Kerry says only 1% of healthcare costs in the USA are for medical malpractice insurance premiums. Others say it is even less, perhaps 1/2%. I have no reason to disbelieve these statistics.
Putting caps on lawsuit claims for pain and suffering will not fix the soaring cost of healthcare. That is what I read from the above paragraph.
But it will make it impossible for middle class people to sue big corporations when a defective swimming pool drain sucks out the intestines of their daughter, all because of a bad 2 cent screw. Without the big bucks at stake, how can the little guy afford a smart lawyer to take on the legends of corporate lawyers?
The Bush tort reform plan = taking away rights from middle class people.
The rank and file of the GOP are middle class.
Why do they vote against their own interests?
I donna know. Go figure.
There is no such thing as a "successful frivolous" lawsuit. If a suit is successful, it is not frivolous, by definition. Juries are not stupid. When they return a multi-million dollar penalty against a corporation, there is a good reason.
And yet in the last debate, Bush sneeringly criticized frivolous lawsuits. How is it this galvanizes the GOP middle class "base?"
I think it is a good thing to put the fear of retribution into the hearts of corporate executives. It means they will design their stuff with safety in mind. That is good.
Without that fear, they WILL design stuff for profit first, and nothing else. That is what corporations do. Eventually it catches up with them, as in the Ford SUV rollover examples. Sales of Ford Explorers cratered. But by then, the CEO is retired and has his millions in stock options cashed in. He doesn't care.
I want to be able to sue Ford if they kill my daughter. Bush is saying I can't.
Disclaimer: I am a "Ford guy." 74 Ranchero and 68 Mustang Fastback. But I never heard of a Ranchero tipping over in a solo accident. Thanks Lee Iaccocca.
I think Bush - and others - are actually saying that you should be able to sue Ford IF Ford killed your daughter, but if your daughter died in a wreck caused by her yakking on a cell phone instead of driving you should not be able to blame Ford because they "defectively" did not include a device that jammed cell phone calls emanating from the driver's seat while the vehicle was moving, hence preventing your daughter from calling, hence avoiding the accident, hence Ford's fault.
No one can ever take away you right to sue. All that is being suggested is that damages above and beyond actual losses be limited. For example, a defective product that caused a laceration and $750 emergency room bill should not lead to a $250 million award.
Funny you should mention him in this context. In addition to his claim to be "The Father of the Mustang", Iacocca was also "The Father of the Pinto". . .
Vess, you should have stopped right there. You really don't get it.
Look, I'm not going to share the secret handshake in front of all these fine right-wing folks, but I think you have forgotten the number one precept of liberal philosophy -- go look it up in your handbook.
No, I'm not going to tell them what it is, not if they don't have the handbook.
A hint--product liability doctrine does not exist so you can sue Ford. Neither does Head Start exist so you can feel better about the educational progress of poor kids, nor does Social Security exist so that you can get a check from the government. Those are strictly subsidiary to the points of those programs.
And for those of you without the handbook, it's also not about expanding government like a red gas giant until it swallows every last Republican's assets. I doubt any of you will believe me on that one.
Darn tootin' he is, Al. I have had the (perhaps dubious) experience of working with and against a lot of trial lawyers, and it isn't that hard to tell the difference between an ambulance-chasing hack and someone who really only takes on meritorious cases. If you are going to have any trial lawyers at all, folks like Edwards are the ones you want.
Eh, you probably don't want any trial lawyers at all. They just raise the cost of everything, don't they? Like housing. You know, the technology of housing construction has changed a lot over the years--used to be if you bought a house, you got wood, wood, and more wood. Twelve inches on center in a lot of cases, and good hard stuff, without a lot of knots in it. It might burn down, and I suppose termites might be an issue now and again, but with proper care, the houses do real well, and are even considered the safest form of small residential construction in earthquake country, like out here.
Well, whether because of overlogging or advances in technology or maybe just fashion, there's a whole lot less wood in houses these days. One area in particular where you don't see so much real wood is siding. There's aluminum, stucco, vinyl--and there's also a bunch of simulated wood products if you want the quasi-grainy look under the paint.
Out east of the immediate Bay Area there are a series of communities in what is called the 680 corridor, because the interstate of that number runs through there. The homes out there are expensive, and the voters run moderate to conservative. Some of them are quite well-to-do; others are very middle class, but there are almost no poor people, because the land and the homes and the rents are just too high. Thousands of homes were built out there by a variety of medium and large corporations.
Like all effective businesses, these outfits had to control costs if they expected to compete and still make a good profit. Different builders approached the problems in different ways, which was eventually reflected by the very different experiences homeowners had later. One builder in particular built a beautiful 150+ house subdivision and clad these homes exclusively in a pressed-wood-byproduct siding material that resembled Masonite in composition. The manufacturer supplied specifications for the unpainted siding material, which (among other things) detailed necessary insulation backing, necessary drainage characteristics of the lot and the need to carefully edge-prime and back-prime each and every sheet of material when the material was first unwrapped, and again after any cuts were made to the material. Despite these specifications, the cost of the siding was still very much less than it would have been for real wood. However, the builder had more than one cost-saving strategy. The company also hired workers who would work for a little less--you know, they might not have been documented, but whether they were or not, they sure didn't pay much attention to those important specifications, probably because they couldn't read or understand them, and they did not receive adequate guidance from foremen, who were spread thinly over the entire subdivision. The upshot--after a few years, a few of the homeowners note that the siding is separating in a few places. Okay, go get a hammer and some nails and refasten--aw shit, Mollie, it's crumbling!
150+ homes, average cost to repair the bad drainage that kept excessive water on the lot so it could wick into the un-edge-primed siding, the poor insulation that allowed excessive moisture to transpire into the back side of the un-back-primed siding, and of course, to replace the siding itself, $38,000--some more, some less, and this is in 1982 dollars, by-the-by. I don't know the inflation multiplier, but I'd guess $70K in today's dollars. Aggregate cost to fix the subdivision: in today's dollars, something like $11,000,000. The homeowners turned to their various insurance companies for help. Guess what--defective construction is an excluded peril--and with good reason. If the homeowner's insurance pays, they have in effect become the insurer for the builder, who had never paid them a premium for the privilege. Most of the insurers did negotiate partial payments with their homeowners, but the bulk of the loss was not covered. Faced with having their largest single asset (and their home to boot) compromised to the point of being unsalable and perhaps even unlivable, and in some cases not having the cold hard cash to get it fixed at all, they went out as a group and got a trial attorney and sued the builder, the siding manufacturer, the subs and the engineers, At the same time, I was one of a team of attorneys working with the insurance companies to get their money back from the builder et al as well. The homeowners got a pretty good attorney, and we were pretty durn good too, thank you very much. The net effect was that the builder settled before trial, after squeezing what it could out of the siding makers and the subs, but still paid something like 65 cents on the dollar, which reduced the average loss to each homeowner (after attorney's fees, of course, but still including the partial sums the insurers paid) to about $5000 in 1982 dollars.
The builder later complained in the real estate section of the newspaper that because of excessive litigation costs, they were going to have to raise their housing prices by 5%. Maybe that 5% was used to exercise a little tighter control on the job site, or maybe they just pocketed the money and found another way to get things done. Doesn't matter either way--these little guys--these Republicans, for a lot of them were--would have had zero recourse were it not for the contingent fee system. Yep, us narsty ol' attorneys turned some nice fees in the process, because like everyone else, we wanted to work for a profit too. No contingent fees, no easy access to an attorney (a good one won't take a crap case because he doesn't have to). And another thing about a contingent fee arrangement--if the builder's boys know that you are paying your attorney hourly, they can just string things out and bankrupt you the poor little homeowner, but when the attorney is taking the chance instead of you, it changes the equation.
Note that I no longer practice law. I couldn't stand dealing with the
30% or so of trial attorneys who give the other 70% a bad name. But in my experience, those proportions are real.
Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social Security (FICA) Program. He promised:
1.) That participation in the Program would be completely voluntary,
2.) That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual incomes into the Program,
3.) That the money the participants elected to put into the Program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year,
4.) That the money the participants put into the independent "Trust Fund" rather than into the General operating fund, and therefore, would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other Government program, and,
5.) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.
Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are now receiving a Social Security check every month -- and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the Federal government to "put away," you may be interested in the following:
Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the independent "Trust" fund and put it into the General fund so that Congress could spend it?
A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the Democratically-controlled House and Senate.
---------------------------------------------------- Q: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?
Q: Which Political Party decided to start giving annuity payments to immigrants?
MY FAVORITE :
A: That's right! Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party. Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65, began to receive SSI Social Security payments! The Democratic Party gave these payments to them, even though they never paid a dime into it!
----------------------------------------------------- Then, after doing all this lying and thieving and violation of the original contract (FICA), the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away!
And the worst part about it is, uninformed citizens believe it! Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during this 2004 election year! Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
I heard an interesting statistic that may or may not be exact, but my gut feeling is that it is reasonable.
Of all the promises made by Bill Clinton during his campaigns for President, he delivered on 60% of them. This, it turns out, is one of the highest percentages ever seen from a President in our memory. He did this while six years of his terms had a Republican (opposition) majority in the House.
My contribution. How many promises to the middle class has Bush delivered on? 1%. Two of these years Bush had a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate.
I don't know about his record. I gather that prior to his run for Pres. then VP, nobody said anything about it except that he was a self-made man from humble roots.
But, I used to work for lawyers. I would say that about 10% were really great guys, trying to do the right thing, funny, etc., all the things that make a person decent. Another 15-20% were some degree of ethically challanged (ranging from, its legal but not right, to downright rotten). The remainder were just sorta there and did whatever the partners told them, good, bad, or indifferent.
dajwal@No spam.yahoo,com wrote: Of Course The Republicans didnt belive in Social Security at all, and in many ways still try to undermine it Maybe some time they will take the blame for something but probably not in my lifetime David