Interesting words from Barney Frank

Interesting words from Barney Frank

28 Replies to “Interesting words from Barney Frank”

  1. What a load of badly written hogwash. Sanders is not primarily fighting to win the White House. He is running in order to create a new political movement in which people like Clinton and other. Republicans cannot and do not support capitalism and the rich at the expense of everybody else.

  2. Simply put, I disliked the article immensely. Negative campaigns should not be part of the primaries. Let both candidates stand on their own….promote positive aspects of both candidates and let the party decide. By dividing voters and alienating supporters, you’ll lose moderate voters every time. (and you should lose them)

  3. Lauchlin MacGregor I don’t see Feank’s article as particularly negative, and I agree that negativity divides the party.  But try explaining that to the “Bernie or Bust” people, and I think you will see the problem.  Bernie supporters are living in an echo chamber where there is an ever-increasing volume of Hillary-hate flowing around.

  4. Kent Crispin  Stay positive..let others go negative. 

    Frank’s article is basically saying “Sanders can’t win” and “if you support Sanders, you’re anti Democrat” to me.  I see that as negative, which is bothersome coming from such a large presence in the party.

  5. Why is this to do with a party? Why is it not to do with the best candidate? Why did no one mention ‘splitting the party’ when McCain constantly bad mouthed Obama.

    This is just a bullshit technique to get people to stop critizing clinton so that she can win the nomination.

  6. Kent Crispin I don’t agree with your assessment of Sanders supporters, of whom I am one. Clinton has a record. It isn’t a good one. It seems to me that every time that record is pointed at, referred to, or in any way asserted as evidence of her deficits as a candidate, Clinton supporter cry foul. It’s as if the facts are off limits. I will not attack her on a personal level, but if her words do not line up with her actions, I don’t think to use the term “liar” is wrong. If her stated position on any policy moves one way, then moves back the other way, and then back again to the first (or was that third?) position, it can’t be out of bounds to say that her positions depend on the audience she’s addressing. When one looks at her donors list and sees a lot of Wall St. connections, corporate sources, and SuperPacs, it is only the facts that are being presented.

  7. Jeanne Hannigan What, precisely, is in this “record” you claim Clinton has?  All I see being brought up are heavily biased half-truths and innuendos, mostly coming originally from the RNC.  The Anti-Clinton Bernie Sanders social network echo chamber bounces these around and amplifies their effect until you can’t see anything else.  Everybody you know says the same thing!  No surprise — it’s all a function of who you know.  🙂

  8. Kent Crispin For one, there are plenty of videos of Clinton having a position earlier in her career (anti-gay marriage for example) and coming late to the marriage equality position; Her vocal support of NAFTA (on video) and her more recent claim that she opposed it; her advocacy of the TPP as Sec of State and her sudden change of position when there are no longer any real consequences for her supposed opposition; supporting the draconian bankruptcy laws which favor the banking industry once she became a senator after she had convinced husband Bill to veto the same measures while she was First Lady (this after getting a crash course on the proposals from none other than Elizabeth Warren). Her list of donors past and current is troublesome, and if you believe she’s going to regulate those same donors … well, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I think I could sell you. The fact that she opposes the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall offering instead her own set of rules she claims are stronger … well, let’s see what happens with that once her banker lobbyist buddies get through with these rules that Congress would have to pass. There is literally no position of hers that is better than Bernie Sanders. That is why I support him over her. And, don’t get me started on single payer health care!

  9. Jeanne Hannigan Many of your points are generally addressed by the famous quote from John Maynard Keynes: “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?”

    That her public positions as a presidential candidate might change somewhat from her position as Secretary of State (where part of her job was to negotiate for the positions [TPP] that her boss [Obama] was supporting) and her position as a Senator [where her job was to support her constituents] is not at all surprising or unusual.  Sanders has weaseled his position on Gun control, originally influenced [he states] by the fact that he represents rural Vermont where people like their guns.  Now he has a somewhat more progressive position — he says now that he favors strong gun control, but that one must be “realistic” about dealing with the NRA and their great political power.  One could equally say that Clinton is realistic about the financial sector and its great political power.  Sanders has also switched positions when politically expedient:

    In fact, Clinton’s financial support from bankers has largely vanished, perhaps because of her strong position on regulation.  (7.2% of current contributions, both direct to her campaign and to her Super PAC, comes from the financial industry, according to She says students and teachers contribute more to her campaign than the financial industry (that doesn’t count the Super PAC, though). But Clinton doesn’t owe anything to Wall Street, and, given their donation patterns, they would far prefer a Republican.

    I say “strong position on regulation” because Paul Krugman, noted liberal economist says that Clinton’s plan is better than Sanders’ plan: “For what it’s worth, Mrs. Clinton had the better case.”) ( Sanders’ position on regulation is based entirely on reinstating Glass-Steagall, which doesn’t address the issue, and the repeal of which wasn’t the real problem to begin with (

    That is, Clinton’s plan exhibits a greater understanding of the problem, rather than “sound bite” orientation of Sanders’ plan.  That is, this is a position of hers that is better than Sanders, though perhaps it takes a bit more financial sophistication to understand it.  (That’s not to say that reinstating Glass-Steagall would be a bad thing to do.  It’s just not enough.  And I think Clinton’s plan would be strengthened even more by adding Glass-Steagall – like provisions.)

    So the bottom line is, I see Clinton’s positions as reasonable and understandable, not evil.

  10. Kent Crispin I did not ever say her positions are evil. I simply said that my opinion is that Sanders’ positions and record are better … much better. Shall we discuss her hawkish positions regarding foreign policy? Her Iraq war vote does not get a pass with her “regret” over her mistaken vote. It is the most tangible evidence of her poor judgment. She will never outrun that.

  11. Jeanne Hannigan I just used “evil” as a shorthand for “corrupt”, “dishonest”, and other things you have said, at least implicitly, if not explicitly.  You might as well use the word as well — you wouldn’t have to bother trying to find all the other ways of saying it.

    Regarding her Iraq war vote, I think she has already outrun it as far as she needs to.  I’ll reference Barney Frank’s take in the page I linked to above — it’s about halfway through the article; a bit long to quote here.

    I also would prefer Clinton was less hawkish; I would prefer that she had better positions on encryption policy, as well.  But I also would prefer that Sanders had better thought out positions on foreign policy and a number of other issues — too often he shouts a populist line about things he would do, conveniently leaving out the fact that actually doing them is for all practical purposes impossible.  Clinton is pragmatic, trying to say what she would actually try to do; Sanders is a dreamer, shouting out his dreams about what he would do.

    People don’t want to hear about how complicated the real world is.  They want simple positions that can be written in capital letters and fit on the inside of the cap of a soft drink bottle.  Clinton isn’t as good as Sanders at doing that.  She’s at heart a realistic policy wonk, and oversimplifying things goes against her grain.

  12. Kent Crispin I wish you a fine holiday season, as well, and best for 2016. We don’t agree on the merits of Clinton vs Sanders, but I think we agree neither is as bad as anything (notice I can’t bear to say anyone) the GOP has on offer.

  13. Jeanne Hannigan I was at one point very positive about Sanders’ run, but his entire campaign, from the platform to the messaging, is hopelessly tainted by his extreme ideology. I’ll give you one, and just one, example: health care.

    Sanders’ health plan has been blasted by economists and health care experts on the left. Here’s Paul Krugman on this. Sanders says his plan will produce big savings, but Kenneth Thorpe, the economist from Emory who advised Vermont on their single payer plan, said it underestimated costs by a factor of two, and would be financially a net negative for most people. Sanders wants a plan that’s far more radical than anything in the UK or Canada – he wants Medicare for All without copays, which would remove two key elements of cost control, copays and the ability of the state to say “no” to procedures. When called out on this, Warren Gunnels, Sanders’ health aide, just labeled Thorpe as a puppet of the insurance industry. George Friedman, Sanders’ economic adviser, dismissed the substance of the concerns, saying that single payer reduces costs by definition – completely ignoring the fact that his plan removes the cost-containing elements that are fundamental to other single-payer systems. Without rationing or even copays, there’s no cost-containment whatsoever.

    Health reformer and editor of the American Prospect Paul Starr:

    Vox on Thorpe’s analysis:

    Friedman’s response to Thorpe:

    Paul Krugman on all of this:

    And then there’s the politics. Other countries implemented their single-payer systems after wars or revolutions, or decades ago when the health system was a much smaller fraction of the economy and the insurance market wasn’t mature. But today in America, insurance companies are large and powerful (although not very profitable) and 250 million people have private health care — and most of them like the health care they have. This is why single payer has never happened in America. Take Vermont for example. Their single payer scheme collapsed for political reasons. This is because immediately imposing single payer on everyone would take away the health care they already have and like and then engage the insurance industry in a life-or-death fight. If you thought getting a public option through to add on to Obamacare was hard (it didn’t pass with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress), multiply that by 10 and that’s how much harder it’ll be to get single payer through Congress.

    Health economist Harold Pollack:

    Krugman again:

    The worst part is, this is all besides the point. Do we want single payer only, or is the goal universal health care? The fact is most universal health systems aren’t single payer – certainly nothing like Canada (which has a near perfect government monopoly on health insurance, with both rationing and in some places co-pays) or the UK (which has a fully socialized health system, from insurance to provision). Japan, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia … these are all countries that have high quality, low-cost universal (or near-universal) health systems that aren’t single payer. In fact, Switzerland and the Netherlands have systems like Obamacare. So why engage in a politically impossible fight for something that you can get for a much smaller fight with incremental progress – say, by creating a public insurance option to add to Obamacare?

    Sanders’ plan isn’t a plan, it’s a crusade. It’s an expression of his ideology, which exalts Sanders and demonizes opposition, sees the world in black and white, worships purity, ignores informed opinion, ignores or even disdains how the political system works and how progress is actually made, dismisses meaningful progress already made (like Obamacare and Dodd-Frank), sees no difference between the Republicans and the Democrats, reduces all bad things and opposition to Sanders as corruption, and is unwilling, and indeed, because of the above, unable, to engage in the details of policy and politics and actually make progress on policy, piecemeal or no.

    Basically, it’s the Tea Party of the left. Ted Cruz with a heart. And I haven’t even touched on Sanders’ nonexistent foreign policy, his fantasy economic platform that ignores mainstream economic theory and even the existence of the Federal Reserve, and his financial reform plan that focusses on all the wrong things and is more about grandstanding than actually reducing systematic risk. Sanders isn’t better than Hillary Clinton, not by a long shot. He’s not even playing the same game.

    Obama’s former campaign staffers on all of this:

    Left-leaning economists on Sanders:

  14. Andrew G Thank you for your  long comment. However, speaking as someone who has been through private health insurance, a (nearly) year of subsidized ACA, and finally Medicare, I am going to disagree with you on the health care issue. Medicare is by far the best, the simplest, and the cheapest. As I see it, since the entire program already exists, nothing needs to be invented in order to bring it to the rest of the US public.  The prospect of entirely removing private health insurance from the exam room, or having any say in what drugs, procedures, or treatments that are covered (and what percent is covered) is a huge relief. The private insurance premiums are exorbitant and always carry some level of deductible. My son has an ACA-approved plan for which he pays in excess of $200/month but still has an annual deductible of (I think) $6000. So he’s paying a monthly premium to NOT go to the doctor. Should he need medical care, the first $6000 is totally out of his pocket. Because he’s generally healthy, it basically means he’ll be paying 100% of his medical costs out of pocket. Paul Krugman, who I mostly respect, is wrong on this. He’s of the “it’s too hard, so we can’t do it” establishment camp. Anything that removes private, for-profit insurance companies from basic health care is the best possible outcome. Profit motive and health care have conflicting goals, and care will lose out every time.

  15. Jeanne Hannigan You’ve just exemplified my critique. Krugman isn’t the bad-guy establishment, he just knows what he’s talking about. Profit isn’t inherently evil, and private for-profit insurers play a big role in most advanced country health care systems. The goal is universal care, not ideological purity. Care does not lose every time to profit – that’s just completely contrary to the facts.

    Your son is paying a monthly premium to not go to the doctor just like he’s paying taxes to not get rescued by the fire department. It’s called insurance. Under Sanders’ plan, he’d still be paying taxes, and of course higher taxes to pay for health insurance. How is that any different?

    Besides, remember Thorpe, the health care economist who advised Vermont on their health reform plan? He concluded that because there aren’t real cost containment provisions in Sanders’ plan like there are in the Canadian or UK single-payer systems, the Sanders reforms would end up being more expensive for 70 percent of households. 

  16. Andrew G Bernie Sanders’ single payer plan eliminates the insurance component from medical care. Pretty simple. True cost to the individual is waaaay less than insurance premiums. How is that bad? There are economists who have shown how much single payer will save, so it all depends on who you want to believe. As I’ve said, based on my experience, single payer is the way to go. I see no reason to subsidize private insurance companies’ profits, especially as history has shown their practice is to deny payments in order to enhance their profits. I have, by and large, agreed with Krugman on many issues, but on health care and on the very concept that we can’t do anything that’s “hard” we part ways. I’m with Elizabeth Warren on this one — her quote (paraphrased) that if you say it’s too hard, you’ve crawled into bed with the oligarchs who want to run this country like their own private club. It is wrong when people go bankrupt because they got sick. It is wrong when they pay insurance premium and still can’t afford to seek medical care because of high deductibles. I fully understand how insurance (and taxes) work. I pay for insurance on homes and car. I pay taxes for fire, police, roads, etc. But, there are certain things that have to be universally available if we want to call ourselves a civilized society. Health care is one of those things.

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