500 people, are you serious??

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/29/obama-london-visit-uk-g20

"With an entourage of 500 staff, an armour-plated limousine and a fleet of decoy helicopters, America's new president will arrive for his first visit to Britain amid huge razzmatazz on Tuesday for the G20 summit."

This is the guy who was bitching because the big three CEO's went to washington each in their own jet and HE needs to fly his own CAR over there?? AND his own cooks???

AND a team of his own doctors??

WTF???

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i love hearing about more wasteful spending, thanks billy. :) at least that does not happen here in sunny toledo. :)

From my iGoogle CNN feed:

"King: Obama political team at full throttle"

I thought it funny at first but after reading this think it hits the mark.

For clarification the headlines refers to CNN columnist John King

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth. ~Japanese Proverb

"This is the guy who was bitching because the big three CEO's went to washington each in their own jet"

Did he? I thought that was Congress?

Pink Slip

It was congress.

That being said - care to air your thoughts on the subject of the article? Or will you give him a bye?

No, otherwise I'm with you. This royalty treatment is truly sickening.

Pink Slip

Damn, Maybe this dick cheese in the oval office really CAN bring both sides together!

Haha...I guess my criticism deals mainly with the way we have elevated the executive office above that of the other branches of government.

Pink Slip

WTF do you want him to do, grab coach on a commercial airliner? Stuff his own bags in the overhead bin? He's the President of the United States. I don't recall any of you GOPers griping about Georgie II running up flight bills during his so-called presidency, including hauling his sorry ass back to Texas for one of many, many vacations. What was the bill for having Bush do an in-flight circle-around New Orleans, just so he could look down on the people wading through the floodwaters? Why is the cost of transporting the President suddenly an issue? Is it because we have a black man in the White House and some of you regard presidential treatment as "white man's privilege"? And by the way, do you think Georgie II has to rely on his own wits for transportation? Do you think he's booking with Southwest Airlines? Taxpayers are still taking care of his and his family's transportation costs. Why don't you bitch and moan about that?

Patience is a great virtue.

mr wert, :)
i think he should ride coach. it would help the airline industry and show he's still an average joe. :) i'm sure all of his stuff would fit in the overhead bin, and if not, i'm sure others would gladly give up theirs. :) he should also drive around an a Chevy aveo. gm and "chrystler" realy need the support, and it's good on gas.

mr wert, you mention how many vacations the former president took, is that because you wished he would have worked more???? just think of what else he could have done had he not been on vacation half his presidency. you should be thankful for all his vacations. :)

From LittleRed: i'm sure all of his stuff would fit in the overhead bin, and if not, i'm sure others would gladly give up theirs

Don't bet on it, Red. One of the top five complaints involve mothers with kids getting on the plane before everyone else and sucking up all the storage space with the litter of rug rats and oversize back packs.

As for me, I was here first. You can go check your bag and pray that it turns up sometime inside a week.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

Yes, staff of 500 seems large...but how different is this number compared to former presidents when they traveled overseas? (I quickly skimmed the story; if it's not there didn't see it).

Most expenses here seemed to be security related...all of a sudden we should be going cheap with that?

Without any context to past practices, this is a total non-story.

Next thing you know Obama will be landing a fighter jet on an air craft carrier full of TV cameras...

The again we get this...

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/03/30/obamas-to-use-own-cash-t...

The Obamas are using their own money to redecorate the White House residence and Oval Office, the White House confirms, forgoing the $100,000 in federal funds that is traditionally allotted to new presidents for such renovation projects.

The first couple — who made well over $2 million in 2008, largely from book revenues — is also turning down money from the White House Historical Association, the organization that financed a $74,000 set of china for the Bushes.

He's also going to keep Bush's rug.

who paid for the kids swing set?

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth. ~Japanese Proverb

This buffoon is becoming a "potentate", rather than a president. I'll bet next trip-he takes his own dancing girls with him. What I want to know is-how many starving children could have been fed with what this "Obamaganza" will end up costing?

neither you nor I have any real knowledge how this differs, if any, from past practices by presidents traveling overseas. If you find something pertinent, post it here or quit your cryin'.

I can believe that he took his own team of doctors. You don't exactly get decent quality healthcare or good access to services in the UK.

Thanks for the friday morning yuks!!!

You realize that's the kind of healthcare that they'd dearly like to bring over to the US, dont you??

But for millions of people, it's better than not being able to afford any healthcare at all

Pink Slip

and just like in UK and Canada, the elite will get their own and the rest get crap.

the elite will get their own and the rest get crap

Isn't this what conservatives call "class warfare"? Unfortunately our country is ranking below most if not all industrialized countries in the world when it comes to healthcare. And we spent way more. The priorities are just out of whack, with specialized care and diagnostic procedures apparently more inportant than preventative care. And insurance companies dictating which docs and hospitals to go to, while squeezing the amount of care provided because of the profit motive. Crazy f**ked up sh*t..

Pink Slip

And insurance companies dictating which docs and hospitals to go to

I'll agree the system is hosed up, but you think the answer for the above is for the same people who run the BMW and the IRS and the social security ponzi to do it?

No, I don't think anyone should choose which docs or hospitals except for the patient. And I think the current adminstration is too concerned with catering to the insurance companies (making sure they still "get theirs"). Personally I favor a single-payor system with focus on preventative care. Patients can see whomever they please, and doc/hospitals compete with each other based on quality of care.

Pink Slip

From Billy: I'll agree the system is hosed up, but you think the answer for the above is for the same people who run the BMW and the IRS and the social security ponzi to do it?

Gotcha that time!

In support of Billy's statement (not that any is needed) three of the most completely fouled up, dysfunctional departments in the entire world are in need of a fourth for a quick rubber or two. Seriously, the US Armed forces Supply is the epitome of efficiency when compared to any of these.

If you think taxes are too high now, just go right ahead and let The Anointed One create the fourth - Federal Health Care and Concerns, or some such. We'll all be at the soup kitchen before November. At least, those of us who survive the new health care system.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

UHC is the elixar hawked by the snake-oil salesman. If you buy the hype, you could be getting a placebo, or in this case, something much more dangerous.

Facts are facts--we spend the most, and rank low in efficiency. BUT why is the only posed solution Universal Health Care, which we essentially have already?

Hospitals do not refuse basic treatment to anyone, regardless of citizenship or income. We have Medicare, Medicaid. We have government-funded clinics for health and dental care.

I realize people still fall through the cracks, and those in lower-income brackets cannot afford the drugs, long-term and specialized diagnoses and care they may need. A fix is clearly necessary, but putting government at the helm of that fix is akin to giving the system a good blood-letting or--it won't work, and makes the patient weaker.

Universal Health care is a means to create parity. Who wouldn't want that? No one wants to know that people suffer and/or die needlessly in the most prosperous country. Unfortunately, rather than bringing the poor up to the level of care those with health insurance currently get, UHC will bring everyone (except the uber rich and government bigwigs) to a below-average level under the mantra pinkslip espoused in another post in this thread: --It's better than nothing!-- Everyone will have health coverage, but rather than more people getting better treatment, fewer will. Huh?

The answer is in a revamping of the health insurance industry--and that has to be done in the private sector with the health insurers and the physicians/medical personnel.

Yeah, we already have UHC---we can just go to the ER! Ha ha...how's that working out for healthcare costs?

"but putting government at the helm of that fix is akin to giving the system a good blood-letting"

Since we are the government, this is like saying that we can't solve our own problems. The idea can we CAN solve our problems by self-governing was an idea the founding fathers of our country brought forth.
But by all means, let's let someone else do it for us. I'm sure the insurance companies will figure it out for us.... ;)

Pink Slip

Hospitals do not refuse basic treatment to anyone, regardless of citizenship or income

Case in point on how expensive this kind of attitude is:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/02/eveningnews/main4915011.shtml

"Nine people accounted for nearly 2,700 emergency room visits in Central Texas over six years at a cost of $3 million to taxpayers and others."

Pink Slip

Pink, I agree with you completely on both of these posts...Something has got to change. AND there must be a better way... BUT we obviously disagree on the means to that end.

You wisely point out that WE are the govenment and We need to solve the problem, rather than relying on someone else to do that for us. Right. For me that someone else is a bloated, bureaucracy. I think WE can best do that through private means. For you, that someone else is a greedy private insurance industry--you choose the government funding (spend and tax and spend and tax) route.

You even reference the founding fathers--but they never intended for the government to grow to the size and breadth that it has (see the 10th Amendment). It is tough to get meaningful answers from antiquated ghosts. The drafters of the Constitution could never have fathomed this world and the troubles it brings.
I can make a reasoned guess that they would think "Each man for himself," when it comes to health care.

I won't settle for that any more than you will--I do not mind paying my share toward the care of those who cannot afford their own care. I do not mind contributing to the funding of education for everyone. This is my duty as a citizen, an American, and Christian. Unfortunately, the funds we do contribute to these basic services are misused, misappropriated, and do not do the work for which they were intended.

For the past 40+ years, American automobile manufacturers subsidized health care for their employees in this country...and they can't and won't do it anymore. The insurance industry burgeoned, as did the medical industry...Times have changed, and WE need to demand that those industries adjust themselves accordingly so that medical care is affordable to all, so that no one is denied treatment, and that there are avenues to pursue the best treatment.

There still must be a call for personal responsibilty--on this the Founders would agree.

Unfortunately for you Helen, we can currently compare a universal-style system with for-profit healthcare. Medicare covers everyone over 65 with overheads that are miniscule compared to the private sector.

It's highly ironic that you mention auto manufacturers. THE reason that foreign automakers have a huge advantage in that their countries have universal healthcare. The fact that we don't puts all of our industries at a distinct disadvantage.

Pink Slip

That's because the private sector subsidizes the care for Medicare and Medicaid patients!

Hospitals lose money every single time a Medicaid patient walks through the door. They occasionally break even with Medicare patients.

(Don't believe it? Look it up for yourself. The reimbursement schedules for both Medicare and Medicaid are public information. Everything you need to calculate what Medicare or Medicaid would pay for specific hospital services is right out there on the government websites.)

You won't be able to take away the private insurance market without drastically increasing the overhead and per patient reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid. (You wouldn't even be able to keep the utilities on for what Medicaid pays!)

That's because the private sector subsidizes the care for Medicare and Medicaid patients!

And they have to pay the shareholders, and CEOs with their golden parachutes & corporate jets, etc...

And how much money do hospitals lose when an uninsured patient comes into the ER? Do we need to go over those figures again? Private insurance companies typically follow Medicare guidelines anyway, so the remark about allowables is moot, since they are mostly the same. But I agree that some of the cost structures would have to be tweaked

Pink Slip

And they have to pay the shareholders, and CEOs with their golden parachutes & corporate jets, etc...

SO WHAT? Why shouldn't investors get a return on their capital? What is wrong with striving for a golden parachute or a corporate jet?

With government-administered healthcare, I envision Congressional reps using those golden parachutes and jets that they fund with our investments (read: hard earned wages).

There's nothing wrong with it Helen. That's what corporations are supposed to do--maximize profits

Pink Slip

You're misinterpreting a lot of information.

Following Medicare guidelines doesn't have anything to do with the actual rate paid.

"Following Medicare guidelines" means that if Medicare considers a service experimental, so will the private insurer. If Medicare applies a certain set of criteria to determine whether or not an inpatient hospitalization is medically necessary, the private insurer will follow that same criteria. Etc.

The private insurer may use Medicare's rules to determine whether or not a claim SHOULD be payable. But the private insurer still negotiates their own rates with the medical provider - they certainly don't follow Medicare's rates. (Allowable amounts are not even anywhere CLOSE to the same for private insurance and Medicare.)

As I said...everything you need to calculate what Medicare or Medicaid would pay for a specific service is readily available online. I'm not pulling this stuff out of nowhere - the data is out there for anyone to look at.

I could tell you exactly what Medicare would pay every single hospital in town for any inpatient DRG.

But the private insurer still negotiates their own rates with the medical provider - they certainly don't follow Medicare's rates.

Admittedly, I cannot attest to the Part A payments. But I know for a fact that much of the Part B payments are similar, and private insurances negotiate their rates based on the Medicare fee schedule.

Pink Slip

From Pink_Slip: But for millions of people, it's better than not being able to afford any healthcare at all

I wouldn't be too quick with that one, Pink. Some of these 'better than nothing' doctors redefine the term 'sawbones'.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

Why didn't anybody complain about this when that buffoon, George W. Bush, was President. I bet he wasn't getting the number of death threats President Obama is receiving. Sounds like some people think President Obama should arrive at the summit in a 58 Volks Wagon Beetle with Hulk Hogan driving.

nobody complained about anything at all when GWB was president - he got a free pass.

And if Universal Healthcare is good enough for North Korea, it should be good enough for the USA.

If Universal Healthcare is good enough for India,  it should be good enough for the USA.

If Universal Healthcare is good enough for France,  it should be good enough for the USA.

And to stay competative with China, we need a Socialist Chinese style Universal Healthcare system.

After all, if Universal Healthcare is good enough for Socialist countries, then it's damn well good enough for America.

And if Social Security is good enough for the rest of America, then the UAW needs to give up their retirement also. Hell, China does not have cushy Union Retirement plans.

Don't blame me,
I didn't vote for a
socialist.

I see Libs---so when it comes to competing with foreign countries, we MUST do it if it LOWERS our standard of living. But if we were able to compete better by RAISING our standard of living (gasp!) then no dice, eh?

Pink Slip

Especially if it lowers your standard of living.

In fact the Big 3 are now finding out how well it works not to cut costs. That competition from the Big 3 has obviously raised the standard of living for many Americans. But it looks like that may have been only temporary.

And now we find out that the Big 3 could be going out of business because of their form of competition.

So, in short, NO you do not have to lower your standard of living in order to compete. But don't be surprised if some other company drives your company out of business. THEY are willing to compete in the world market while you are willing to drive the company you work for out of business.

I guess you must think that NO job is better than a lower paying job. After all, mommy gubberment will take care of you.

Don't blame me,
I didn't vote for a
socialist.

To give credit where it's due, Pink_Slip's observations about foreign auto companies and competing against a foreign company hold a lot of merit. When Japan decided to take a serious run at US automakers several differences between Japanese automobile manufacturers and their US counterparts hinge around government support of the effort. For instance, we in the US don't hear too much about labor unions or strikes in Japan or China. It could be because the government suppresses the press, but it also could be that the other things are officially frowned upon as well.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

You know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie.

Let's look at current Government programs and how they are not good enough for the UAW.

Here is a link to highlights of the most recent UAW contract with GM

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119100562186742930.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

http://www.uaw.org/contracts/07/gm/gm06.php

1) The government created Medicaid for retiree healthcare. So why did the UAW demand a $30 Billion healthcare account from GM for retirees?

2) The government created Social Security.  So why did the UAW demand additional monthly payments for it's retirees?

Social Security “Age Creep” Patch

The Social Security “age creep” adjustment, first negotiated in 1999, is extended through this agreement. Current and future retirees younger than 63 will continue to receive supplements or temporary benefits to which they are entitled until they reach their so-called 80 percent date.

3) The government created Unemployment insurance and forced companies to pay into that account. So why did the UAW demand the "Job Bank"?

Now Unions want America to pick up their healthcare costs too?

We (the American public) are already paying into Social Security AND retirement for the UAW, we (the American public)  are already paying into the medicaid system AND retirement healthcare for the UAW and we (the American public)  are already paying into Unemployment  AND the Job Bank through higher car prices.

When mommy gubberment gets involved, things get screwed up. IF government programs worked the way the politicians think they do, the UAW would not need these additional payments from the Big 3.  American car prices would already be competitive and the Big 3 would not be running to the US Taxpayer to bail out their stupid butts and the auto worker would already be happy.

Don't blame me,
I didn't vote for a
socialist.

The government created Medicaid for retiree healthcare. So why did the UAW demand a $30 Billion healthcare account from GM for retirees?

I'll assume you meant to say "Medicare" not "Medicaid". But to address your question, any terms in the UAW contract were subject to negotiation between management and the workers. If the terms were unacceptable, then management wouldn't have agreed to them. But they did. Retirement & healthcare packages are common in the business world, in spite of the presense of Medicare/Social Security.

But you still don't address the fact that foreign car makers have an advantage, in that their countries provide some form of universal healthcare for the workers. Foreign countries also have unions, as Jack has pointed out. Remember, when Ford chose to put a plant in Ontario instead of the low-salary American South? It was because of Canada's universal healthcare. If this example doesn't crystalize the point, I don't know what will.

Pink Slip

Jack is indeed a wise man

Pink Slip

MJ is phrasing his statement with speculation but Libs is giving us the facts.

I heard my brother complain abut the possibility that he may have to take a concession on his UAW pension. Play me a fiddle! I pointed out that those who do not have a UAW pension but instead a 401K like myself have already taken a concession to the tune of 40%. UAW contracts which abetted the fail of the Big Three and consequently had a direct impact on the economy, thus eroding the value of my 401K. So I bit my tongue when I heard him piss and moan how after he worked for 30 years and earned his pension feel, it's OK that BIG Government should bail his pension out at the expense of mine. But, he is a True-blue Union Worker and didn't understand or wouldn't listen to reason anyhow. Us rich Conservatives are just greedy Bastards trying to steal his pension from him even though he made 2x as much as I do in retirement!. I forgive him. He is my brother.

Honestly, I do not blame the Union Worker. I always say to try to get as much compensation as you can. Thats American, thats Capitalism. Who I do blame are the Union Officials for cohersing the Auto Execs into unsustainable contracts and I blame the Auto execs for not having the balls to say NO!

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth. ~Japanese Proverb

to keep him alive.

You UAW types want Americans to help pay for your healthcare so you can compete with foreign companies? So apparently you can't compete by yourselves?

I'd be happy to help with your healthcare.

But first, I want ALL of you UAW members to give up your negotiated retirement to the Social Security Administration. That way everyone can benefit from your money. It is not "universal" if only you keep your hard earned retirement money.

Then I want you to sell your UAW owned golf course and put that money into the U.S. Forestry service. That way everyone can benefit from your money.  It is not "universal" if only your members have a golf course.

Then I want you to give up your supplimental unemployment payments and put that money into ODJFS (Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services).  It is not "universal" if only your members have supplimental unemployment payments that bring your unemployment payments up to 95% of your wages.

Once you are willing to truly become "equal", then I might consider giving up the healthcare benifits that I negotiated for myself and I help pay for by myself.

 Once you leeches help me pay for my retirement, then I might consider helping pay for healthcare in order for you to keep a job that could easily be done by a robot.

Don't blame me,
I didn't vote for a
socialist.

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