Consumer Spending, Income, and Saving – Disturbing News?

August 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Economics

consumer_spendingThe Bureau of Economic Analysis (part of the U.S. Department of Commerce) today released its report on personal incomes, spending and saving by consumers nationally. This data is for activity in June 2009. It has Mr. ToughMoneyLove scratching his head a bit. I’m not sure yet what it means but my first reaction is concern.

First, U.S. consumers increased their spending by 0.4 percent. “Spending” is referred to as PCE or “personal consumption expenditures” by the bureaucrats. This increase was ahead of analysts’ estimates. (Spending increased by only 0.1 percent in May.) Spending is OK and actually good for our recovery if proper budget balance is maintained. But ….

Personal incomes dropped by 1.3 percent in June after increasing by the same amount in May. The May boost can be attributed to the one-time payments from the Obama stimulus package. Most economists had expected personal incomes to fall by only 1 percent. The bureaucratic term for personal income is “disposable personal income” or DPI. It appears that we are still quite good at the “dispose” part.

So if spending went up and incomes went down, what does this mean for our national propensity to save? That’s right folks, deep down we don’t like to save. The June data may indicate that we are reverting to our old habits. Personal savings as a percentage of disposable personal income dropped to 4.6 percent in June, compared with 6.2 percent in May. Ouch.

I realize that consumer spending represents 70%  of our national economy but please folks, can we not be so quick to re-work the spending vs. saving ratio?

What happened to learning better habits in the world of personal finance?

Perhaps I am overreacting without proper analysis. What do you think?

Photo credit: Jake Wasdin

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31 Responses to “Consumer Spending, Income, and Saving – Disturbing News?”
  1. kitty says:

    Interesting. I wouldn’t be upset just yet because it’s just averages. Unless you know the distribution, for all you know people who spending are not the same people than those with less income. People are losing jobs, many more don’t get raises, so the average income is down. Others – who still have their jobs are taking heart from the recent stock market performance, so they are spending. Especially since many postponed some needed purchases before or just see good deals. How much of the personal income decline comes from job losses and how much of the spending increase comes from people who still have their jobs?

    A large percentage of spending comes from people with higher income and net worth whose confidence is based on their portfolio performance (and hence their net worth fluctuation) a lot more than on salary increases. For me, for example, it’s a combination of my net worth fluctuation (which is much more influenced by stock market performance than my savings rate) and job fear factor.

    While people like me (and I imagine you as well) as well are those who with even higher incomes and net worth are in the minority, we account for a large percentage of spending since we can afford more. A 10% or 20% increase in spending by those whose sentiment is based on their portfolio value is likely to be a higher percentage of total spending increase than increase by someone for whom a 3% salary increase makes such a difference that he or she rushes to spend it.

    Personal savings numbers are more telling, but again, there are people like me who may be hoarding less…

    I also imagine that when people see others losing jobs, people are scared and don’t buy anything including maybe stuff they need. After a period of time and with market’s going up, the fear abates — even if this is irrational since the risk is still high. But emotions aren’t rational.

    So unless you can find the data to break up spending increase by income and net worth, you cannot really make conclusions from the data.

  2. Rick Beagle says:

    “Perhaps I am overreacting without proper analysis.”

    That is pretty much the only sentence in you post today that is actually on the money (pun intended).

    I am pretty sure people who have the money to save, are saving it.
    Rick Beagle

  3. MasterPo says:

    For the spending, does that include the fact that prices keep going UP?!

    IOW, sure I’m spending more now because I must! That is, I need to spend more for the same things today than I did 6 months ago. So naturally my spending is up. But that’s totally different from spending more on different things.

    As for the savings, why bother? Obama is going to tax the hell out of any interest or returns you get (low as they are anyway) so why bother saving? (you hear that Rick!)

  4. MasterPo says:

    ps- Hey Rick,

    Don’t you mean that in these tough times if people can still find money to save instead of paying taxes to help others they are just being greedy? 😀

  5. TMN says:

    Kitty — dear god, please tell me you’re not serious. People spending money they didn’t have because their imaginary property was “worth” a nice fat nest egg is exactly why everything collapsed the way it did. You’ve gone right back to the same behavior that led to this mess, and you seem proud of it.

  6. Time will tell if people are spending too much again or not. It would be interesting to see how this trends over the next couple of months.

    It could be a blip due to pent-up demand. People with some extra money put off spending and after many months decided to buy.

  7. kitty says:

    TMN – where did I say people spending money they don’t have? I don’t remember mentioning buying anything about buying in credit or not having money, did I? In fact, I specifically mentioned people with higher net worth. Maybe it’s my English but I think higher-than-average net worth means having some money to spend because if you spend more money than you have then your net worth will be negative, right?

    Let me spell it out for you. The people who spend more are not the same people whose income dropped. People who lost jobs experienced a significant loss in income – a lot more than numbers in statistics. They affect the averages.

    But people who cannot afford to buy stuff aren’t the only ones who reduced their spending during the crisis. People who had money reduced their spending as well. Nope, stock market prices may not change what you can afford, so if they can afford it now, it is likely they could afford it before too. But just because I can afford something doesn’t mean I necessarily have to go and buy it. The decision to buy or not is influenced by a lot more than just being able to afford it. Fear, desire to make up for money lost in the market to return one’s nest egg to its previous value, reluctance to part with money after large paper losses, higher psychological value of remaining money, deflationary sentiment (“why would I buy it now if it’ll be cheaper in 3 months”) all play a part. So now that fear has abated somewhat, nest egg is closer to where it was, fear of deflation was replaced with concern about future inflation (“this maybe more expensive in future”), people WHO HAVE MONEY who reduced their buying during the crisis are starting to buy again. Maybe some things that they had planned to buy before, maybe some discretionary items. Yes, these people are in the minority, but they also have more money to spend. So in terms of amounts of money spent, they affect the averages quite a lot. I am not talking about super rich here, but let’s say maybe people with high six to low seven digit net worth divided between home equity, retirement and non-retirement funds let’s say in more-or-less equal chunks and with certain amount – let’s say about 100K – in cash/CDs?

    Somehow I doubt that the spending behavior of people with significant amount of money invested who spend a little more or a little less of money they DO HAVE contributed to this crisis, do you? What Master Po said is true too – about prices being going up.

    Master Po – you always have interesting points. But to Rick’s credit I think he did say it correctly and very succintly too about TML’s overreacting without proper analysis. It sometimes amazes me how people misinterpret statistics…

  8. MasterPo says:


    For 20 years at least I’ve heard how poor the American savings rate is. And I agree. I know oh soooooo many people who just refuse to save a dime. If they have it, they spend it. And then some.

    But you have to agree that with all the proposals for taxation plus the vilification of “the rich” for being “greedy” for wanting to keep what they earn (that’s Rick’s comment to me in a prior article) there is precious little incentive for people to want to save.

    Add in that if you (not you personally) just whine and cry loud enough the government will give you what you want. So being a saver (and by definition someone who is planning for their own future) is looking more foolish by the day.

  9. Rick Beagle says:

    “villification of “the rich” for being “greedy””

    ROFL MasterPo.

    Yeppers, we are really trying to stick it to the rich with our desire to return the tax rate to its previous level so that we don’t have to continue adding those dollars to our deficit. And our desire to actually enforce our laws and close loopholes, that too is sooooooo anti-rich…. Oh and those bankers and Wall Street folks, they are just good people, pfft why would I want to vilify their behavior?

    You are like a Fox news show, full of GREAT sound bites, but zero thought or proof behind the thoughts presented.

    Let me sum this up for you MasterPo, because you obviously don’t get it.
    1) We have laws, and regulations – enforce them. Putting cronies in place extracted from the very organizations they are supposed to police is criminal imho.
    2) Giving tax breaks to the wealthiest amongst us thereby increasing our debt is irresponsible.

    Crying about the national debt, while crying about having your tax rate reinstated is hypocrisy based on greed.

    Rick Beagle

  10. kitty says:

    Master Po — I agree with most of your points about taxation. I don’t believe redistribution of wealth works — I grew up in the Soviet Union, so I saw the effects of redistribution of wealth first hand. I am also concerned about current policies. I am worried that higher taxes will stifle whatever modest recovery there is there. I am worried that the effect of higher taxes on my employer, especially on its oversees earnings will lead to further cost cutting and endanger my job. The government keeps saying how they’ll remove the incentive to ship jobs oversees, but as a US employee of a multi-national company I fear these policies will hurt rather than help me and my US co-workers. And yes – there is little incentive to save in policies, especially since there is a risk of inflation down the road. Fear of inflation is an incentive to spend, which is why in countries like Russia whenever people hear the word “crisis”, they run to stores and buy everything they can. To them “crisis” is associated with rampant inflation, and if a TV can be sold tomorrow even at a loss, money becomes worthless paper – as is happened in their previous crisis. BTW – I did agree in part with treasury policies, and I do believe they may have prevented another Great Depression. But tax hikes and what they’d do to the economy concern me a lot.

    As to savings rate – yes, it was bad. But you still cannot make conclusions from this data that deals with averages. We don’t know where the increase in spending comes from – higher prices, higher spending by people like me who if not rich are at least comfortable or more spending from those who cannot afford it. I have to tell you that I did have this fear to spend earlier this year, and I am talking about stuff I can easily afford.

    Rick – you are right that we need to reduce the deficit. I also agreed with your very succint statement above – people often make conclusions from averages which is premature. But if higher taxes lead to more people unemployed, you get less revenue too. Especially taxes on small businesses. And it is not just about restoring rates to before-Bush era (I voted against Bush by the way, twice), it’s also about Cap and Trade that will raise energy cost and will hurt small businesses. As to regulations – yes some regulations are needed, for example, I support reinstatement of the uptick rule. But some regulations can stifle the economy.

  11. Rick Beagle says:


    I never voted for Bush, and think he and Cheney need to be tried for war crimes. This isn’t stated for debate, but rather, like yours, to show which side of the punch bowl that I drink from.

    No one wants to stifle business nor reduce employment in any meaningful way. There is of course a huge asterisk at the end of that statement. Progressives feel that money can be made without the need to purposefully harm other people, our political processes, or our environment.

    The Health Care protesters a perfect example of this. Regardless of which political party you belong to, the manipulation of our political system by the health insurance industry is atrocious. Telling people that the government is going to encourage our elderly to kill themselves or off them ourselves is terribly irresponsible. We can argue about the idiots who actually believe these claims, but the violence and death threats make such conversations moot.

    I have no idea how to regulate some of these activities, but the course we are on now (not so much a political system as an auction) is not sustainable.

    Rick Beagle

  12. MasterPo says:


    Suppose you lost your 20 year job in financial IT. Would you seek a new job from a poor person or a rich person?

    If you can be honest and answer that truthfully you’ll see my point.

    ps- There are 65 or so pages in the bill about “end of life” ‘options’ and ‘counciling’. A Why does a HEALTH bill put sooooo much into the talk of death?!

  13. MasterPo says:


    I will put this as direct and clear for you:

    My wife’s 81 y/o grandmother was diagnosed with stage 3 pancreatic cancer. Her doctor perscribed a full course of chemo therapy treatment. She received it. A year later she passed away.

    Look me in the eye.

    Right here and now.

    And tell me (and all reading this): Do you truly and honestly believe that a government run healthcare system would give expensive chemo therapy to an 81 y/o with stage 3 pancreatic cancer?

  14. Rick Beagle says:

    “Look me in the eye.

    Right here and now.

    And tell me (and all reading this): Do you truly and honestly believe that a government run healthcare system would give expensive chemo therapy to an 81 y/o with stage 3 pancreatic cancer?”

    Absolutely. And you are absolutely full of manure if you think they would. How much of her care was covered by medicare and other social programs? Most of the people protesting happily chanting no to government run healthcare unaware that they are already ON government run healthcare in the form of medicare. Stupid is as stupid does – I suppose.

    A quote from a Republican on another site kind of sums it all up imho:

    “Anyway. I appreciate the organization and airing of grievances, but the stuff I’m seeing and reading about is out of hand. I think anyone from the Right that can take 10 steps back and look at the situation objectively should realize that Republicans aren’t fomenting this – but they aren’t calling for moderation either. Those in positions of power realize Obama and the Dems MUST be defeated on this measure. If he were to win this and it actually works (and being an insurance professional and having read a wide variety of objective commentary about it – I have no reason to think it won’t) then the script will be flipped on Sen. DeMint: it will break the GOP.”

    Rick Beagle

  15. kitty says:

    “There are 65 or so pages in the bill about “end of life” ‘options’ and ‘counciling’. A Why does a HEALTH bill put sooooo much into the talk of death?!”
    I think I can explain this – not arguing for or against the plan, I have many concerns about it – but I read many doctors’ blogs, so I can tell you what they say.
    End-of-life care is very expensive. I am not talking about care that has a chance of working or actually improves quality of life, I am talking about futile care: keeping people with no chance of recovery on ventillators for underterminate amount of time because the person doesn’t have a living will or relatives cannot let go. Doctors tell that ICUs are full of these people, and that they are really miserable and want to die but because they don’t have a living will, they are kept alive.

    I hope that this is what all these pages are about and not about treatment you are talking about – one that actually has a chance if not extend life but at least to improve quality of life. My 74-year old mother has stage 4 lung cancer (was 3A when diagnosed, but by now it spread to the bones) and is on chemo now. This is her second time on chemo, not counting a targetted treatment with Tarceva she tried first. There is a chance it’ll extend life and maybe improve some quality of life as it is not that great now. There are always lucky few (very few) who gain more than a few months. Like you, I am concerned that such treatment may not be available under Obama plan – unless you encounter such a condition in your family, you cannot really understand the significance of access to such treatment or that a few extra months are really important when they are in your family – but I hope that when they talk about end of life they talk about futile care and not about care that actually has a chance. Especially since medicare does cover it.

    I do have many concerns about the plan as I have relatives in Germany and am familiar with problems with their health care. Also, as someone with good insurance I am afraid to lose what I have. I don’t want to go into that now as it is a different subject and I don’t have time now. I agree that death threats and misrepresentation is wrong on all sides as it is counter-productive. There are certain medical issues I know of – because epidemiology fascinates me, kind of like a hobby – but I don’t have time. It’s off topic anyway.

  16. kitty says:

    BTW – I do not consider myself democrat or republican. I look at the issues and decide every year. Voted for different parties in different years.

  17. lurker carl says:

    For some reason, most folks are confusing health care (doctors, hospitals, drugs) with health payment (insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, VA, cash). Government run health care is the Veteran’s Administration and Tricare. The rest are payment systems where cost determines what procedures are performed. It is the payment system that is being changed.

  18. MasterPo says:


    A few points.

    First, given how Obama and pals have stated over and over and over again how much thier scheme is to reduce costs I am very doubtful they are merely think of the incurable patient w/o a living will or DNR etc. Fact is the vast majority of Americans don’t have a will (living or otherwise), healthcare proxy, DNR etc.

    Second, isn’t this a decision to be made between the family and the doctors? If the family want’s life support maintained and they either have insurance that will pay or the private the means to pay for it then what business is it of the governments? And for those who do not have family there are aleady prolicies, procedures and laws in effect to review the medical case and get the legal authority to continue or not life support.

    Third, it’s easy to say an old person. What about a young person? Someone in a serious accident? Or a child with a serious illness? There are many documented cases of people being in a coma for years and then awakening with no ill affects. Would you want a gov crony making the decision to pull the plug on your child?

    Forth, the same can be said for someone not in a coma but with a terminal or chronic illness. I’m sure you’re seen the TV specials about children with terrible cancers. They have spent years and years in and out of all sorts of hospitals trying this and that radical (and expensive!) treatment. Sometimes many rounds of the same treatment with hope this time it will work. How many rounds of these extreme and expensive treatments do you think a government plan will cover? 2? 3? 4?

    At some point the gov will say “We’ve paid for X-rounds of treatment and you aren’t getting any better. We can’t waste any more money on you. Others who have a better chance of being cured need it more.” That’s the REAL fear here! And you know it’s bound to happen. Maybe not on day-1. Maybe years from now. Radical social changes rarely happen over night. But it will come. Don’t think it can’t.

    Also, in all these discussion always keep in mind Obamacare calls for the establishment of a government medical panel to set policy and regulations.

    The people staffing this panel are mostly NOT doctors!
    The people are appointed – not elected, not even confirmed by Congress) – by the President himself.
    They get their direction and mandate from the President, not from laws enacted by Congress.
    They get their performance reviewed by the President, not by an legislative body.
    They are accountable SOLELY to the President, not to Congress.
    They owe their continuation of jobs to the President, not re-appointment or re-election by the people or Congress.

    IOW, they are there to do the bidding of the President and only have to worry about making him happy. No one else. That should frieghten anyone!

    ps- You know Obama’s example of the red pill vs. blue pill? That comes from “The Matrix”!! Gotta love it when the United States President uses a reference from a sci-fi movie to sell a national healthcare system.

  19. MasterPo says:


    Your answer to my question was an unintellegable tongue-twister.

    Please take your medicine, have a latte or some wheat grass juice, and try again.

  20. kitty says:

    Master Po — good points, many of those are my concerns as well. This is why I used the words “I hope” when I talked about it. But my hope may have been too optimistic. You are right that the panel consisting of politicians rather than doctors or epidemiologists (because it’s really are epidemiologists and not doctors who are responsible for studies and evaluation of effectiveness of treatment) is indeed freightening. The decisions in medicine are very complex, they are often based on our individual differences and preferences, they cannot always fit exactly in specific guidelines. What appears good for many isn’t always what is good for an individual. I also suspect, more often than not the decisions aren’t even going to be cost saving.

    My other concern is the effect on research. One thing about these cancer treatments that are expensive but on the average buy only a few months. 1) it’s an average meaning there often are a few lucky people gain quite a lot and you just may be this person – would any of us really want to forgo this chance? some may, but it shall be our decision 2) these treatments improve researchers’ knowledge of cancer and may lead to more effective treatments in future. If someone in the government decides we aren’t going to pay for new expensive treatment that will only gain extra 2 months on the average, there’ll be no real incentive for drug companies to develop these new drugs.

    There is no denying that unnecessary treatment and testing happens. A lot. There was a study that showed that over 50% of annual physicals included unnecessary, non-recommended tests, even tests for which USPSTF has “against” recommendation because “harms are likely to outweight benefits”. More medicine isn’t necessarily better medicine. Doctors may order non-recommended tests which haven’t been shown to do any good either because some patients demand them – they saw them on TV or they got some add from a new radiology lab in town that used scare tactic convincing healthy people they need some heart scans – or because it brings more money or because doctors are afraid of lawsuits. Cost isn’t the only issue with unnecessary testing: some tests have risks which my be small but your individual chance of benefit may be even smaller; tests have many false positives, false positives lead to more invasive tests, these tests have real risks. Depending on how high your chance to benefit from the test (if any) these risks from invasive tests resulting from numerous false positives may well be higher than any chance of benefit. There is also a risk of overdiagnosis in case of some screening tests: finding something that would’ve never cause problems but suffering life long side effects from the treatment, maybe even dying prematurely because of it. BTW – if you are curious to learn more about benefits, limitations, and risks of screening tests, there is a very interesting book by H. Gilbert Welch called “Should I be tested for cancer”. The author is a well-known, respected doctor and researcher, a professor at Dartmouth Medical School; the book had good reviews in reputable medical journals. The author is not arguing for or against screening, he simply explains in very understandable way what these tests can or cannot do. He also explains basic epidemiological concepts like “number needed to screen” or “lead-time bias” which are really important but which most people (including our politicians) don’t understand. A lot of what he talks about would apply to other tests and preventive drugs as well. Not related to politics or Obamacare at all, but it gives some insight into complexity of medical decisions, even seemingly simple ones.

    So yes, there may be ways to cut costs without affecting care. And with rising health costs it’s not realistic to believe that there’ll never be any rationing. After all insurance companies sometimes deny treatment as well. Would any insurance company really pay for zillion rounds of the same treatment after it failed? But you are right in saying that politicians aren’t equipped to make these decisions. BTW – why is there really need for a panel? Isn’t it what USPSTF for? USPSTF consists from many doctors and epidemiologists. Why can’t they just expand USPSTF to cover more than just prevention?

    I think a better way to reduce unnecessary procedures is for us to be more aware of the costs. As long as people pay $10 for everything, they’d be willing to demand every test in the book. Switching to a percentage like what PPOs pay – this is what my employer did, by the way – would both cover the necessary treatment and let people think whether they really want to pay, for example, 20%. With out-of-pocket maximum for cases of serious illness when 20% would add up to an impossible amounts.

    My other problem is the potential effect on policies that affect healthy people. Many a politician – on both sides of the aisle – talked about prevention. Now prevention is great, but it’s not a cost saver. Some preventive measures may indeed save money – but, as one study done in Holland showed healthy people may cost more because they live longer – other measures are actually quite expensive. Main reason for it is that with many preventive measures like drugs or tests one needs to test or treat many people to prevent a case of advanced disease in one. The government in their religious belief in power of prevention may impose certain choices on us e.g. require us to go to a doctor every year or have tests or taking preventive drugs even if we don’t want to because they want our cholesterol to be at certain level. This will be wrong for many of us and it will waste rather than save money.

    Another issue is with their claim that this government run program will not drive private insurers out of business. As it was brought up by some commentators – government doesn’t pay taxes; government can dictate rather than negotiate costs. The government has an unfair advantage, so eventually it can indeed force us all into a government plan. Whatever plan they come up with shouldn’t be in such a way that would rob us of our choice.

    So yes, I have many concerns too.

  21. MasterPo says:


    Research costs. The medication, equipment, devices, procedures etc that come from years and years and years of expensive research are what makes the American healthcare system the #1 in the world! And we want it to be that way. But good medicien, devices, procedures etc. all cost a lot of $$$. You get what you pay for. And in this case if the gov is going to control how much is paid for medicine then someone out there will decide the time and effort and cost of doing a given research project just isn’t worth it. And maybe that project *would* have lead to a cure for cancer or AIDS or something else.

    Consider this too: What about people who *purposely* put themselves into high risk situations and high risk activities? Will they be 100% covered under Obamacare?

    For example: Rock climbers, mountain bikers, SCUBA and sky divers, hang gliders, skate boarders, skiers, snowmobilers, surfers, white water rafters, white water kayakers, etc etc etc.

    All of theses have a much higher than average (compared to just walking down the street) risk of injury. And if you are injured the cost to treat you is very very high often requiring specialized equipment and doctors and medicines.

    Just imagine coverage being denied with the gov saying “Well you didn’t have to do ” or “If you hadn’t been doing you wouldn’t have been injured!” And I’m sure there will a high tax added to these activities to cover the extra cost of treating the injuries. Afterall, gov already taxes smokes claiming the money is used to repay medical bills and they want to do the same to soda, candy etc.

    Which also why Obamacare is the perverbial foot-in-the-door to the government controlling and regulating literally every single thing you do in your life! At the end of the day *EVERYTHING* you do (or not do, like not excersizing) potentially has a health impact on you which in turn has a cost impact on society. And if gov is writing the checks giv can make the rule you and I have to live by. :(

  22. Rick Beagle says:

    MasterPo, and Kitty,

    Two things, neither of your concerns address the fact that many of the issues you have are already “issues” with insurance companies. Like many of the arguments that I have read, both of you ignore the realities of today’s health care solutions.
    Second, there are many examples of single pay systems in the world (while carl is right that is not what is on the table), and they by and large seem to be working quite well. Of course, there are the horror stories, but then again, our system isn’t without our own stories.
    In conclusion you have to decide whether in the long term which of the two you trust the most – government bungling, or greed (both have a track record, and for me the choice is obvious).

    You still didn’t answer my question, so let me type slower, were the costs that you incurred for the relative above paid for by medicare? It is a simple enough question…. I suspect that you are like the majority of the indignant and did not realize that Medicare is government healthcare.

    Rick Beagle

  23. lurker carl says:

    Rick, Medicare is NOT government healthcare. It is a payment system, there is a big difference.

  24. Rick Beagle says:


    You are correct, my apologies for the error. It should be repeated that NO solution on the table currently is a healthcare solution, but rather a healthcare payment system.

    Rick Beagle

  25. Rick Beagle says:

    “Research costs. The medication, equipment, devices, procedures etc that come from years and years and years of expensive research are what makes the American healthcare system the #1 in the world! ”

    All available metrics paint an unflattering picture of our health care system and dismiss you comment as blissful ignorance wrapped in foolish patriotism.

    “Consider this too: What about people who *purposely* put themselves into high risk situations and high risk activities? Will they be 100% covered under Obamacare?
    For example: Rock climbers, mountain bikers, SCUBA and sky divers, hang gliders, skate boarders, skiers, snowmobilers, surfers, white water rafters, white water kayakers, etc etc etc.
    All of theses have a much higher than average (compared to just walking down the street) risk of injury. And if you are injured the cost to treat you is very very high often requiring specialized equipment and doctors and medicines.”

    Nice sound bite, but again, all metrics available do not support this as being a true comment. Specifically, the number of injuries due to “extreme risk” situations are far less proportionally than “driving down the road”.

    “Just imagine coverage being denied with the gov saying “Well you didn’t have to do ” or “If you hadn’t been doing you wouldn’t have been injured!” And I’m sure there will a high tax added to these activities to cover the extra cost of treating the injuries. Afterall, gov already taxes smokes claiming the money is used to repay medical bills and they want to do the same to soda, candy etc.”

    We have two forms of healthcare provided by our government today, and neither one of them have restrictions like you are purporting in your attempt to scare people away from health care reform. Another blatant lie from a rather fertile imagination.

    “Which also why Obamacare is the perverbial foot-in-the-door to the government controlling and regulating literally every single thing you do in your life! At the end of the day *EVERYTHING* you do (or not do, like not excersizing) potentially has a health impact on you which in turn has a cost impact on society. And if gov is writing the checks giv can make the rule you and I have to live by. ”

    Hmm, is the tin foil on a bit too tight? Every sentence in your comment was a lie. How an I supposed to argue with someone who can not distinguish their fears from reality? MasterPo, I do not know why others are so tolerant here, but let me be clear – your entire post is a flat out LIE. Not one shred of truth in the whole bit of it.

    Unfortunately, those of us who support healthcare reform have to constantly talk down the nonsense that people like you keep throwing out there. Even though EVERY metric available says that we need to do this, people like you who do not want to be confused by the facts are railing against a perceived future that is NOT in the making. How do you argue with the overly opinionated but poorly educated crowd? It would be one thing if they are willing to come to the table to discuss the issue, but these folks are just lying through their teeth.


  26. MasterPo says:


    Oh where do I start.

    First, Carl is correct. Yes she was a Medicare patient. But a Carl pointed out, Medicare is a PAYMENT system, not a HEALTH CARE system. The whole crux of Obamacare is to manage care for reducing cost and improving efficency. If it was merely a payment system that would be (somewhat) different. But it isn’t. Didn’t you hear Obama say that *government*, not the doctor, would decide red pill or blue pill. And government, not the doctor, would decided this or that operation, test or procedure. That is the part that has everyone scared!

    Second, you are 100% wrong about the extra costs of putting yourself into an extreme situation. I know first hand as I am a licensed SCUBA diver (I’m one course short of my Master rating). Dive accidents required VERY specialize medical equipment, medicine, doctors, even special air transporation. All of that costs big $$$! I carry 2 special dive accident insurance policies because normal health insurance (any plan) won’t cover even half of that. I highly doubt Obamacare will pay for someone who purposely puts themselves are extreme risk of great injury for no good reason. A commercial diver does it as his job. A sport diver does it for fun.

    And as for the taxes, what planet have you been living on?? Ever hear of a “sin tax”? Since at least the 90’s states have been piling more and more taxes on smokes and booze inorder to supposedly cover the extra medical costs of treating patients with smoking and drinking conditions. This year NY is looking to put a tax on soda claiming it causes obesity. Other states I’m sure will follow. And if the whole point of Obamacare is to reduce health care costs and make people healthier then you tell me the nutritional value of a fatty hambuger or pizza or chocolate bar?

    If I am lying then I suppose all the people from Canada and France and the UK and other places with national/socialized medical care are also lying about the long waits, the denial of service, the lack of medicine, etc etc etc.

    Sure are a lot of us liars out there these days. 😛

  27. MasterPo says:



    As to the insurance company question, let me ask you this:

    When (because it *will* happen) Obamacare refuses some treatment or medicine who do I sue? IOW, what is the appeal process?

    All insurance companies (as evil as you think they are) have an appeal process. By law they must.

    I can keep calling, speak to a manager or supervisor.
    I can write a letter to the CEO or director and it will get read in his office (done that many many many times with big corps and it works!).
    I can contact Consumer Affairs or even the AG.
    And in a final step I can get a lawyer and sue them. Don’t want to but I can.

    So who do I sue in the government when treatment is refused?

    Can I sue Pelosi? Dodd? Frank? Reid?

    Can I sue Obama or whoever the President is at the time?

    Can I sue the members of the health board committee?

    What is the appeal process? And how timely? (keeping in mind that government and “timely” are notoriuosly oximoronic concepts)


  28. Rick Beagle says:

    “First, Carl is correct. Yes she was a Medicare patient. But a Carl pointed out, Medicare is a PAYMENT system, not a HEALTH CARE system.”

    All of the solutions currently on the table are PAYMENT systems, including one which seeks to expand and improve Medicare.

    It would seem every thing else after your first sentence is based on your ignorance of what is being proposed. Before you push the “I believe button” so quickly, take a few moments and go read up on the subject.

    Out of respect for this site, this is my last post in this thread.

    Here is an excerpt from David Axelrod’s latest on the matter:

    “That’s why we’ve launched a new online resource — — to help you separate fact from fiction and share the truth about health insurance reform. Here’s a few of the reality check videos you can find on the site:”

    Check it out! There are videos, metrics, expert opinion and a host of other things that might help you understand what is being proposed, versus what you have heard or imagined.
    Rick Beagle

  29. MasterPo says:

    “All of the solutions currently on the table are PAYMENT systems, including one which seeks to expand and improve Medicare.”

    Then why does the Senate plan CUT funding for Medicare?

    When the light of reality shines liberals run.

    Thanks for playing. I’ve made my point.

  30. Rick Beagle says:

    “Then why does the Senate plan CUT funding for Medicare?”

    If we are talking about the same proposal, duplicity. Outside of removing duplicitous spending, not one of the plans I have seen seeks to reduce Medicare (the AARP is still plenty strong). Most of them actually seek to increase funding and expand it (part of our big government conspiracy).

    BTW, you lost this argument, you really ought to just let this go.

    Since, I already broke my promise to end this, let me be a human and say how sorry I am about your wife’s grandmother. I hope the treatment is successful and she lives to see triple digits!

    Two links for you:

    Watch the whole thing.

    Excellent article from CNN.

    Rick Beagle

  31. Richard says:

    The People Next Door

    It seems easy to understand why the people next door drive a car that must be 14 years old, dress quite plainly and don’t much if anything on landscaping. He is a sell-employed carpenter and she is an assistant in a doctor’s office. Neither has a college education. But, each of their three children went to an Ivy League undergraduate college and then on to an Ivy League business, medical and law school. One of the children mentioned to you how grateful they were to have left school without a cent of debt. When you’ve spoken with either of the parents over the years, they’ve never complained about their children’s educational expenses or indeed about anything to do with money. How can this be? Their combined incomes can’t be over $100,000, yet it seems they may have paid over a half million dollars in educational expense for their children. Your annual household income is $250,000 but you live paycheck to paycheck.

    The main difference between you and your neighbors is that they are sitting on a stock portfolio worth $4 million, throwing off more than $120,000 per year in dividend income. You couldn’t raise $10,000 if you had a month to do it. How in God’s name did this come to be? Neither of the neighbors inherited anything.

    Here’s what happened. In the early 1970’s, when your neighbors and you were in the early 20’s, they realized they would probably not make great incomes so they decided to live beneath their means, utterly to ignore advertising, to buy used cars, stay out of bar rooms, restaurants and malls, and to invest what little they could spare in the stocks of companies that sold things to other people, such as you.

    They bought shares in what was then Philip Morris, and of Johnson & Johnson, Colgate Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, GE, Wal-Mart, Coca Cola, William Wrigley, and Abbott Laboratories. They got into Microsoft in the late 1980’s at 10 cents per share. They had the broker deliver the shares to them so that they could reinvest the dividends and buy more shares without paying brokerage commissions. Over a period of some 35 years, your neighbors invested maybe $200,000 of their own savings plus all the dividend income. While you were going through your considerable income buying new cars, running up big credit card balances shopping at Burberry’s, Barney’s and Brooks Brothers, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomindales, eating out 5 times a week, ordering drinks made with premium priced liquor and leaving money on the tables of Indian-run casinos, your neighbors were reserving against their future obligations and for a time when they might not want or indeed be able to work. While you were unable to separate your wants from your needs, your less well educated neighbors had no trouble doing that for themselves. The result is that capitalism turned your income into your neighbors’ principal. One not so small consequence was that their children could apply to Stanford, Princeton and the University of Chicago without requesting a cent of financial aid. If you don’t think that sways the minds of top college admission committee members, think again.

    Now, your neighbors love their jobs, in large part because they know they don’t need them and could cease working on any given day. You and your spouse hate your jobs because you know you have to keep them and maybe to work until you are 70 or older. You might want to continue to be most cordial to your neighbors’ children. When you end up looking for a job, one of them might give you a reference.

    Oh, wait…you suddenly awaken from the horror of this wretched scenario and discover it was but a dream and a nightmare at that. You are still only 28 and what has been written above is but one possible outcome. Fortune has favored you and given you a second chance. If you are comfortable with the future outlined above, keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll get it. Keep spending all your income on consumer junk and trying to live as if you were a person with money and be sure to plan to work for a high school kid when you are 70, maybe parking cars.

    If, on the other hand, you want to be able to live more or less without financial worry, curb your spending now and begin investing. Sure, driving a flashy car, having $50 lunches and $100 dinners, drinking martinis made with Grey Goose vodka and buying $500 Jimmy Chu shoes seems stunningly enjoyable now, but, I assure you, it won’t come up to having $4 million when you are 60.

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