a net 50 billion a year. Of course Sylvain thinks its all good– he is spending someone else’s money.

    The tax rates in Canada can best be summed up as such: you work from January to mid July for the government without pay (HST + income tax + property tax). If you drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, or drive a car, then you work an extra month (or two) for the government, for free, to cover the special taxes buried in the price of those things. This doesn’t include things like licensing fees, “debt repayment fees”, or “Eco fees” (fees are not taxes, legally, and so the provincial governments can tak them on whenever the like).

    If you invest your money you end up paying the government 25% of the profit from the investment.

    Prices, for almost everything, are higher in Canada as well.

    No problems here folks… Nothing to see… Keep moving along…

  66. Will,

    I think it is time you come back to earth.

    1- Yes, there is corruption in Québec, just like there is corruption in the ROC and the USA and the rest of the planet. The difference is that our journalists are not complaisant toward it and are working really hard to unmask the corruption. What is considered corruption in Québec is considered normal practice in the ROC.

    2- Yes, we receive an amount in perequation. By capita, we receive the smallest amount but since we have more population than other provinces who also receive perequation money in total is bigger.
    You can educate yourself here:

    http://www.fin.gc.ca/access/fedprov-fra.asp

    Notice that these numbers doesn’t include the investment made by the federal government in each province in different agencies. For example, in Ontario there is about a million jobs subsidised by the federal government in different agencies.

    When all the taxes paid by the people of Québec to Ottawa are counted, we receive about the same amount than what we pay while Ontario receives more than it pays. So before claiming we spend someone else money you should check your arithmetic. Of course, this is not something the National Post, or Globe and Mail would actually tell the truth about.

    3- Also the most «socialized» province in Canada is Alberta; at least it was the claim, which I believe is correct, made by one candidate in the last election.

    4- I don’t know in which province you live but here and at least Ontario it is very different. Yes, the healthcare system is not perfect and there are thing to do to make it better including reducing the bureaucracies. Yes, you will often have to wait for non-urgent emergency care. This is why you first pass to a nurse who establishes your priority. And yes there are some cases that falls through the crack like the case you showed but these cases are very few in number. Unlike the USA 100% of Canadian are covered for their health care so it is normal that you may have to wait more for non-life-threatening visit to the hospital.

  67. Sylvain: McLeans (MacLeans?) magazine found QC to be the most corrupt province. Heck, your outgoing government is rife with corruption charges!

    Quebec receives more in “equalization” than any other province. Gift wrapping the fact doesn’t change it. I poo poo on NB and Nfld as well, but QC is definitely top contender.

    I live in Ottawa, Sylvain.

    The reason I don’t live in the Gats, despite property values being about $100k lower and the views generally being superior, is because of the taxes and the risk that I may be evicted by a socialist government who seems hell bent on starting a civil war.

    Quebecers are being led down a very dark path with promises of “free education” and “free daycare”, so long as your not an Anglo of course. Socialism, once again, is buying off the people who wont respond to Nationalism and leading us towards some very dark times.

  68. Will,

    You paint a picture that is much darker than reality.
    Yes, there have been scandals of corruptions that have seen the light of day (BTW, the PLQ/LPQ is THE Federalist Party in the province). This party main base is the people living in Montreal (i.e. where most English speaking people are). If it weren’t for those people instead of a separatist party being elected we would have a party that is neither separatist nor federalist. A party that just doesn’t care about that stuff, but instead cares about economy and about cleaning up some bureaucracy.

    I’m pretty sure that there is just as much corruption in the ROC but that journalists are less motivated to dig and find them, while separatist journalist are very motivated to find dirt about the PLQ.
    What you call equalization really is perequation. In absolute number Québec receives the most at 7.3 billion and Ontario is second at 3.2 billion. By capita, Québec and Ontario are the provinces that receive the less. But these are not all the transfer made by the federal to the province. In total transfer ON is the province that receives the most in federal transfers with 19 billion followed by QC at 17 billion and BC at 5.6 billion. In per capita, those that receive the most are the territory followed by the Atlantic province (- NF) followed by SK and MA and then QC ON NF, BC and AL.

    NF because of oil rigs receives a lot less than they did in the past.

    These numbers are found here:

    http://www.fin.gc.ca/fedprov/mtp-fra.asp

    Here you have the number of federal employee in each province:

    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-621-m/2008066/t/4054486-eng.htm

    At $75k average salary, this is over $1 billion that is invested in ON. ON has almost half of all government employee.

    I have also found this very interesting link that you can look at:

    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/13-018-x/2010001/tab-eng.htm

  69. Sylvain: so I should believe that a) journalist in Quebec are better than journalists in the rest of Canada, and b) therefore Quebec is not corrupt despite lawsuits, construction related fatalities, and an outgoing government that fell due to a reputation for corruption? Enjoy the distinction while you can– Ontario might take first place soon enough.

    I would like to add that while Ontario does get a lot of Federal jobs (Ottawa is the capital after all, and HQ of Dept of national defense, national research council, etc..), the federal government is required to hire francophones in a number far disproportionate to the french speaking population. PSAC (Canadian civil service union) endorsed the SEPARATIST party in Quebec. Yes America, the union representing people who work for the Canadian federal government endorses a political party that would like to see an end to Canada. Do you think this would have happened if PSAC was run by Anglos from Alberta?

    Sylvain, you can gift wrap all you like. I go to city hall and everyone there is required to speak French. We even have city administrators who live in Quebec. I know for a fact that it is not like that across provincial lines… Revenue Quebec won’t even serve you unless you parlez Francais. Tabernac!!!!

  70. Will,
    «… a) journalist in Quebec are better than journalists in the rest of Canada, and b) therefore Quebec is not corrupt…»
    I’m not sure how you reach this conclusion from what I wrote. I said that journalists in Québec were more motivated than journalists in other provinces. It says nothing about quality, but about interest. Corruption exist everywhere, in Québec and also in English Canada, and the USA, Europe, Russia, China, Australia. But corruption is not the same everywhere either. Some of the practices that we can consider corrupted in Québec might be considered normal somewhere else.
    What is required by law is that people must be able to speak French and English to work for the federal government. The thing is that very few English speaking people are able to speak French while most French-Canadians are able to speak English fluently enough when they live near Montreal.
    English people living in Québec rarely complain that they can’t be served in English for governmental services. In Montreal, most of the time you are first served in English, and sometimes the person doesn’t even speaks French at all. Not enough to say «merci ou s’il vous plait».
    A few years ago, a French and an English TV station work together on story. They place a French in Calgary where he tried to be served in French. No one ever stopped or tried to help the guy, some even called him f**** frog and other insults. They did the same with an English speaking person in both Québec city and smaller more isolated town where no one speaks English and even when people didn’t speak English they tried to help him.
    The English reporter was appalled when he saw how the French reporter got treated in Alberta, while he was surprised at how well he was received in Québec.
    Signage in English is permitted in Québec as long as it also includes the French translation. English can be served in English in all hospital in Québec while French from other provinces have trouble to be served in French anywhere. I consider myself bilingual and try to learn a little bit of any other language when I can.
    I would be very surprise that you would have been unable to be served in English by Revenue Québec. Of course, if we are insulted by someone in English we are not much interested to be compliant with him.

  71. Sylvain: You are painting an overly cheerful picture. People in Quebec are generally very friendly, but it is the politics we are discussing and the politics (and policies) of the PQ are definitely Quebec nationalist, socialist, and anti Anglo. Corruption in the other parties continue to make the PQ an attractive choice for voters, even if the voter does not support the separatist agenda of the party.

    For every story you might hear about some jerk in western canada I’m sure we can find a similar story elsewhere. Let’s agree that jerks live everywhere, speak all languages, and practice all religions (including atheism. Hehe). I hope you don’t take my comments as anti Francophone. I love being able to buy beer at a corner store in QC, love hearing the Bloc leader rip in to the other federal candidates (though I dont agree with separation) and ultimately I do send my kids to a French school each and every day.

  72. Will- I personaly don’t buy into the Anglos are bad narrative. So does a majority of the French speaking population. The PQ is a minority government and is no position to realise anything they want to do. They will have compromise a lot to stay in power. They would not have been elected if regular liberal voters had traded for the CAQ. I’m not sure why they are so afraid to change their vote from time to time. Old Political Party need to be renewed to clear the air from the corruption that automatically get associated with them (and this is not limited to Québec).

    The linguinstic law is very rarely applied and very little people are in favor of tougher laws.

    There are many anglos in Montreal that make no effort to learn French and this is what aggress many French.

    I’m not a separatist either (or anymore). I like having two level of government that look at each like angry dog ready to fight. It prevent us to fall into complaisance.

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