The Worries of Joe Lieberman

"I want to be able to vote for a health bill, but my top concern is the deficit." So says Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, a state that is home to 72 insurance headquarters, the largest concentration of that industry in the nation. Connecticut has three times the US  average of insurance jobs as a percent of total state employment. In 2004, the insurance industry in Connecticut was a $12.2 billion dollar industry. Two years later, it hit $14.6 billion. That's a CAGR of 9.4 percent.

Sixteen of those 72 insurance companies provide health or medical service insurance. Those 16 insurance companies employ over 22,000 employees and have annual payroll of over $2.3 billion. The total annual state insurance industry payroll exceeds $6 billion. 5.5 percent of the state's gross domestic product comes from the insurance industry. But no Joe Lieberman isn't worried about their profits, he's worried about adding to the deficit.

Via The Hill:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), one of a handful of Senate wild cards in this fall's healthcare reform debate, says his concern about the Senate bill is based on the national deficit -- not the insurers that dominate his state.

The Connecticut senator told The Hill he may support a bill that taxes insurers or cuts into their profits, but only if the federal deficit won't balloon as a result.

"Insurers aren't my biggest concern -- I sued them once when I was attorney general, and I'm not afraid to end anti-trust exemptions," Lieberman said. "I am really worried about what this could do to the deficit."

Joe, you ignorant war-monger, you. Don't lie to us pretending that you care about the deficit when you support a war in Afghanistan that as of August was running a cool $4 billion a year and that's before we consider sending more troops. Senator Lieberman just a week ago penned an op-ed in the Washington Post with Representative Ike Skelton urging the President to "commit the decisive force that will allow General McChrystal to break the Taliban's momentum as quickly as possible." In said op-ed, not one iota about costs or impact to the deficit. Well, Joe, the cost of sending an additional soldier is estimated at one million per soldier per annum.

Since the invasion of Afghanistan eight years ago, the United States has spent $223 billion on war-related funding for that country, according to the Congressional Research Service. Aid expenditures, excluding the cost of combat operations, have grown exponentially, from $982 million in 2003 to $9.3 billion in 2008.

Before you come crying to us about a deficit, look at what you are choosing to spend on and likely for naught. At least with healthcare, it is being spent on us, the American people. I can see a return on investment in healthcare, it's harder to see one on Afghanistan.

Moreover as David Dayen over at Firedoglake points out "the public option would SAVE money for the government, to the tune of $100 billion dollars over 10 years according to the Congressional Budget Office."

Tags: Afghanistan, Senator Joe Lieberman, US Healthcare Reform, US Insurance Industry (all tags)

Comments

17 Comments

Re: The Worries of Joe Lieberman

Evan Bayh lied months ago on Rachel Maddow on what would happen if Lieberman would become a detriment to the party's interests. His main reasoning at that time was we needed Lieberman to avoid filibusters.

Well, one more time, Evan Bayh, the most overrated dimwit senator looks like a fool. Or is he? Maybe he just values Lieberman's friendship over his duty as a senator.

by Pravin 2009-10-27 08:19PM | 0 recs
Re: The Worries of Joe Lieberman

No, he's just a dimwitted fool.

by vecky 2009-10-27 09:07PM | 0 recs
Re: The Worries of Joe Lieberman

What does Lieberman have to do to get kicked out of the caucus?

It seems like running against the Democratic candidate in CT, actively campaigning against the Democratic nominee for President and various other betrayals have not been enough.

If he filibusters healthcare reform, then he should be kicked out. Simple.

I want us to call the bluff of the Snowes and Liebermans of this world. Put the opt-out public option in the bill, then put it to the floor.

Make Snowe and Lieberman filibuster vitally important healthcare reform.  

by liberalj 2009-10-28 03:55AM | 0 recs
Re: The Worries of Joe Lieberman

You ever watch the Twilight Zone episode where a kid with powers gets pampered and he gets away with stuff? THe whole town cowers before him. He gets to order people around to do what he wants.

Lieberman reminds me of that spoiled brat, without the special powers of course. The twist here is he doesn't even need those special powers. The Democratic caucus kissing his ass pretty much gives him those powers.

by Pravin 2009-10-28 04:19AM | 0 recs
Re: The Worries of Joe Lieberman

Didn't see that one. But agree with you on the spoiled brat point. The only point in spoiling him is if we get something in return and we're not getting anything but grief.

Be interested to see if he was kicked out whether he'd join the Republican caucus.

by liberalj 2009-10-28 04:24AM | 0 recs
Lack of powerful progressive think tanks

We need progressive think tanks that research and bring clarity to progressive solutions the way the right wingers do. One thing right wingers don't have to go through is a lot of infighting because they pass along talking points which can be refined in their think tanks. These talking points get distributed back to the general base once they have gone through some refinement.

You look at the Democratic Party and they don't seem to have had a single get together to hash out important ideas and debate them in the past. They are improvising on the fly now. What were the senators and other party big wigs doing the last 8 years?  All these objections/suggestions some of these moderates had, why weren't they addressed, debunked or maybe incorporated based on how sound they were? Why don't Democratic party head honchos fund progressive think tanks to refine these ideas?

Sure, we have some of these institutions, but how many in the general population even know about them? YOu need a bigger effort considering progressives do not have a FOX NEWS outlet.

Generate ideas, refine them based on internal debate, then disseminate them repetitively. The time for these public option debates should have been held years ago in the party.

by Pravin 2009-10-28 04:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Lack of powerful progressive think tanks

Why? Because Liberals think for themselves and Conservatives are incapable of thought, i.e. Sarah Palin.

by antiHyde 2009-10-28 05:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Lack of powerful progressive think tanks

I am hardly one to promote conformity. I disagree with some liberal policies and would not want to be in the position of parroting all of them blindly.

What I want is a place which provides information that can be a good starting point for Democrats to discuss different issues. You want to argue evolution vs ID? The progressive think tanks can come up with easy reference talking points to the person who wants to argue with a religious nitwit.  

Now if you have a different viewpoint on something that is already agreed upon by all Democrats, then there is nothing, theoretically, in a progressive think tank's makeup that prevents you from voicing that disagreement. If the think tank is too rigid, then they risk becoming a laughing stock among our community. Conservatives fight among each other too. But they have common gathering areas with influence.  What we have seen in the last eight years is not a case of where people like Bayh really believed the Iraq war was good , it was because he could not be bothered to figure out the holes in the Cheney story. if there were progressive think tanks that had any real influence, then maybe Bayh would have been forced to think twice before he supported some Bush positions just to fall in line. Now a progressive think tank would not prevent a true looney bin like Lieberman from advocating the war. But it would have made it tougher on Bayh without any true conviction to fall in line with Bush-Cheney. Any reason Bayh would use to support the war would have been easily debunked and I doubt any senator wants to look embarrassed by his peers for foolish rhetoric. But that can only happen if the party can importance to some of these think tanks.

by Pravin 2009-10-28 06:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Lack of powerful progressive think tanks

Think tanks offer the sort of breeding ground for ideas and strategy and lend a certain legitimacy to those ideas and strategies. The problem is funding them- that being said a progressive think tank that worked not only on determining the reforms we need, but the strategies for enacting them would be a great boon to our movement. I am sure some exist, but they do not seem to have the popularity or the credence that conservatives give their think tanks.

by JDF 2009-10-28 07:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Lack of powerful progressive think tanks

Ten to one. That's the difference in money going to fund right-wing think tanks and center/left ones. Mind you those on the center/left don't necessarily hold progressive views either.

by Charles Lemos 2009-10-28 09:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Lack of powerful progressive think tanks

I understand the point where people in the center/left may not have progressive views, but the goals are very similar. How to achieve them is where they differ. If these rich Democrats helped fund think tanks or something similar. Maybe form a wing in the Democratic Party called research wing where all senators of the party are STRONGLY encouraged to use for feedback and as a sounding board for their own ideas in case they think they are such mavericks.

Actually blogs could be a good sounding board for filtering and then finetuning ideas into practical policy. But I get the impression that most of our senators don't really respect us. Without respect and numbers, you have no influence.

by Pravin 2009-10-28 11:05AM | 0 recs
No thanks

I'd rather have infighting than a party of robots.

by Dracomicron 2009-10-28 05:19AM | 0 recs
Re: No thanks

I do allow for infighting in my suggestion, but it is done early on. That is why i talked about internal debate. People like Bayh and Lieberman would have to suggest why the majority suggestions are a bad idea and offer their own ideas. The majority in the party apparatus then should be forced to debunk these suggestions or incorporate the good ideas into their proposals. The compromises have to be done at this stage and once the party agrees on a solution that makes sense, they need to understand why it makes sense and back it up and be able to be articulate in promoting it.

You do not wait until the last minute and start whining about it. Having progressive think tanks doesn't mean they get to dictate ideas. It actually allows people to avoid rehashing the same arguments. Disagreements will still be there but only on valid different points of view and not misconceptions of what a certain thing does. The current arguments seem to go around in circles. We had eight years to get some clarity on what might work and what doesn't. They had eight years to come up with strong clear counter arguments to the Republican talking points that any Democratic senator should be well versed with. So far, it seems like only a few know how to promote the agenda on camera. The others seem unprepared when grilled by a conservative leaning host.

by Pravin 2009-10-28 06:26AM | 0 recs
Re: No thanks

You do not wait until the last minute and start whining about it.

You do if you're Joe Lieberman.  Remember: Not a Democrat.

by Dracomicron 2009-10-28 07:08AM | 0 recs
This is the way it's going to be.

Joe Lieberman is the abusive boyfriend of the Democratic Party.  He wouldn't have to hit us if we weren't wearing that slutty health reform dress.

My impression is that this is how it's going to be with Joe, and we might as well get used to it.  He'll threaten to side with the Republicans, Reid will make concessions, and he'll drop it until next time he wants something.

The worse option would be if the insurance bigs simply bought him off.

by Dracomicron 2009-10-28 05:25AM | 0 recs
Joe's Right

He is being fiscally responsible  . . . to himself.

Joe has received over $3.3 million from the healthcare sector. His wife, Hadassah, works for Hill & Knowlton as a senior counselor in its health and pharmaceuticals practice.

Joe's right his stance is all about fiscal responsibility and the debt.

His personal fiscal responsibility and making sure he never ever goes into debt.

by jsfox 2009-10-28 06:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe's Right

Yep, Lieberman is bought off. I dont see the difference between jefferson stacking 100 dollar bills in his freezer and Lieberman's wife getting paid way more than her market value.

by Pravin 2009-10-28 06:50AM | 0 recs

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