Debates 2020

Here's Every Single Time Someone Scapegoated Profit During the Dem Debates

Several candidates seem to view profit as one of the biggest threats facing America.


The opening round of Democratic presidential debates is over. A variety of ideas were presented. But one thing in particular kept coming up. Namely, a number of the Democratic presidential wannabes kept badmouthing profit.

In fact, several of the Democratic candidates seemed to view the existence of profit-making enterprises as one of the biggest threats facing America.

Here is a list of every time someone demonized profit during the Democratic debates.

  1. Elizabeth Warren

So we've had an industrial policy in the United States for decades now, and it's basically been let giant corporations do whatever they want to do. Giant corporations have exactly one loyalty, and that is to profits. And if they can save a nickel by moving a job to Mexico or to Asia or to Canada, they're going to do it.

  1. Cory Booker

Health care—it's not just a human right, it should be an American right. And I believe the best way to get there is Medicare for All. But I have an urgency about this. When I am president of the United States, I'm not going to wait. We have to do the things immediately that are going to provide better care. And on this debate, I'm sorry. There are too many people profiteering off of the pain of people in America, from pharmaceutical companies to insurers.

  1. Elizabeth Warren

The insurance companies last year alone sucked $23 billion in profits out of the health care system, $23 billion. And that doesn't count the money that was paid to executives, the money that was spent lobbying Washington. We have a giant industry that wants our health care system to stay the way it is, because it's not working for families, but it's sure as heck working for them.

  1. Cory Booker

I have been to some of the largest private prisons, which are repugnant to me that people are profiting off incarceration, and their immigration lockups.

  1. Kirsten Gillibrand

The debate we're having in our party right now is confusing, because the truth is there's a big difference between capitalism on the one hand and greed on the other. And so all the things that we're trying to change is when companies care more about profits when they do about people.

  1. Kirsten Gillibrand

I believe we need to get to universal health care as a right and not a privilege to single payer. The quickest way you get there is you create competition with the insurers. God bless the insurers, if they want to compete, they can certainly try, but they've never put people over their profits, and I doubt they ever will.

  1. Bernie Sanders

Let's be clear. Let us be very clear. The function of health care today from the insurance and drug company perspective is not to provide quality care to all in a cost-effective way. The function of the health care system today is to make billions in profits for the insurance companies.

  1. Bernie Sanders

We will have Medicare for all when tens of millions of people are prepared to stand up and tell the insurance companies and the drug companies that their day is gone, that health care is a human right, not something to make huge profits off of.

  1. Kirsten Gillibrand

But the worst thing President Trump has done is he's diverted the funds away from cross-border terrorism, cross-border human trafficking, drug trafficking, and gun trafficking, and he's given that money to the for-profit prisons. I would not be spending money in for-profit prisons to lock up children and asylum-seekers.

NEXT: Actually, Joe Biden and the Obama Administration Deported More People Than Trump

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  1. This was presented on NBS, which is Non-profit Broadcasting System, right?

  2. Sorry:
    NBC, which is Non-profit Broadcasting Corporation, right?

    1. Also, all of these candidates are impoverished from always working pro bono.

  3. BTW, several weeks ago, a search showed that, among the Ds in the pile of turds hoping for selection, only one had actually 'worked' at a job, and that turned out to be a 'consulting firm' which had been supported by mom and dad.
    I think this is important: Not a one of this pathetic collection of quasi-commies has ever had to produce something of value and figure out how to sell it to the public.
    Max, working the truck to replace your toilet, isn't real familiar with a P&L statement, and, truth be known, that guy or gal paid to come up with the newest ap probably isn't either.
    But they both probably know that their paycheck depends on the company they work for showing a profit, since it's likely mentioned at the company Christmas party.
    The D message will resonate with those in Academia, the press and low-end whiners, and the Ds do not have a clue.

    1. and the only one who denounced socialism (Hickenlooper) is polling at 0 percent.

    2. They will be shocked when Trump wins re-election, though, because they will literally have never met anyone who liked him.

      1. Pauline Kael all over again.

  4. I think there's an argument to be made the $30B (or whatever it is) annual profits of private health insurers is a small vig to pay to keep everything from becoming a federal shitshow

      1. What i mean is the candidates act like the 'profit' going to private insurance companies is somehow a large driver of health care costs.

        Considering we spend something like $3.5T annually on healthcare, an extra 1% to NOT have the federal government make a mess of everything doesn't seem like a huge deal

        1. "What i mean is the candidates act like the ‘profit’ going to private insurance companies is somehow a large driver of health care costs."
          Living in SF, it's not uncommon where I end up pointing out that the average profit of even huge operations averages to ~7%.
          Given that it *is* SF some witless folks claim the 'government could do it for less'. They're the ones who haven't had to deal with the DMV recently.

          1. To be fair, I immediately scrub my brain of any memories associated with the DMV, too. It's simple a simple sanity-preservation measure.

          2. When the occupy movement was a thing i went to the encampment in Pittsburgh one day (I was in my late 20s so i blended in) and pointed out to several of the protestors i saw on I phones that apple sold their phone at a nearly 400% profit while Exxon, the company many of the signs derided, only operated on a 10% profit margin...

            You could literally hear the gears screech to a halt in their brain as they scrambled to rationalize it

        2. BTW, I still see you sig as the tail number:
          "Hayward traffic, this is Piper November Juliet 2 Alfa Zulu, entering downwind...."

    1. $30B will be a rounding error if the government nationalizes health care.

      1. +1
        Tell it to JFree, who claims that the medical care industry is involved in all sorts of nefarious capital expenditures as a result of government regulations, and then (hint-hint, nudge-nudge) tells us that more government involvement will really make things ducky, since libertarians don't know from 'economics'!:

        June.27.2019 at 1:25 pm
        "Medicare pays far, far less than private rates, and the higher rates from private payers is part of what keeps hospitals afloat financially

        Which would mean that someone would have to be paid less, and it wouldn’t just be insurance companies: It would be nurses and doctors, therapists and billing specialists, the entire universe of middle-class jobs that America’s health care industry supports.

        Gawdallfuckingmighty. ‘Libertarian authors’ are the STUPIDEST economic thinkers in the world. It is not the responsibility of Medicare (the taxpayer) to ensure that specialists and others in the healthcare industry are the highest-paid in the world. It is not the responsibility of Medicare (the taxpayer) to ensure that hospital revenues and expenses can keep rising by 5% or so per year forever.
        Is there excess capacity in rural hospitals? Yeah. Cuz hospitals everywhere have spent decades using their profit margins to keep increasing capacity and growing new services. Not generally as a rational decision based on the ROI of that marginal capacity – but because ‘non-profits’ have to plow those profits back into their business or get taxed on them and they all seemed to prefer buying expensive new tech that would be underutilized (but still have to paid for via increased charges for everything in future years) rather than keep an endowment/reserve so that they didn’t need to raise prices so much every fucking year. And now hospitals aren’t well-positioned as outpatient and clinic and lower tech choices are proving to be substitutable for inpatient.
        Hospitals are not in a precarious financial position anyway. Whatever issues they are gonna have realigning a squeeze on their income statement to an excessive/inefficient balance sheet has almost NOTHING to do with Medicare. It has everything to do with 40+ years of squeezing customers WAY beyond customers financial ability to keep being squeezed.
        The problem is not some stupid pol talking about Medicare for All. The problem is the LACK of a pol saying We are responsible to taxpayers and beneficiaries and it’s about time we use our group leverage on their behalf. This perpetually excessive medical inflation is OVER. It’s the same thing re higher education – except that the solution in higher education is far easier."

        Please feel free to beat on that stupid son of a bitch every chance you get; he deserves it.

        1. Why do I have to talk to JFree??? Who did I piss off to get that job?

          1. No way you have to 'talk to' that fucking ignoramus, just mock him every chance you get.

            1. I'll pencil him in between Tony and the Hihn socks.

    2. Ran across a CNN "fact" check that confirmed $23b profit in health insurance industry in 2018, up from like $16-17b in 2017. Then they threw in an interesting tidbit that surprised me - not for the information it contained, but the fact that it was included at all: profit margin rose to 3.3% in 2018 from 2.4% in 2017.


      I guess that they figure their audience is too dumb to consider that, or the authors don't realize the implication and just threw that in there to spice things up with another number, because that really puts the insurance vilification into context - and it's ridiculous.

      I've known this for a couple years, having looked it up while debating the issue. At the time (through 2015 I think), average profit margins for:
      A)medical insurance... 4%
      B)commercial hospitals... 8%
      C)nonprofit hospitals... 12%

      I also found that of the 15 most profitable (by margin) industries, 7 were healthcare providers (#1 was accounting with an average of 23 or 24%).
      I'm no fan of the industry, but insurance was always the wrong target; and it wouldn't be a scam without misdirection.
      Progressives want control and a dependent population, so they make the "problem" fit their solution - regardless of where costs really come from.
      It might be noted that the AMA is one of the most powerful lobbies in DC as well

      1. I think medical insurance topped out around 10% average profit margin pre-ACA

        1. It has never been much above 5% that I can ever find.

      2. they make the “problem” fit their solution

        No shit. Try telling your doctor he is billing you too much and don't act surprised when he tells you to set your own fucking broken arm. Or in Biden's case, refuses to refill his Viagra prescription.

    3. That amount is less than the GAO findings of fraud in Medicare alone.

  5. Dems should love profit -- something to tax.

    It's also conservationist -- profit is the difference between what people are willing to pay for a good or service, and what it costs society to produce that good or service. Companies that earn the biggest profits are wasting the fewest resources and providing what people want the most.

    1. Eh, that's GENERALLY true, but there are a enough businesses that use artificial scarcity to prop up their own profit margins (which is antithetical to "providing people what they want most," unless that thing is an expensive product used as a status symbol, then fair enough) that it's "a thing."

      (That's not to say they shouldn't be ALLOWED to do that, just that they do).

      1. "Eh, that’s GENERALLY true, but there are a enough businesses that use artificial scarcity to prop up their own profit margins..."

        Cite, please.

        1. Perhaps he's referring to things like this?

          Straight from the pages of Reason

          1. OK, but that's rent seeking. The business can't create artificial scarcity; they have to enlist the government.

      2. Artificial scarcity? Name one

        1. Pretty much every government regulation is designed to lead to artificial scarcity. Hence the plethora of lobbyists.

  6. 2 Cory Booker
    ... There are too many people profiteering off of the pain of people in America, from pharmaceutical companies to insurers.

    So we're gonna ban opioids!!!

  7. This is the same kind of thought of those Wayfair employees. They're distraught by the conditions in the refugee camps. When they found their company sold products to help furnish the refugee camps...they decided to walk out of work, because how dare they sell their products to someone wanting to help refugees.

    1. Exactly what I thought, they want the illegals to sleep on the ground? Maybe they will all send their next paycheck for Ethan Allen beds for the illegals!

  8. "We have a giant industry that wants our health care system to stay the way it is, because it's not working for families, but it's sure as heck working for them."

    But at least it was much worse before Obamacare, right? Or are they pissing over a signature Democratic achievement?

    1. Obamacare was bought and paid for by the insurance lobby. Check the stocks of the big insurers since passage, up about 800%. Forcing everyone to buy policies with all of the so called "essential services" means everyone buys all coverage whether they need it or not. Very profitable to sell things like maternity, pediatric care, birth control coverage to people beyond child bearing. Likewise to force young healthy people into max coverage plans. You've been duped by the false promise of good intentions sold to you indirectly by those you think you have beaten.

      1. "Obamacare was bought and paid for by the insurance lobby."

        Cite missing.

  9. You missed another couple of screeds against profit. The used code words instead of the word profit. They called it "greed."

    They railed against the greed of the pharmaceutical industry. The greed of the insurance industry. But also the greed of gun manufacturers. And strangely, the greed of the NRA?

    Yes, for some reason they cast the NRA's support of the second amendment as motivated by greed.

    1. Yes. In the private sector, it's called "greed." In politics, it's called "goodwill."

    2. The NRA does kind of look like they care more about money than about supporting the 2A.

    3. Haha. Yeah, when I saw there were only 9 examples of scapegoating listed I thought, wow, they were really holding back last night!

      I did not watch.

  10. Also, this being a libertarian publication, someone needs to take a hard stand on the definition of terms and political philosophy.

    There was a broad swath of candidates over the two nights who repeated their belief that healthcare is a "right." It was actually a pretty consistent applause line for the debate audience. As everyone here knows, this completely misunderstands the difference between rights and needs.

    1. +1

    2. That was the thing that struck me while I was watching. They keep saying "healthcare is a right" and nobody asks them "how so?"

      1. You can't expect NBC/MSNBC's moderators cheerleaders to ask such unseemly questions!!

    3. They also could brush up on the difference between a right and a benefit.

      Here’s a hint: your right cannot cost other people money. You’d think this would not be hard to understand. And this is what gets the left all fired up. If you really believe that you have a right that is being ignored, then you have a grievance. Then you vote for the politicians that falsely tell you that you have a right to have the government force other people to pay for your basic needs. All one has to do is create enough victims and grievance to run for the dem nomination for president. Frickin cynical, man.


      1. "Here’s a hint: your right cannot cost other people money."

        You're preaching to the choir here, but there are commenters who simply do not agree.
        They think if someone 'needs it enough', they can confiscate your property to pay to supply that 'need'.
        BTW, they think they are 'generous' and you are 'selfish'...

    4. Tara Smith defines an individual right as "a moral claim to freedom of action," where by moral she means bioethical and by freedom she means without coercing or being coerced.

  11. Glenn Kessler over at the Post has done a pretty good job of factchecking the debates, and, of course is being crucified for it by the readership.

  12. I'm thinking this is the election for defensive voting. Voting to ensure that what ever F-up the Dems nominate does not get elected.

    We could always follow their example: Vote early, vote often.

  13. Appealing to the self interest of a business to provide you with necessary services may feel dirtier than appealing to the better nature of a government apparatchik, but it is more reliable.

  14. How DARE people get PAID to do WORK!

    The only thing people should EVER get PAID for is voting DEMOCRAT!

  15. Elizabeth Warren
    The insurance companies last year alone sucked $23 billion in profits out of the health care system, $23 billion

    There's about 330 million people in the US. So insurance companies made about $70 per person in profit over an entire year. That's like 2.5 hours of work at the median wage. About 10 hours at minimum wage. So the average person spends more on phone apps than they spend on health insurance industry profits. And I'm supposed to worry about this?

    Warren knows, for a fact, that her target audience is more than just economically illiterate. They also can't (or won't) even do basic math.

  16. […] Here’s Every Single Time Someone Scapegoated Profit During the Dem Debates […]

  17. Beyond the retard partisan rhetoric, do these people really think that profit is bad?

    In the broadest sense, profit means the gain from an activity or investment is more than the cost, and includes non-monetary values. If I plant a bushel of corn as seed, then I hope I get more than a bushel of corn as a crop. Ignoring all the other inputs, getting 2 bushels or more indicates a profitable venture, right? Do progressives really think that is bad?

    1. I don't think you will like the real answer to that question. Do they think profit is bad? Yes, for anyone except themselves. They are the only ones that should enjoy good things, everyone else should be under their heel and doing what they are told.

    2. That's sure teh implication of at least #3. Weird idea that there was $23 million that was "in the health care system" that got sucked out, rather than that $23 billion of value that was never there before got created and profited from.

      But can anyone translate #9 into English? What's she talking about, fines that were taken from international terrorists and smugglers and used to pay for their imprisonment? Where was that money going otherwise?

      1. "But can anyone translate #9 into English?"

        Well, Proggie English:
        "kids are starving, 'cause profit!"

  18. And........ Here's what makes Democrats undeniably so stupid.............

    Every-time we jam more government regulations, plans and procedures into the mix THOSE CORPORATIONS PROFITS JUST GET BIGGER AND BIGGER............... And Healthcare just keeps getting more and more expensive () so...................... Lets lobby for more government healthcare plans -- "as if" government, bookies, agencies and legislation was not only the cheapest (i.e. "next to free") service but actually having the very thought all that extra leg work and monopolizing is actually going to save the people money..

  19. […] Here’s Every Single Time Someone Scapegoated Profit During the Dem Debates […]

  20. There was another socialist irked abt profits, name escapes me but his planks read: "We therefore demand complete confiscation of all war profits. We demand profit sharing in big business. We demand a ruthless fight against those whose activities harm the common good. Traitors, usurers, profiteers, and so forth, are to be punished with death, regardless of church and race. "

  21. Cory Booker - "I have been to some of the largest private prisons, which are repugnant to me that people are profiting off incarceration, and their immigration lockups."

    I can't argue with that; private prisons should be abolished (altho their profits aren't a major issue to me... their mere existence is abhorrent).

  22. These Democrats remind me of old-time Puritan "work ethic", in which you are not allowed to enjoy your profits.

    A long time ago Democrats and leftists were revolted at people 'enriching' themselves in business, instead of investing in the politics of building community and building community acceptance of having and enjoying those profits. They have been reflexively 'anti-profit' ever since.

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