The Green New Deal

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  • Tue, Mar 05, 2019 - 08:30am   (Reply to #30)



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    PACs, Central Banks, Major Corporations, “Money” Itself

sand_puppy wrote:

I feel certain that DaveF’s point above is indeed the key to any real system improvement.  When politicians are dependent upon, then beholdened to, their donors, the donors control all decision making.

Nothing can change while industry PACs control the purse strings of the “public servants.” 

  • Tue, Mar 05, 2019 - 10:17am



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    Yep – $ Out of Politics is Key

I worked with a friend of mine on a documentary called ‘Priceless’ which was eventually shown on PBS, about how $ corrupts democracy in the US.  We got the idea for it after we had organized a week long event in Johanesburg, South Africa (I may have mentioned here before?) called the “World Sustainability Hearings”.  It ran as an outside event in parallel to the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Joburg in 2002.  The intent was to hold a ‘people’s tribunal’ that held governments at the UN meeting accountable for NOT keeping any of their promises in the previous decade to move forward on environmental, agricultural, climate, energy, water and other key sustainable development issues, in spite of all their soaring speeches.  We had testimony from grass roots activists fighting big money all over the world, plus presentations by some well-known speakers like Jane Goodall, Robert Watson, chair of the IPCC, and well-known heads of large international groups working on sustainable development issues.   

The conference experience generated a pretty clear picture of how big money is corrupting effective action by governments all over the world on issues to protect nature and support genuine, sustainable development and planning that will benefit the broad public, whether it’s in the US, South America, Russia, China, India – you name the country, we heard stories of big money corrupting gov’t from on-the-ground activists there.   We heard testimony about death threats, lives lost, or months or years in prison, let alone daunting, unending political opposition from corruption by wealthy owners of land, industries, or resources that don’t want their operation interfered with, even in cases in which major supportive ecologies needed by citizens were destroyed, or thousands of families were being poisoned, starved or otherwise hurt by greed.  Big money would corrupt and oppose public action or opposition, sometimes by outright killing activists, by working directly through the gov’t & using gov’t enforcement to support crony interests and quash public ones, or by acting outside the gov’t to do that as the gov’t turned a blind eye.  

It was interesting that, when we went to do fundraising to produce the next project that came out of that experience, the “Priceless” film on corruption of the US democratic system, we found it was much, much tougher to get money to expose the massive corruption of our government than for other public interest documentaries my friend had produced for PBS previously.  Typical film funding sources are foundations, wealthy families, many of which had, of course, inherited money or made their money from big corporations, Between us, it took years to raise the six figures in grant money to do the film.  The film was balanced to be non-partisan – that is, to include ‘villains’ who are corrupt and ‘heros’ who speak out for reform from both parties and from independents.  And yet, funders were wary of supporting anything that could stir the ire of big money, or that ran counter to the notion that, in spite of its flaws, ‘the system had worked for them’.  I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised that big money tends to not see the influence of ‘big money’ as a problem.  😉

And when it came time to submit the documentary to PBS for distribution, PBS was very worried about it being ‘controversial’ or ‘political’ as well in ways that might affect its funding (IMO).  Ultimately, they did show it nationally, but didn’t assign it favorable time slots, show it as widely of provide as much promotion as they had my friends other films.  This was true even though, as Dave points out, fixing the issue of corruption in the US democratic system is crucial for assuring that almost any government program or social action is done intelligently, efficiently and actually for the benefit of the public at large. 

This is a trailer for the film, which I’d guess many here might like:


Is it real? from a movie or TV? doctored up for an opinion article?

  • Wed, Mar 06, 2019 - 06:36am   (Reply to #20)



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    Germany, France and Sweden are not socialism (not quite)

Strictly speaking, Germany, France and the Nordic countries like Sweden are not in socialistic systems.  They are highly regulated, highly taxed capitalist economies.  I wouldn’t disagree with saying they are  trending toward socialism.



so·​cial·​ism |   ˈsō-shə-ˌli-zəm 


Definition of socialism


any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

To the surprise of many, Bernie Sanders has excited many millennials and others who feel the economic system has failed them with a call to implement what he coined “democratic socialism,” an economic system which he believes is what the Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland) are following – known as the Nordic model.

Ironically, this didn’t sit well with some of the Nordic leaders who felt that that they are being slandered by the term socialist. In a recent speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the prime minister of Denmark, Lars Rasmussen, explained, “I know that some people in the U.S. associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.”

And this is the first myth about the Nordic countries – that they are socialist. Like other western countries, the means of production are primarily owned by private individuals, not the community or the government, and resources are allocated to their uses by the market, not government planning. Having high tax rates to support a generous welfare system does not make them socialist countries. What Sanders calls socialism is actually social democracy, a system in which the government promotes public welfare through heavy taxation and spending, within the framework of a capitalist economy…

A second myth about the Nordic model is the belief that it is the welfare state that explains their prosperity. It is not. They were prosperous for many decades before the welfare state.

In a recent interview, Swedish economist Johan Norberg explained, “Sweden got rich first with free trade and an open economy, before we had the big government. In the 1950s Sweden was already one of the world’s richest countries (ranked fourth in the world) and back then, taxes were lower in Sweden than in the United States.”  It was in the decades of 1970s and 1980s when government and the welfare state expanded significantly; it became unsustainable when the government’s share in the economy reached 67 percent in 1993. The economic crisis that followed forced it to cut subsidies and taxes and to reform the public services sector. These supply-side market reforms made Sweden successful again.

Danes are increasingly aware of the difficulty in maintaining their welfare state. The Economist magazine quotes a Danish historian saying, “The welfare system we have is excellent in most ways. We have only this little problem. We can’t afford it.”

davefairtex wrote:

First of all, socialism isn’t communism.  I’m not suggesting communism.  I am suggesting that a big dose of socialism (a la “sweden” and/or “france”) would be incredibly attractive to the following group of people, simply because they’d personally do a lot better under socialism than they would under crony capitalism.

As I stated in a previous comment, I understand the allure of socialism for people who are in some kind of need and don’t understand the history of socialism. According to communist theorists and cheerleaders, socialism is a necessary transitional step between capitalism and communism, so it’s not like they’re unrelated.  Communists advocate for socialism until “real” communism can be imposed, but that has never happened.  Besides why did they call it the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?  Why did Cuba under Castro start calling itself “socialist” then in time progressed to “communist?” Your big dose of socialism IS communism.

Please don’t conflate gun grabbing and a communist revolution with socialism addressing these problems for this specific group of people.

I don’t conflate gun grabbing and socialism.  The socialists here in the US and elsewhere are the ones who combine disarming the public with imposing socialism (on its way to communism).  I’ve never heard of one, but I’m sure if we study a million advocates of socialism we might find one or two who are against disarming the public.  However, they’re not in power or running for office, nor do they understand socialism very well.  They’re like four leaf clovers and unicorns.  I stand by my statement: Those pushing socialism to implement the Green New Deal are among the fiercest advocates of civilian disarmament (euphemistically called “gun control”).  It’s not about guns.  It’s about control.  Their system will REQUIRE massive government control and that will be easier if the people are disarmed.  And they know it.

If someone doesn’t articulate something better that actually improves life for these people, then – most likely – it is socialism we will get.

I agree this is the direction we’re drifting.  And “we the people” are to blame.  We are uneducated, naive, selfish, short-sighted, disengaged and materialistic.  Ron Paul offered an alternative and he almost gained enough traction to move the needle, but TPTB stomped him enough to stop The Revolution in its tracks.  Now he’s all but forgotten.  If “we the people” demanded a better alternative, leaders would appear but so far… crickets.  And with the MSM fully onboard with the globalist, socialist drift it’s going to be difficult to awaken “we the people.”  We deserve what’s coming to us.

The dramatic, rapid changes required by the Green New Deal and its supporters/architects will require dramatic new power and control be given to government.  Government will have to centrally plan and control the economy (i.e. socialism, and they’re saying so) and it will be so disruptive that harsh control of dissenters will be required.  They know the dissent will be so powerful that for the government to successfully suppress it will involve dramatic, widespread use of force by the police and military.  That’s the way it always is in socialism.  Therefore, the Green New Dealers are fully in favor of disarming the public today so that the government’s job of suppressing dissent is much easier tomorrow.  What I think is unique over the last 50 years in the US is that those favoring socialism who have been largely stymied in disarming the public seem intent on imposing the socialist system before the public is disarmed. They no longer seem to believe the disarmament must come first before the control of socialism can be effective.  That’s incendiary.  Socialism first then suppress the dissent of a heavily armed and trained and, in many cases, combat-experienced public.  I’m with the socialist old heads: take the guns first or the socialist revolution will fail.

I’m still waiting for the Green New Dealers to explain why it is necessary to impose the new policies they’re advocating that don’t seem directly related to reversing climate change?  What does health care reform, open borders, $15 minimum wage, and the rest have to do with reversing climate change?  Shouldn’t we just focus on the climate change part of the Green New Deal and set aside the rest for the sake of gaining political agreement?  They say the fate of the world hangs in the balance on that one issue.  My suspicion is that climate change agenda is merely the lever for gaining power and that the Green New Dealers are more interested in their own power than they are in reversing climate change.

“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it’s free.”

We’ve got to come up with a third alternative.  We can’t keep going the way we are and we can’t make it worse with socialism.  



  • Wed, Mar 06, 2019 - 08:29am   (Reply to #20)



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    “Free” health care


 “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it’s free.” 

FWIW, Canadians spend a significantly smaller percentage of our GDP on health care than the US does, yet our average life span is longer. “Free” health care can deliver good value if it’s done right.

When I count my blessings, Canada’s medicare system is high on the list.


Ok, sure.  The official definition of socialism is more heavy-handed than the “democratic socialism” proposed by Bernie & crew.  Actual socialism is more like Communism.

But “democratic socialism” is basically what we’re talking about.  So go back in my post and – wherever I mis-used the term “Socialism”, replace it with “Bernie’s Democratic-Socialism” (BDS).

So – basically, we’re gonna end up with BDS if we don’t provide an alternative, because our current CCS (crony capitalist system) is so horrible.  I don’t think anyone is talking about Actual Socialism (as in Cuba, or the Soviet Union).  I know you are worried about that, but I just don’t think that’s in the cards.  I also don’t see Mad Max, nor do I see End of the World from Climate Change.  It will be something in the middle.

“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it’s free.”

Sounds like someone has bought into a slogan constructed by the sickcare industry that wants their gravy train to remain in place.  “Stick with our ‘free market’ healthcare system.  Free market is always better!”   Except, in real life, in this case, it isn’t.  It isn’t free market, and its not better.

A basic, rationed healthcare won’t be more expensive.  Right now, we pay 20% of GDP for our “private” “free market” healthcare system.  Its the most expensive system in the world, has some of the worst outcomes, and we don’t cover everyone.  If people were trying hard to design the worst system ever, it would look just like the sytem we now have in place.

Government reimbursing private care for everyone – that really could make things worse, not better, which is why I’m not for “medicare for all.”  Given corruption in Washington, medicare for all would end up being yet another huge giveaway to the sickcare cartel.

There are quite a number of “free” healthcare systems that keep their people healthier than ours, and they spend less to do it than we do.  That’s just reality.  In my world, real world evidence of functioning systems that cost less than ours will trump sickcare-propaganda-slogans any day of the week.

I’m not for free healthcare because I think its some sort of “human right” – its because I’m a cheapskate.  Free healthcare is cheaper than what we have right now.  Evidence is super clear on that.  There is just no mystery at all about how to do it.

Expand the VA, fund it right, give it to Congress as their healthcare benefit, and it would cost about 10% of GDP.  We could take the savings we’re handing to the sickcare cartel and pay for…gosh, doubling the defense budget.  Or maybe a Hirsch-report-conversion to electric transport and a larger percentage of renewables for generation.

As for why the GNDers want to add in that other stuff – presumably that’s the “new deal” part of the “green new deal.”  If this were just about climate change, it wouldn’t have those words “new deal” attached.

And as they have said, with all that money printing from MMT, we won’t have to worry about funding any of it.  We won’t know what to do with all the prosperity we will create by converting everything over to “green” whatever-it-is.  All the spending by the workers (paid at union wages) who are working on all those green jobs (and presumably paying taxes and also spending money into the local economy) will take care of this.

Of course what they miss is – society is run off surplus net energy, not money.  Sometimes money is the sticking point, like after a depression, but usually its surplus energy that is the limiting factor.

But you shouldn’t blame the GND guys – they are no worse than the mainstream economists, who also have no concept of the fact that it is only surplus net energy that is used to run society.

Of course the GND gang would find this out when they tried to MMT their way into a transition that ran into real-world bottlenecks of diesel, machinery, raw materials, and whatnot, and the response of the raw materials producers around the world would be to hike prices through the stratosphere, as all of society’s surplus net energy went into resource extraction and construction, with the new shortages in surplus energy would manifest as massive inflation to normal consumers.

  • Wed, Mar 06, 2019 - 05:01pm



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    Ronald Reagan's Take on Socialized Medicine in 1961

My name is Ronald Reagan. I have been asked to talk on several subjects that have to do with the problems of the day. It must seem presumptious to some of you that a member of my profession would stand here and attempt to talk to anyone on serious problems that face the nation and the world – it would be strange if it were otherwise.

Most of us in Hollywood are very well aware of the concept – or the misconception – that many people, our fellow citizens have about people in show business. It is only a generation ago that people of my profession couldn’t be buried in the churchyard. Course, the world has improved since then. We can be buried now. As a matter of fact the eagerness of some of you to perform that service gets a little frightening at times.

Now, back in 1927 an American socialist, Norman Thomas, six times candidate for president on the Socialist Party ticket, said the American people would never vote for socialism. But he said under the name of liberalism the American people would adopt every fragment of the socialist program.

 There are many ways in which our government has invaded the  precincts of private citizens, method of earning a living; our government is in business to the extent of owning more than 19,000 businesses covering 47 different lines of activity. This amounts to a fifth of the total industrial capacity of the United States.

But at the moment I would like to talk about another way because this threat is with us, and at the moment, is more imminent.

One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine.

It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.

Now, the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it. We had an example of this. Under the Truman administration it was proposed that we have a compulsory health insurance program for all people in the United States, and, of course, the American people unhesitatingly rejected this.

So with the American people on record as not wanting socialized medicine, Congressman Ferrand introduced the Ferrand bill. This was the idea that all people of Social Security age, should be brought under a program of compulsory health insurance. Now this would not only be our senior citizens, this would be the dependents and those that are disabled, this would be young people if they are dependents of someone eligible for social security.

Now, Congressman Ferrand, brought the program out on that idea out, on just for that particular group of people. But Congressman Ferrand was subscribing to this foot-in-the door philosophy, because he said, “If we can only break through and get our foot inside the door, then we can expand the program after that”. 

Walter Ruther said, “It’s no secret that the United Automobile Workers is officially on record of backing a program of national health insurance”. And by national health insurance, he meant socialized medicine for every American.

Well, let us see what the socialists themselves have to say about it. They say once the Ferrand bill is passed this nation will be provided with a mechanism for socialized medicine capable of indefinite expansion in every direction until it includes the entire populationNow we can’t say we haven’t been warned.

Now Congressman Ferrand is no longer a Congressman of the United States government. He has been replaced, not in his particular assignment, but in his backing of such a bill by Congressman King of California. It is presented in the idea of a great emergency that millions of our senior citizens are unable to provide needed medical care. But this ignores that fact that in the last decade,127 million of our citizens, in just 10 years, have come under the protection of some form of privately owned medical or hospital insurance.

Now the advocates of this bill when you try to oppose it challenge you on an emotional basis. They say, “What would you do? Throw these poor people out to die with no medical attention?”

That’s ridiculous and of course no one is advocating it. As a matter of fact, in the last session of Congress a bill was adopted known as the Kerr/Mills bill. Now without even allowing this bill to be tried to see if it works, they have introduced this King bill, which is really the Ferrand bill.

What is the Kerr/Mills bill? It is a frank recognition of the medical need or problem of the senior citizens I have mentioned, and it has provided from the federal government, money to the states and the local communities that can be used at the discretion of the state to help those people who need it.

Now what reason could the other people have for backing a bill which says we insist on compulsory health insurance for senior citizens on a basis of age alone, regardless of whether they are worth millions of dollars, whether they have an income, whether they are protected by their own insurance, whether they have savings.

I think we can be excused for believing that as ex-congressman Ferrand said, this was simply an excuse to bring about what they wanted all the time — socialized medicine.

James Madison in 1788 speaking to the Virginia convention said, “Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

They want to attach this bill to Social Security, and they say here is a great insurance program; now instituted, now working.

Let’s take a look at Social Security itself. Again, very few of us disagree with the original premise that there should be some form of savings that would keep destitution from following unemployment by reason of death, disability or old age. And to this end, Social Security was adopted, but it was never intended to supplant private savings, private insurance, pension programs of unions and industries.

Now, in our country under our free-enterprise system we have seen medicine reach the greatest heights that it has in any country in the world. Today, the relationship between patient and doctor in this country is something to be envied any place. The privacy, the care that is given to a person, the right to chose a doctor, the right to go from one doctor to  the other.

But let’s also look from the other side at the freedom the doctor uses. A doctor would be reluctant to say this. Well, like you, I am only a patient, so I can say it in his behalf. The doctor begins to lose freedoms, it’s like telling a lie. One leads to another. First you decide the doctor can have so many patients. They are equally divided among the various doctors by the government, but then the doctors are equally divided geographically, so a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town and the government has to say to him he can’t live in that town, they already have enough doctors. You have to go some place else. And from here it is only a short step to dictating where he will go.

This is a freedom that I wonder if any of us has a right to take from any human being. I know how I’d feel if you my fellow citizens, decided that to be an actor I had to be a government employee and work in a national theater. Take it into your own occupation or that of your husband. All of us can see what happens once you establish the precedent that the government can determine a man’s working place and his working methods, determine his employment. From here it’s a short step to all the rest of socialism, to determining his pay and pretty soon your son won’t decide when he’s in school where he will go or what he will do for a living. He will wait for the government to tell him where he will go to work and what he will do.

In this country of ours, took place the greatest revolution that has ever taken place in the world’s history; the only true revolution. Every other revolution simply exchanged one set of rulers for another. But here, for the first time in all the thousands of years of man’s relations to man, a little group of men, the founding fathers, for the first time, established the idea that you and I had within ourselves the God given right and ability to determine our own destiny. This freedom was built into our government with safeguards. We talk democracy today, and strangely, we let democracy begin to assume the aspect of majority rule is all that is needed. The “majority rule” is a fine aspect of democracy provided there are guarantees written in to our government concerning the rights of the individual and of the minorities.

What can we do about this? Well, you and I can do a great deal. We can write to our congressmen and to our senators. We can say right now that we want no further encroachment on these individual liberties and freedoms. And at the moment, the key issue is, we do not want socialized medicine.

In Washington today, 40 thousand letters, less than 100 per congressman are evidence of a trend in public thinking. 

Representative Hallock of Indiana has said, “When the American people wants something from Congress, regardless of its political complexion, if they make their wants known, Congress does what the people want.”

 So write, and if this man writes back to you and tells you that he too is for free enterprise, that we have these great services and so forth, that must be performed by government, don’t let him get away with it. 

Show that you have not been convinced. Write a letter right back and tell him that you believe government economy and fiscal responsibility, that you know governments don’t tax to get the money they need; governments will always find a need for the money they get and that you demand the continuation of our free enterprise system. 

You and I can do this. The only way we can do it is by writing to our congressmen even we believe that he’s on our side to begin with. Write to strengthen his hand. Give him the ability to stand before his colleagues in Congress and say that he has heard from my constituents and this is what they want. Write those letters now  call your friends and them to write. 

If you don’t, this program I promise you, will pass just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow and behind it will come other federal   programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country until one day as Normal Thomas said we will wake to find that we have socialism, and if you don’t do this and I don’t do this, one of these days we are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.


  • Wed, Mar 06, 2019 - 06:24pm   (Reply to #37)



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 behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country

Fearmongering and slippery slope fallacies, delivered with aw-shucks charm.

It’s intellectual carelessness on a monumental scale.

  • Wed, Mar 06, 2019 - 10:50pm



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    Obviously, no one reads the Daily digest articles.

When you can halve the price of a drug and still make money, I assume there must be a reasonably healthy markup. Considering that Eli Lilly originally struck a deal with the University of Toronto (just short of 100 years ago) to keep the price of the newly discovered and safe injectable form of insulin at a level that all except the most indigent could acquire; it appears they might be trying to make amends. Funny how free enterprise still carries a somewhat malevolent aroma: 

Is that a commie under my bed or a corporate parasite? The difference is getting harder to see!

  • Thu, Mar 07, 2019 - 09:39am   (Reply to #37)



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    Nixon and Ehrlichman Discuss Kaiser Permanente in 1971

Yoxa wrote:


 behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country

Fearmongering and slippery slope fallacies, delivered with aw-shucks charm.

It’s intellectual carelessness on a monumental scale.

Hi Yoxa,

yep, bloody grim!

Here’s another. Be careful your chin doesn’t hit the edge of your desk, because the results of this discussion led to the Health Manintenance Organisation Act of 1973 : –

This is a transcript of the 1971 conversation between President Richard Nixon and John D. Ehrlichman that led to the HMO act of 1973:

John D. Ehrlichman: “On the … on the health business …”

President Nixon: “Yeah.”

Ehrlichman: “… we have now narrowed down the vice president’s problems on this thing to one issue and that is whether we should include these health maintenance organizations like Edgar Kaiser’s Permanente thing. The vice president just cannot see it. We tried 15 ways from Friday to explain it to him and then help him to understand it. He finally says, ‘Well, I don’t think they’ll work, but if the President thinks it’s a good idea, I’ll support him a hundred percent.’”

President Nixon: “Well, what’s … what’s the judgment?”

Ehrlichman: “Well, everybody else’s judgment very strongly is that we go with it.”

President Nixon: “All right.”

Ehrlichman: “And, uh, uh, he’s the one holdout that we have in the whole office.”

President Nixon: “Say that I … I … I’d tell him I have doubts about it, but I think that it’s, uh, now let me ask you, now you give me your judgment. You know I’m not too keen on any of these damn medical programs.”

Ehrlichman: “This, uh, let me, let me tell you how I am …”

President Nixon: [Unclear.]

Ehrlichman: “This … this is a …”

President Nixon: “I don’t [unclear] …”

Ehrlichman: “… private enterprise one.”

President Nixon: “Well, that appeals to me.”

Ehrlichman: “Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for profit. And the reason that he can … the reason he can do it … I had Edgar Kaiser come in … talk to me about this and I went into it in some depth. All the incentives are toward less medical care, because …”

President Nixon: [Unclear.]

Ehrlichman: “… the less care they give them, the more money they make.”

President Nixon: “Fine.” [Unclear.]

Ehrlichman: [Unclear] “… and the incentives run the right way.”

President Nixon: “Not bad.”

[Source: University of Virginia Check – February 17, 1971, 5:26 pm – 5:53 pm, Oval Office Conversation 450-23. Look for: tape rmn_e450c.]


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