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Freeloaders? Is that where we’re going now? Arguing that anyone who can afford to but doesn’t buy insurance lacks personal responsibility and simply expects to be subsidized by the decent Americans who do the right thing? Or in its most horrifying expression:

Maybe we should have a national "Let Me Die" list like the Do Not Call list.  That way the dogmatically selfish and risk-loving among us can have their way, and over time we'd presumably have fewer and fewer of them.

If the freeloader bit is where you want to go, have at it. And why not? It worked out pretty well in passing that little thing called “bankruptcy reform.”

The present consumer bankruptcy provisions of the Bankruptcy Code encourage debtors to avoid their financial and moral responsibilities by giving too generous relief to debtors with ability to pay some part of their debts. The cost of credit is unnecessarily increased by such relief to the disadvantage of responsible American consumers.
H.R. 2500. The Responsible Borrower Protection Act of 1997, Section 2(2).

From the eight long years from H.R. 2500 through to S. 256, which was enacted into law on April 20, 2005, here’s a smattering of what its supporters said.

The Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act is a bipartisan effort. It is a bipartisan effort which keeps the best of old law while curbing abuses. S. 1301 continues to help those who need the protection of the bankruptcy laws but implements measures to screen out those who use the bankruptcy system to avoid paying debts that they can afford to repay.

Congressional Record, Senate, p. S10091, Sept. 9, 1998, Sen. Grassley on S. 1301.

While there are multiple factors contributing to this recent surge in bankruptcy filings, the ease with which a debtor can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is surely one of them. There are certainly scattered cases of debtors running up their debt and then filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy to discharge that debt when they are capable of paying a substantial portion. The bankruptcy system should not assist debtors in evading debts they could otherwise pay … This bill takes a good initial step at limiting a debtor's ability to 'game the system' or take advantage of our bankruptcy code.
Congressional Record, Extension of Remarks p. E1180, June 19, 1998, Rep. Sandlin on H.R. 3150.
This extraordinary increase [in bankruptcy filings] comes during a time of economic prosperity, not a period of recession that usually would bring more people into the bankruptcy court. Instead the increase is largely due to bankruptcies of convenience. Let me repeat that, bankruptcies of convenience.

We have the healthiest economy we have ever faced in the history of this country, yet our bankruptcies are exploding. Why?  Because it is the convenient thing to do. It is the easy street. It is the easy way out.

This increase of bankruptcies of convenience is simply a ploy that is used by some people that owe money and their bankruptcy attorneys to avoid paying all or most of their debts, even though they are financially capable and able to do so.

Congressional Record, House p. H4344, June 10, 1998, remarks of Rep. McInnis on H.R. 3150.

More and more wealthy Americans are using the bankruptcy system to buy a throwaway lifestyle that they cannot afford, then expecting hard-working Americans who pay their bills each month to pick up the tab. That is not right, and Congress needs to do something about it … It is time to require personal responsibility.
Congressional Record, House p. H2641-2, May 5, 1999, Rep. Dooley on H.R. 833.
Under current law, families who do not file for bankruptcy are unfairly having to subsidize those who do. This is our opportunity to do something about it.
Congressional Record, Senate p. S15062, Nov. 9, 1999, Sen. Hatch on S. 625.
Too frequently, however, individuals who have the financial ability or earning potential to honor their debts are simply seeking an easy way out of repaying those debts. While this may prove convenient for the debtor, it is not fair to their friends or to their neighbors who are ultimately stuck with the bill. Those who can afford to pay their debts must honor their commitments.

The current economic climate necessitates bankruptcy reform now more than ever. Some individuals and small businesses in this Nation are facing severe financial hardship, hardship that may justify the need to file for bankruptcy. As a result, the bankruptcy system must be reformed to ensure that those with a legitimate need are not adversely affected by those who abuse the system.

Mr. Speaker, the hard-working families in my district in Cincinnati, Ohio, pay far more than they ought to in taxes. They do not need to incur an additional burden created by those who seek to hide from their debts. This bill holds those irresponsible debtors accountable and protects those hard-working families.

Congressional Record, House p. H1985, March 19, 2003, Rep. Chabot on H.R. 975.
We all pay the price for these bankruptcy filings. Every bill you and I pay includes a hidden “bankruptcy tax'' of $400 per year per household. That tax is figured into in every phone bill, electrical bill, mortgage payment, furniture purchase, or car loan we pay.  

For many people, bankruptcy has become a first step rather than a last resort. Opportunistic debtors who have the means to repay use the law to evade personal responsibility. In some cases, they even plan their bankruptcy, buying a mortgage and running up credit cards and then declaring they're broke.

With this bill, we are putting an end to the abuse. Wealthy debtors who have the means to pay some, or all, of their debt will be required to do so.

Congressional Record, Senate p. S2473-74, March 10, 2005, Sen. Frist, triumphantly, on S. 256.

I've pretty much kept my mouth shut on the ACA, Obama rox/sux, and myriad other controversial issues here. I'm in the Gooserock camp on the state of the Democratic party, but since we've got an important election to win, I've been keeping my mouth shut on that, too.

But this, this "freeloader" business, is a bridge too far. Professionally, five years of my life were devoted to fighting against that bankruptcy law and the constant refrain of personal responsibility and freeloaders gaming a system to the detriment of the good, hard working Americans.  But I never, ever, thought I'd hear that sort of talk here.

Originally posted to VetGrl on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by Anti-Capitalist Chat, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Invisible People.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm with you, VetGrl. (15+ / 0-)

    Equally opposed to the only slightly less obnoxious term "free riders."

    One thing I haven't seen adequately addressed here at DKos (and I'm hoping I just missed the explanation) is just how the low income subsidies work mechanically.

    Are we who live sporadic check to sporadic check expected to pay unaffordable premiums out-of-pocket, then at tax filing time the NEXT year get our rebate subsidies?

    Does one's inability to front these costs make one a freeloader?

    •  I'd like to know, too (6+ / 0-)

      There might be something here because there are folks on this site, including FPers, who've tried to explain some of the details.  I haven't seen anything along the lines of what you ask in your comment, though.

      Thanks for the support of this diary. And, yea, free rider is just as bad.

      •  My understanding of the subsidies are (5+ / 0-)

        they kick in at some multiple of the poverty level (e.g. 300% of poverty level) and increase as you get closer to the poverty level.  I think this is a bit different from bankruptcy laws because we are talking about a situation where people who could be expected to pay a portion of their income will be deriving a benefit they use.  Bankruptcy is not a benefit you use.  It's a way of protecting yourself when you have no other options.  It's not something you use in perpetuity.    This is also about spreading risk.  It is more like people driving without insurance.  Surely, those people are freeloaders.

        Call Mitt Romney's campaign and ask "How much are the FREE bumper stickers, today?"

        by 8ackgr0und N015e on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 11:19:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The comparison is in the rhetoric. n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
        •  Here's the rub, as I understand it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Maybe someone with more knowledge can enlighten me if I am wrong.

          An individual, call him a freeloader if you like, chooses not to buy insurance and pay the penalty. Perfectly within the law. This "freeloader" is acting within his rights and in accordance with the ACA - now the law of the land.

          OK, he chose to do so because, even with the subsidies, the penalty is much less money out of pocket than insurance premiums. I've done the math on that, and it would be the case for quite a few people in the middle class. This person is in good health, until an unfortunate accident befalls him.

          What is to prevent this law abiding citizen from, on the way to the ER, purchasing or his spouse purchasing health insurance on his behalf? Can't be denied.

          Call him a freeloader, call him street smart and canny. People will do this if they can.

          This is an issue that I think will have to be addressed sooner or later. I suspect it should be addressed sooner.

          •  A key point about the penalties is that they don't (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Wee Mama, VetGrl

            apply to everyone.

            In general, most (all?) people who qualify for subsidies won't pay the penalty if they don't have coverage.

            We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

            by Samer on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 06:55:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  OK then (0+ / 0-)

              If they don't have coverage, don't take the subsidy because they don't have coverage, they still wouldn't pay the penalty?

              What keeps them for qualifying for the "freeloader" label we are tossing around? And how does the penalty function as a "freeloader penalty" if it doesn't hurt a bit?

              And nothing of course, would prevent that person from buying coverage after they become sick.

              I suspect we are talking about a bit more than 4 million people here.

              There appear to be loopholes big enough to drive a freight train through.

          •  The real freeloader is Big Insurance (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VetGrl, annecros, slatsg

            not your fellow worker.

            WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

            by JayRaye on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 12:50:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Driving is a privilege, living is a right. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

          by JayRaye on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 12:49:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps this will help: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, VetGrl, WisePiper

      See here for a timeline of the provisions of the ACA,  including:


       Promoting Individual Responsibility

          Effective January 1, 2014

          Under the new law, most individuals who can afford it will be required to obtain basic health insurance coverage or pay a fee to help offset the costs of caring for uninsured Americans.  If affordable coverage is not available to an individual, he or she will be eligible for an exemption.

         Increasing Access to Medicaid

      Effective January 1, 2014

          Americans who earn less than 133% of the poverty level (approximately $14,000 for an individual and $29,000 for a family of four) will be eligible to enroll in Medicaid.

         Makes Care More Affordable

          Effective January 1, 2014

          Tax credits to help the middle class afford insurance will become available for those with income between 100% and 400% of the poverty line who are not eligible for other affordable coverage. (In 2010, 400% of the poverty line comes out to about $43,000 for an individual or $88,000 for a family of four.) The tax credit is advanceable, so it can lower your premium payments each month, rather than making you wait for tax time. It’s also refundable, so even moderate income families can receive the full benefit of the credit.  These individuals may also qualify for reduced cost-sharing (copayments, co-insurance, and deductibles)

      You’re Damn Right Obama Cares. Why Doesn’t Romney?. ~HELEN of

      by denig on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 08:19:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for saying it. (10+ / 0-)

    I can't see any path

    Freeloaders? Is that where we’re going now?
    from "freeloader" rhetoric, to getting a universal healthcare system here.
    •  I agree (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Garrett, for 6 too, Shahryar, triv33, JayRaye

      "Why should I pay higher taxes so that someone who doesn't want to work can have health care?"

      Something like that.

      •  Because diseases are infectious (8+ / 0-)

        People who become ill and do not receive treatment can more easily and readily pass on their infections to others, including you. This is known as the 'germ theory of disease', enunciated by Louis Pasteur about 150 years ago. This is the foundation of health care.

        Most people seem to understand that it is in their own interests that everyone have access to sanity sewers and clean water. One's own health is imperiled when living somewhere where large numbers of people deficate on the sidewalk. Where the linkage falls down is in making the jump from toilets for all to doctors for all. Yet, it is the same rationale. We have been through a period where a number of people could not get treated at all or only sporacdically for TB. Which resulted in drug resistant TB. Which is spread thru the air. Not providing health care to those with TB has improved no one's life.

        The idea is based on the science of the germ theory and an understanding of how untreated illnesses evolve into more deadly forms and threaten more people. Increasingly, cancer and heart disease have been shown to have infectious components in their development.

      •  because that's not the problem (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah, Garrett, JayRaye

        That reinforces the Republican meme about "lazy poor people."

        The ACA penalty hits only people who can afford to buy health insurance but don't, choosing to gamble on whether they will stay healthy. But they're not gambling with only their own money, they're gambling with ours. Very few people, even wealthy people, can afford to pay for a very serious illness out of pocket.

        I'd go to Vegas and gamble if I knew that I could keep my winnings, but someone else would be covering my losses if I lost big. Wouldn't you?

    •  if this is a Democratic framing, let me out (6+ / 0-)

      It's not that big a deal, really. If I were in a jazz music group and the rest of the players decided to play heavy metal I'd thank them for the experience and I'd walk away.

      If we, meaning the Democratic Party and its members, are so far removed from reality that we are deliberately choosing to use invective against our own, in order to please teabaggers, then it's time to walk away from the Democrats....because, like the jazz band example isn't a jazz band anymore, the party isn't the Democratic Party anymore.

      So congrats to those who think they're "centrists". Maybe they'll pick up a handful of winger votes at the same time they're losing votes on the left. Then they can get outraged at anyone noticing they're moving to the right.

      •  Amen and Amen. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VetGrl, Shahryar

        I guess we're all Ronald Reagan Republicans now throwing around invective at those of our fellow workers who choose not to support Big Insurance.

        Yeah, you might have to pay a few medical bills for them. And, oh my, that pisses you off so much that you have to use Republican hate speech against them.

        And in the mean time you don't mind giving thousands of dollars to Big Insurance so some guy at the top can become a multi-Billionaire.

        This must be one of the happiest days ever over at Big Insurance HQ. They are toasting with million dollar bottles of champagne, as they look down on from on high at us little peons, "Look, how cute, the progressives are now calling any one who does not pay their proper tribute to us a "freeloader."

        "Pass me over some of that million dollar caviar, I just made another cool $7 Billion this year."

        In the IWW we have a song for people who bash their fellow workers who refuse to bow down before the Corporate Overlords:

        Once this freeloader meme becomes entrenched, good luck with that goal of medicare-for-all. That fight would take something that we cal UNITY and SOLIDARITY. Something the freeloader meme destroys.

        WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

        by JayRaye on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 01:10:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  cost controls? "80% must go to health care!" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye, VetGrl

          which isn't a cost control at all. So if a premium costs $500 a month, with $100 of that being pure profit, what's to stop them from "regrettably" raising the price to $1000 with $200 being profit? Competition?? With no public option the game is rigged.

  •  Well VetGrl you may be onto something (6+ / 0-)

    IIRC one of the freeloaders shirking their responsibilities with bankruptcy was good old Donald Trump.

    I also remember back in the early 80's being hounded by my wife's student loan lender over delinquent payments.  We were getting slammed every 3 weeks for monthly payments.  In the end, we paid the loans, in full, about 6 months early.  The real problem was that student loans were being repaid at 2-3% when banks could make mortgages at 9-10% and credit cards at 15-18%.  Every penny that they could squeeze out of borrowers, or even better force defaults and get the money from the government was pure profit.

    As Sam Spade said "Follow the money".

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:34:57 PM PDT

    •  And today it is worse. The banks are borrowing at (15+ / 0-)

      near 0 percent. Our savings in the bank are being paid sickening low rates (.25 on our 10K now acct) and if you borrow - credit cards are still at 6% to infinity. That IS the real crime going on today. The banks are paying essentially 0 percent and consumers are paying through the nose. And the Dem's are equally complicit on this gig.

      if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

      by mrsgoo on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:41:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And that bankruptcy law... (8+ / 0-)

      That's the thing that made even private student loans nondischargeable in bankruptcy.

      Squeeze every penny is right.

      •  Yea, that part didn't make sense to me (5+ / 0-)

        under the old system, the Feds guaranteed the loan.  If bank forced it into default, the bank got the cash almost immediately.  Now what happens?  Do they have to wait while you drag out the payments or do they seize assets?

        “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

        by markdd on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 11:17:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They can collect pretty much forever (5+ / 0-)

          Ok, that's a bit hyperbolic, but it's true that even if you get a discharge of your debts in bankruptcy, the student loan lenders can continue to collect.

          If you're interested, Mike DeWine offered the amendment to the bankruptcy bill that gave private lenders this benefit.

          •  Wait a education is forever (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            stellaluna, markdd

            and you should not be allowed to take out $100,000 in student loans, get your education, then just say "I ain't paying".

            No.  It's not fair in any way.

            As for the health insurance freeloaders.....we all know them.  $500 car payment, but no money for insurance; $1,000 purses, but no health insurance; $2,000 mortgage payment, but no insurance.  And these are the same folks that go to the ER for an ear infection.

            No.  Sorry.  People who can legitimately not afford insurance coverage are not freeloaders.  But those folks above?  Since they can't seem to prioritize properly, and it is affecting ALL of us, time for some "incentives" to change their ways.  They can pay the "tax" and go without, but it's not going to be free anymore to jack up MY rates so the cost of their uninsured care is covered.

            Being a Democrat does not mean everyone gets everything for free.  That is so unreasonable, it's why we get a bad rap.  

            David Koch is fucking Longshanks, and Occupy is the real Braveheart.

            by PsychoSavannah on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 06:39:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Your comment fits perfectly within (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JayRaye, slatsg

              that of the supporters of bankruptcy reform. Back then everyone had a big screen television. No one bothered whether it was true; like the "bankruptcy tax" it had a nice ring to it and got into the narrative.

              Also, you've apparently forgotten about the massive scandal in the private student loan industry that was revealed five years ago.  Here's a summary.

    •  Business profit from bankruptcy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      markdd, Sunspots

      Corporation routinely file bankruptcy in order to protect their profits.  Earlier this year, American Airlines filed for bankruptcy even though they were still in the black.  AA foresaw a future dip in profits (not a deficit, a reduction in profits) and decided that filing bankruptcy would be advantageous.  The bankruptcy filing allowed AA to renege on promises made to employees on benefits and to stiff some of their creditors.

      Corporations routinely make money doing what individuals are penalized from doing.  And how do corporations get away with this?

      Well, the bankruptcy laws are written by the people who owe their jobs to their corporate donors and supporters.  So if a corporation wants a bankruptcy law that protects itself and its profits during bankruptcy proceedings while penalizing individuals  who file for bankruptcy, that is exactly what they get.

      Bankruptcy laws are a problem, but the corruption amongst our law-makers makes the bankruptcy problem even worse.  

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 06:26:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I do not often take Kos' writings on this to heart (20+ / 0-)

    But this time I do. We have to hit this shit using their words. With ACA the end game is single payer, medicare for all. Ain't no way in hell we are going to get there without support from teh other side. How do we get that support? We have to use their own words, they will NOT listen to our words. If we have to use the term freeriders, I'm good with it. The end game here is to cause employer based / for profit insurance to collapse of it's own weight. Which it will eventually, but let's hurry it along eh?

    As much as I despise the individual mandate, it will hurry up the end game. Once folks figure out Medicare has a 3% overhead -vs- the Wall Street for profit insurance companies, they will be going - why are we paying them a profit? We are FUCKING STUCK with what we have. We really have no choice but to work with it and eventually work AROUND it or stick our heads in the purity sand and get fucking run over.

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:36:49 PM PDT

    •  Sorry, but I can't agree (8+ / 0-)

      Markos is right that we need to get over not getting dirty, but the day that I have to appeal to a tea partier's sense of right and wrong is the day I give up calling myself a liberal.

      •  Free Rider is a very old concept and phrase (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MKSinSA, Quicklund, jbob

        It refers to the time when hard roads were coming into existence for the first time since the end of the Roman Empire. There were people who refused to pay anything towards building the roads but insisted on their right to ride on them. Freerider is a very useful concept and points to a very real phenomon. I don't see any problem with using it.

      •  That's how politics works (0+ / 0-)

        You have to appeal to other's sense of right/wrong, common good, whatever. Otherwise you get to sit out there with your own sliver of a minority group railing against the system but powerless to influence any changes in it.

        from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

        by Catte Nappe on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 09:33:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know plenty of teabaggers (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe, VetGrl, slatsg, annecros

          never had to use hate speech to win them over.

          Pointed out to my sister-(out)-law that none of her adult children had access to health care, that shut her up right quick. Never another word against ObamaCare from her.

          Another teabagger friend now has her 24 year old daughter on her health insurance. Never another complaint from her either.

          As the benefits of the ACA kick in, Teabaggers are already coming over to our side. No hateful name calling necessary.

          As for me, working class unity is more important to me than any politics, left or right. The day that Dems are ok with turning worker against worker to please Big Insurance, is the day that I will no longer be a Dem.

          WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

          by JayRaye on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 01:21:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Unity is right (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JayRaye, slatsg

            It's been interesting to see comments around the site that include the phrase "increase my rates" or something similar.

            It's rather like the SCHIP expansion being put on the back of smokers without any regard to our supposed liberal adherence to progressive taxation.

    •  The Tea Party (8+ / 0-)

      is essentially libertarian. This terminology and argument have been framed for them. Palin and Company keep talking about "freedom." But there arguments are totally backward when reflected in their own political positions. When I told my Rush-loving father-in-law "Why do you want to pay for someone's medical bills when that person was consciously playing the system?" he totally flipped his position on ACA.

      Don't take the term too seriously in the grand scheme. ACA is intended to make us a kinder and healthier nation. But to keep it we need the 1 percent middle voters who are essentially libertarian to flip on it--and that's why this is a good argument for THEM.

    •  Insurance companies are a core GOP constituency (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VetGrl, Sunspots

      A big reason Roberts let ACA stand was to preserve a huge new avenue of windfall patronage - $ hundreds of billions - to this GOP constituency.

      If the hope is that "both sides" will work together toward a superior single-payer solution, we're as deluded as the wingnuts.

      The Republican establishment lives to create and exploit wedge issues that they then never fix - its a critical tactic to preserve their parasitic survival.

      The individual mandate works brilliantly for them as both a patronage sluice, and a terrific wedge issue.

      Come 2014, Rove and friends will eagerly point out to millions of lower middle class white voters - who will forgo paying the insurance bandits and will be, therefore, facing the penalties - that while they're paying a lot of extra money for nothing, a ton of minorities are getting their insurance coverage for free.

      These voters aren't going to view this as a celebration of "personal responsibility" or "punishing freeloaders."  They're going to be enraged.  They're going to see it as part of a larger conspiracy, along with affirmative action and the CRA [following the right's twisted "Reagan Democrat" narrative], wherein they are getting screwed in order to help minorities.

      Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore

      by Minerva on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 04:50:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lower middle class makes over $90,000 / year? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Heck, and here I thought the American middle class was under pressure.

        Come 2014, Rove and friends will eagerly point out to millions of lower middle class white voters - who will forgo paying the insurance bandits and will be, therefore, facing the penalties
        Those penalties don't bite for people making less than $90,000 is my understanding.

        The devil is in the details.

    •  Framing in right wing wording (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shahryar, VetGrl, JayRaye

      only strengthens the right-wing mindset.  

      If we don't articulate our own-mindset/principles, how will anyone ever be convinced that it is right?

      If our arguments are only to greed and selfishness, how are we any different from them?

      •  Exactly! Moves the goal post a little further to (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VetGrl, slatsg, Sunspots

        the right.

        The Mandate was a Republican idea to start with, and we should never let them forget it.

        That's what I tell my Teabbager friends, "I agree with you about the Mandate, I don't like it either. But blame the Republicans for that, it was their idea. If you hate the Mandate, don't vote for Republicans."

        They hate the Mandate, but love many of the other provisions. I can truthfully blame the Republicans for the Mandate (at least for the original idea) and give the Dems the credit for the parts of ObamaCare that they like.

        And I always tell them that Obama Does Care.

        The Republicans think you should, "die quickly."

        And if they don't believe me, well, it's on tape: "Let 'em die!"

        WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

        by JayRaye on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 01:28:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed. (11+ / 0-)

    I'm so old that I remember when this sort of "free rider" tripe only came out of Pat Buchanan's pie hole. To see it touted as part of a Democratic p.r. campaign makes me nauseous.

    I fully expect that as a devil's deal to extend the tax rates beyond the end of the year nears, we'll start hearing about "freeriding" 65 and 66 year olds who shouldn't be eligible for Medicare.

    You've provided some great research and a good diary on the parallels of political rhetoric used for bankruptcy reform during the last decade with the political rhetoric to promote PPACA.

  •  I am venturing (8+ / 0-)

    into uncharted (for me) territory here:  but when I see "rich people who are freeloading by declaring bankruptcy," I think:

    Donald Trump.  Serial bankruptcy expert.  He never developed a site he couldn't drive into bankruptcy.  Is it five or six times, now?

    Why can he get off free and your average citizen is destroyed by bills they can't pay?

    To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

    by Youffraita on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 11:47:05 PM PDT

  •  Are you really conflating ... (13+ / 0-)

    ... individuals who are up to their neck in debt, so much so that they have more debt than assets, with people who earn more than $90,0000.00 per year who are undergoing no hardships?

    Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, told reporters traveling with the president on Friday, “You can call it what you want, but it is affecting 1 percent of the population” once the mandate takes effect in 2014.
    Who’s Exempt?

    The law makes a number of exemptions for low-income persons and hardship cases.

    “Individuals who cannot afford coverage”: If an employer offers coverage that would cost the employee more than 8 percent of his or her household income (for self-only coverage) that individual is exempt from the tax.

    “Taxpayers with income below filing threshold”: Also exempt are those who earn too little to be required to file tax returns. For 2011 — as previously mentioned — those thresholds were $9,500 for a single person under age 65, and $19,000 for a married person filing jointly with a spouse, for example. The thresholds go up each year in line with inflation, so those cut-offs will be higher in 2014, when the tax first takes effect.

    Hardships”: The Secretary of Health and Human Services is empowered to exempt others that she or he determines to “have suffered a hardship with respect to the capability to obtain coverage.”

    Other exemptions: Also exempt are members of Indian tribes, persons with only brief gaps in coverage, and members of certain religious groups currently exempt from Social Security taxes (which as we’ve previously reported are chiefly Anabaptist — that is, Mennonite, Amish or Hutterite).

    The bankruptcy law sucks, there's no doubt about it, but then again the bankruptcy code was never meant to insure 30 million uninsured people, get rid of pre-existing conditions and lifetime limits on health insurance, keep kids on health policies, force insurers to provide rebates to customers if the insurers are inefficient, and on and on. Apples and oranges.  

    I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

    by Tortmaster on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 12:02:51 AM PDT

    •  Another way to look at it ... (5+ / 0-)

      ... is whenever someone says or writes "freeloader" or "free rider" regarding the PPACA, just insert the words "Tea Partier," "Tea Headist" or "Randian Asshole."

      In the meantime, repealing and replacing that bankruptcy law would be a great accomplishment for a new Democratic Congress and a second-term President next year. I'm not keen on debtors' prisons either, and small claims courts are used by debt collection attorneys and pro-business judges to send defendants to a form of debtors' prison every day in America (i.e. county jail) because of those changes in the bankruptcy code. It is truly nauseating.  


      I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

      by Tortmaster on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 12:14:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hardly (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sunspots, Garrett, JayRaye

      I'm talking about adopting language that was used so derisively against ordinary citizens about whom few* cared to know the details. That language created a category of "them" so that the bankruptcy bill could be sold as protecting "us."

      ( *I say "few" to give a hat tip to Elizabeth Warren, who co-authored "As We Forgive Our Debtors." Warren was long a critic of how little we actually know about bankruptcy filers.)

  •  Well, there are people who can't do much (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DuzT, JTinDC, Brooke In Seattle

    of anything useful to themselves or anyone else.  Those that are possessed of the gift of gab manage to exact what they need by relying on their verbal skills.  For some reason, these people are particularly resentful of other people in the same boat and accuse them of freeloading.  It may just be envy.  But, whatever the reason, turning the freeloader meme back on them irks them enough to shut them up.
    Anyway, as with the other disutilities we organize ourselves to address,


    the benefits of dealing with disease or physical maladies are greater for the community, to which they don't spread, than for the individual who gets treated.  So, regardless of ability to self-serve (doctors are actually counseled not to treat themselves), it is appropriate for medical care to be socially provided and payment should be mainly considered an accounting mechanism to tell us how much is used and needed.

    For some reason, the people who developed the explanation/theory of how formal trade and exchange works came up with the notion that it is demand (by those who can't provide for themselves) which gets the ball rolling. Then, perhaps because that seemed rude or demeaning, economists decided that the demand or giving of orders is necessary because the vast majority of humans are lazy. Demand, which would seem to be a vice in a world of independence loving persons, was turned into a virtue by impugning the character of workers. Which suggests that the theory of economics was devised by people who needed an excuse to sponge off their fellows.

    It is true that in the primary creation story of Western civilization God commanded or demanded there be light and everything on the earth and it was.  But, while this story apparently resonates with people who are into demand, it doesn't work that way in reality. In real life, first comes the manipulation of matter, which may even be rather random, and then comes creation and, as the inventor gets better and better, the production of a surplus. Then this surplus, if it doesn't get used by someone (freeloaders) goes to waste.  So, in a sense, freeloaders are waste avoiders. Creative people don't begrudge them.  What we do resent is being told we are worthless and have to be ordered around by people who can't do for themselves. The yacht-builder doesn't care how many boats a rich man keeps at his dock, but he resents being cheated out of what he needs to pay for the food he can't produce while he's building a boat.  Money is worthless; it's the thought that counts.  That people should labor for others for nothing is insulting.  Laboring for next to nothing is not much better.
    The idea/demand does not come first, as Plato argued, but an idea can lead to bad behavior, which is not made better by virtue of being intentional. The predator who kills to eat on the spot is not immoral; the human who subjugates his own kind to labor until they expire is.  Humans are capable of being immoral because they are supposed to know better but many don't. Calling exploitation virtue is immoral.
    The New World is bedeviled by ex-men from afar.  They


    An adjustment is called for. There is a difference between taking what is freely given without giving anything back and doing what the ex-men do.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

    People to Wall Street, "let our money go."

    by hannah on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 02:46:35 AM PDT

  •  As a final note, and after reading ... (9+ / 0-)

    ... the rest of the comments, I didn't see anyone take up this side of the debate, which I believe to be true -- I think the terms freeloader and free rider have been used, frequently, if not for the most part, as a form of snark.

    Kind of like, "Oh, you guys hate welfare queens and people on disability who've lost their legs in Afghanistan, but you don't mind someone who's making 90k per year with no hardships getting a free ride, huh?"

    It also points out the hypocrisy of the Teabaggers, just like the (non)intersection between the Conservative battle cry, "We are for limited government" and Republican state legistlatures and Republican congressmen writing thousands of bills that involve ultrasound and women, that re-write clinic building codes, and that require doctor's privileges at a hospital and abortion clinics, &etc....  

    I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

    by Tortmaster on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 02:55:36 AM PDT

  •  Messages come in two parts. (12+ / 0-)

    Content, and format.  In order for a message to be received, you have to format it in a way the receiver will accept.  In political terms, this means using words your Teabagger cousin uses against him.  It's a 'Trojan horse virus' meme.  It slips past their defenses, because it uses the same words they use all the time, and then lets you actually work on altering them to accept something that's good for both them and you.

    Obviously it's going to be received poorly by actual progressives, such as yourself, because you're not in the audience for whom it was formatted.

  •  Respectfully disagree (10+ / 0-)

    I respect your sincerity and I never favor using a perjorative term, but I know too many who have actually voiced that opinion--"I know they have to treat me at the ER so I'll just wait until then." Realize the law makes substantial provisions for expanding medicade for low income working poor. The "penalty" only applies when people can afford to get insurance and fail to do so.

    When people use the ER as their primary care physicians, they vastly multiply the costs for all the rest of us. And that money is built into the costs not only of our insurance but our goods and services. When people delay needed health care til they get on medicare, we all pay as well.

    ACA makes all sorts of regular tests and checkups free. That's what we want as a nation.

    I am far, far more in favor of single payer, with a sliding scale (much lower) but given the way money rules politics in this country I think we have to work a lot longer and harder to get it.

    So I do disagree. In this case encouraging personal responsibility is the right thing to do.

    •  And ironically it also affects bankruptcy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VetGrl, FloridaSNMOM, Sunspots

      I have an acquaintance in town who owns a small business and did quite well until the economic downturn. He still does okay but not as well. He bought the most bare bones policy he could find thinking he'd just pay out of pocket if he had to. Well turns out he needed expensive back surgery, complete with physical therapy, extended time off work, and a back brace. His insurance policy was worthless because it was cheaper for him to negotiate a cash pay and buy a back brace off of eBay than pay the huge deductible and use the crappy insurance policy.

      He was lucky in the sense that he could pay out of pocket. But so many people in that scenario with lower incomes would not be able to pay and would go bankrupt trying.

      "At stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country." ~Sen. Ted Kennedy

      by Wendy in FL on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:56:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know that scenario (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        My son is paraplegic. He does have health insurance now through his employer--but could never afford it independently. Even a reasonable policy won't pay for his wheelchairs (one every five years--and the old, heavy medicare version to boot) so he buys them off Ebay too.

  •  Social Darwinism?? (5+ / 0-)

    A second comment--and this time, I want to agree with you. Bankruptcy is almost always due to personal disasters (majority-health related) in this country. Yes, there are those to give it to the casino, but that's statistically a real minority.

    The "Social Darwinist" view of the poor and the bankrupt is one of the things I like least about my GOP neighbors. Their attitude that people's poverty is their fault is hurtful, offensive and very un-Christian.

    That's very different than helping people in advance to plan for the future.

  •  REC-ing despite disagreeing (7+ / 0-)

    This thoughtful diary has sparked a very good discussion. But I'd like to add one more analogy.

    In a hurricane, we evacuate the folks on the barrier island. Many insist they have the right to stay. Some have suggested we paint "Do not rescue" on their doors and just respect their right to be stupid.

    But in the end, the first responders risk their lives, show up at those doors, and drag them out. We pay, and they suffer the risk, because that's the kind of nation we are.

    I've actually thought there could be a better way. If you show up at the ER, you back-pay five years of insurance!
    But that flippant idea doesn't account for the great increase in costs when people delay treatment--amputating a diabetic foot or chemo for a skin cancer that could have been frozen off a year earlier.

  •  Derailing Medicaid expansion is a problem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The ACA ruling derailed the mandatory Medicaid expansion.  

    We're on track to have 10-20 million lower middle class people who are too rich for Medicaid support, and too poor to pay rapacious insurance companies without getting enraged.

    This will be a problem.

    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore

    by Minerva on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 04:34:29 AM PDT

  •  Sorry, but I don't have a problem with the (9+ / 0-)

    terminology. But we sure as hell do need to make it clear that "freeloader" applies more so to corporate America than it does the impoverished.

    There are very few, proportionally, among the poor who don't wish to earn a living whereas most of the wealthiest appear to have a major sense of entitlement the likes of which I've never witnessed among the poor.

    A poor person puts in a physically demanding day's work and doesn't ge paid enough to cover basic needs. A rich person spends a few hrs making some phone calls or siitting on his ass in a meeting and gets paid a king's ransom.

    Our society's sense of value is seriously out of whack. The rich are grossly over valued while the poor are deemed disposable.

    Freeloaders do exist and it doesn't make sense to pretend otherwise. We just need to correctly identify who the real freeloaders are, and it ain't poor people.

    By virtue of effort put into life in relation to what is taken from life, Romney is as big a freeloader as I've ever seen. When he intentionally crashes a company and loots the pension fund and expects the goverment to pay for his profit? Jebbuz, talk about welfare queens.

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:22:10 AM PDT

  •  We must defend the Pres at all costs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VetGrl, Shahryar

    If that means adopting right wing talking points and right wing memes and moving the overton window to the right to defend our right leaning progressive president, then we must do it.  Aren't you scared to death of what an Rmoney White House will do?  I am.  So scared, I'll become what I'm most afraid of to just make this shaking pit in my stomach go away...

    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:27:50 AM PDT

  •  What is a Gooserock camp? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And why do you think anyone besides you knows has an inkling of what that that term is supposed to mean?

    When you chose where to make this principled stands in opposition, did your calculations include anything at all about the ACA itself? Or do you just conclude the ACA  is a bad law because you had a bad experience with the word "freeloader" in the past?

    If you do not think the ACA is bad law, then what rhetoric do you use to get the light bulb to illuminate over Tea Partier heads?

    Or do you not give much of a care for the ACA one way or the other but simply want to scold people over your pet peeve?

    My priorities rank supporting the ACA so that it may be improved in the future over pet peeves.


  •  Progressives use the term "freeloader" too. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, FG

    One of the reasons progressives oppose so-called "right-to-work" legislation, aside from its being a nakedly transparent attempt to break workers' political and economic power, is that it allows people to freeload—to enjoy some of the benefits of union membership (pay and benefits won through collective bargaining) without paying union dues.

    I think in general, the idea of the "freeloader" isn't inherently right-wing; rather, it's another idea they've hijacked from the Left.

    The idea that because we're all in this together, and because we all benefit from a healthy society and the government that society creates to protect and preserve itself, we all need to do our part, is a progressive idea.

    The idea that those who are capable of contributing to our common good but who don't do so are freeloading off the hard work and sacrifice of others is a progressive idea.

    I think it's time to reclaim the word "freeloader" and ask what exactly someone like Mitt Romney has contributed to the common good—and if he deserves to be called a "freeloader" for enjoying all the benefits of society while not actually having produced anything of value or contributed to the common good.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 06:52:41 AM PDT

  •  It kills me that Dems are blaming the unfortunate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shahryar, VetGrl, JayRaye

    Most people who don't have insurance really can't afford it - and the DC idea of "affordable" is ridiculous.  

    ONLY 8 percent of someone's income?  That's OK?  For many people that's getting into missing meals territory.  Look at what's happened to real income, especially the  inflation in food, fuel, and medical costs, considering that none of them are included in the cost of living index these days.  They do seem like a necessary cost of living, though, don't they?  

    And over 8 percent, people are exempt from the penalty?  Oh, boy.  Exempt but uninsured.  Or they get to buy junk insurance instead.  Which means they have to pay for something that does them no good.

    Or if they're over 8 percent, they get a rebate on their taxes, a year later?  Maybe?  Gee, that's a big help paying for meals or rent today.  

    What happened to the Democratic Party we used to believe in?

    •  8% of $90 to $100K (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Less than 8%, with subsidies, for lower incomes.

      As the chart shows, families would be exempt from the mandate at the lowest income levels because they are below the filing threshold for federal income taxes. Just above this level, the mandate would apply, but families would be eligible for substantial government assistance, either through Medicaid (paying essentially nothing for coverage) or through large premium subsidies in exchanges.

      Some families eligible for premium subsidies would have to pay more than 8% of income to enroll in a silver plan in an exchange even after receiving subsidies. However, they could likely apply those subsidies instead to a lower cost bronze plan and end up paying less than 8% of income, so would therefore still be subject to the mandate. If this family’s income rises above about $98,000 (estimated to be four times the poverty level in 2016, at which point they are no longer eligible for premium subsidies) they would likely have to pay more than 8% of income for a bronze insurance plan and would therefore be exempt from the mandate. Indeed, for our hypothetical family, the exemption would apply up to about $150,000 in income, at which point the family’s resources would be high enough so that the cost of a bronze insurance policy in an average cost region drops below 8% of income.

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 09:31:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tried this... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VetGrl, JayRaye

    freeloader argument on my wingnut cousin.  His reply was, "You're right, it's about time the Mexicans started paying for their health care".

    Yup, we're really gonna win them over with this.

    •  Exactly, (0+ / 0-)

      feeds right into racists stereotypes, right along with "Welfare Queen."

      Is that really where "Progressives" want to go?!!!


      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

      by JayRaye on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 09:19:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Repub'd to: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Anti-Capitalist Chat
    In Support of Labor Unions

    And suggested to
    Invisible People

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

    by JayRaye on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 02:05:45 PM PDT

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