Sarah Palin visited the Hannity show last night where she offered her deepest thoughts on Obamacare – which pretty much amounted to reiterating her death panel Lie of the Year for 2009 and egging on the Tea Party to make a “wise decision” and force a government shutdown over defunding Obamacare.
But first, Sean Hannity asked what Palin thought of Howard Dean’s op-ed which Hannity falsely described as “acknowledging” death panels. In fact, Dean’s op-ed, which was supportive of Obamacare overall, suggested getting rid of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) mostly because they don’t control costs, not because they become death panels:
What ends up happening in these schemes (which many states including my home state of Vermont have implemented with virtually no long-term effect on costs) is that patients and physicians get aggravated because bureaucrats in either the private or public sector are making medical decisions without knowing the patients. Most important, once again, these kinds of schemes do not control costs. The medical system simply becomes more bureaucratic.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has indicated that the IPAB, in its current form, won’t save a single dime before 2021. …I believe the IPAB will never control costs based on the long record of previous attempts in many of the states, including my own state of Vermont.
Of course, Palin knew nothing of Dean’s piece. She said, “I haven’t wasted my time on it because I think I and others wasted too much time listening to the liberal pundits a few years ago when they said that was the biggest lie of the year …my claim that death panels were a part of Obamacare.” I guess that’s when journalism major Palin must have given up that onerous chore of reading “all” the newspapers.
That’s common sense. …Congress holds the purse strings. They can unfund anything they want to and that’s how you stop something that is not right, it’s not good, it’s not economic for we the people. So it’s a wise decision for Mr. Lee and others to decide not to budget for something that’s gonna be so burdensome to the American people.
Palin also took a shot or two at the Republican Party "elites" who are against this idea (think Fox colleague Karl Rove). Once again, I wonder how much longer her employment will last at GOP Communications, aka Fox News.
You’ve now reverted back to the idea of not compromising. I’m honestly confused. Either you believe compromise is necessary for governance between rational people or you believe that compromise is a problem to be avoided. I believe the former – I believe that governance is impossible when people refuse to talk to each other. Politicians folding their arms and just saying “NO!” does not constitute governance. It constitutes exactly what it’s been called – obstruction.
The left in the United States has enunciated its principles on more occasions than I could possibly enumerate here. If you are unclear on what those principles are, I recommend you spend some time listening to a radio program called Democracy Now. You can find it on the internet at democracynow.org. If you want to understand a progressive view of the U.S. school system, I highly recommend the writings of Jonathan Kozol, particularly a book called Savage Inequalities. If you were to ask the left, they would tell you that programs they wanted to see have never really been implemented in the United States. For example, the left wanted single payer health care, and the Obama Administration removed the public option from the ACA in an attempt to placate GOP congresspeople who continued their efforts to obstruct it anyway.
It’s strange that the right wing has decided that the Great Society programs from the 1960s were failures. I’ve heard this meme usually coming from Bill O’Reilly as a way of attacking the ability of government to do anything. But there are plenty of success stories from the Great Society. How about Medicare and Medicaid? How about the Voting Rights Act? How about the various Civil Rights Acts?
I appreciate that you’ve acknowledged that Head Start worked. How about the creation of the NEA and the NEH. These are not small things, and it’s really a shame that the right wing seems to think that all of this was a waste of time.
I also find it interesting that the right wing tries to cherry pick the quotations of the earliest national figures of this country as though there is some kind of right wing claim on the birth of the nation. As we’ve discussed, scholars from the left and the right have endlessly debated the intentions of the people who started this country. Scholars from the left and the right continue to debate the meaning of various sections of the constitution, as well as the meanings of various laws and case law findings. Nobody has an exclusive claim on the intentions or wishes of the founders of this country, and it belittles an argument for any pundit to claim that they do.
The notion that the right wing wants “a restoration of American values and principles” is false on its face. The right wing was perfectly happy to trample on American citizens’ rights and values throughout the Presidency of George W. Bush. The idea that the entire country went out the window the moment that Barack Obama became President is silly on its face. The fact is that the policies inflicted under the Bush Presidency (and abetted by Democrats in Congress who did not engage in the obstructionism we’ve seen over the past few years from the GOP) resulted in the inflation of possibly the worst financial bubble I’ve seen in my lifetime. While the Bush people clearly wanted to get out of town before the bubble burst, the whole thing came crashing down on them. So yes, we’ve seen a transformation over the past few years, as the country has struggled to get itself out of a pretty deep mess. I would agree that the Bush Administration policies (and Clinton policies before them) that led to this mess absolutely failed. No question about that. But I wouldn’t blame President Obama for taking actions to try to stem the disaster. I do have an issue with GOP politicians and pundits who chose that moment to try to obstruct solutions – particularly those who were clearly trying to use such a position as a campaign plank.
I find it interesting that the right wing tries to fan a concern about “the growing tyranny of government”. They must be kidding. Is this the same right wing that acted as cheerleaders for the Patriot Act, that supported warrantless wiretapping, that supported a Bush Justice Department that got itself into more trouble than it knew what to do with? Is this the same right wing that wants to tell women what medical choices they are allowed to make regarding a pregnancy and their own bodies? The idea that these people want to preach to the rest of us about the “tyranny of government” is so absurd that it nearly provokes laughter.
I absolutely agree that more bankruptcies like what happened in Detroit are not something most people want to see. But I should note that there are plenty of right wing AM radio hosts who’ve been saying just the opposite. For years now, these people have been advocating for state bankruptcies and city bankruptcies, specifically so that they could throw out all the public employee union contracts and cancel the union pensions. There are people I’ve heard repeatedly call with great enthusiasm for major statewide bankruptcies. Part of this is the libertarian approach of “Why should I pay for public employee pensions?” and part of it is a tactical approach – if you kill the public employee unions, you might do some damage to the Dems and thus help GOP candidates win more races.
I also agree that the world could at any time choose to stop using the US dollar as a basis for international trade. We’ve been hearing for years that everything could go to the Chinese Yuan or something like that. And if that happens, I believe the path toward it will have been greatly accelerated by the GOP politicians who chose that “lock step no” approach in dealing with the financial obligations of the U.S. and triggered that credit downgrade a couple of years back. If ever there was a case of obstructionism, that was it. So yes, we could be looking at a disaster there. But the right wing will not be able to stand back and claim innocence. They will need to step up and take some personal responsibility for their behavior.
Personally, I hope that such a moment does not happen. I hope that GOP congresspeople will decide to do the right thing for the country and not keep putting their partisan ideology ahead of the necessary end result of governance.
The U.S. public school system doesn’t focus on failure. They focus on trying to help all of the students succeed, rather than just giving up on the ones who are having trouble. Your account of the “liberal/teacher union/tenured response” is absolutely false. There’s no two ways about it. What’s actually been happening in California, where I live, is that the schools have been laying off teachers and not hiring replacements, because the state has been in a deficit situation for years. The deficit isn’t the fault of the teacher’s union, and it’s frankly offensive that so many right wingers think it’s good sport to attack teacher unions at every opportunity. The one issue that I’ve had with the teacher union in Los Angeles is just that I’ve seen that as bureaucrats have been phased out of the various administrations (as those really have been cut back whether the right wing wishes to admit it or not), those bureaucrats have tried to jump back into the classrooms, thus displacing other teachers who could have done that work. But that’s a very different argument than trying to deny the legitimacy of having the union in the first place.
The scenario you’re portraying where the parents and students are powerless to deal with a bunch of out-of-control administrators and lazy union teachers is a right wing meme that has nothing to do with the reality. And by the way, the parent isn’t always right about what is best in these situations. I can cite repeated cases I’ve seen where the parent is totally blind to what their child is doing. (“My son would NEVER behave like that!”) In those cases, the teacher who has to deal with the misbehaving child winds up having to surmount both their own school administration and a parent who refuses to discipline their own child. The real problem that’s been hitting these schools isn’t that the teachers are bad or even that the students are bad. In California, the problem is that the budget cuts have caused class sizes to go up and have forced schools to take steps (like furlough days) that take more and more class time away from students, while at the same time limiting the resources available to those students. Throwing money at a problem doesn’t solve it, but neither does taking more money away.
I’m gratified to hear that you had a good upbringing and that your children have done well. Would that all parents could say as much. There are thankfully many parents in the US who could provide similar examples. But that doesn’t address the issue of why we have public schools and why we all contribute to them. In any system, there will always be very good students and very good parents. We look to them as good examples for the rest of us. But the notion of a social contract, particularly as applies to schools, is that we all support a system that works for everyone. We don’t just opt out and withdraw from society when we disagree with one element or another.
And getting back to the topic of this thread, we still have the problem that so many politicians in this country think it’s acceptable to opt out of the process and shut everything down if they don’t get their way. That’s not standing on principle – it’s being childish.
You’re rejecting the notion of a social contract. I understand your position, but again, that’s a libertarian idea that assumes that we’d do better if everyone just acted on their own to fulfill their own wishes. The problem with that entire idea is that in reality, it doesn’t work that way. The notion of a social contract is that we all work together for our mutual benefit. Some people may be better off than others, some people may be able to contribute more than others – that’s all part of the greater equation of how societies pull together.
The philosophy you’re espousing, frankly, is the sort of thing that’s actually tended to result in phenomena like “white flight” from US cities, or the formation of gated communities for wealthier people who don’t want to mingle with more common folk. It’s the philosophy that allows a wealthy person who puts their children in private school to demand that they not have to pay taxes for anyone else to have their kids in public school. (Because this is one of the primary motivators behind the whole school voucher argument in the first place) It’s an extremely divisive philosophy, and it’s quite strange to hear libertarians accuse other people of being divisive – I would think we’re looking at a case of extreme projection here.
I’m heartened that you’ve accepted the notion of compromise, or at least that there are “circumstances that demand compromise”. What we’ve been hearing from Fox News and from many GOP congresspeople is that compromise is inherently an evil, and that people like Ted Cruz should stay with the “lock step no” approach.
You’ve quoted a popular right wing anti-government meme that assumes that government programs “usually speak to the lowest level of success”. You assume that schools’ focus on trying to help the students who are having the hardest times means that they aren’t looking at what leads to successful school work. That’s patently untrue. School policies are designed to help ALL students succeed. Lower level students may be dealing with all kinds of issues that don’t plague more successful students, whether it be dyslexia or other learning disabilities. Some students don’t pick things up as quickly as other students – which is why we have different levels of classes. Schools regularly have the most successful students in advanced classes where they can continue to do well, and the lower level students in classes where they can study at an appropriate pace for them. This doesn’t mean that all students should be in the advanced class, and it doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with a student who isn’t in that class. It just means that the schools work to help all of the kids learn.
You present a false right wing argument about “equality of outcomes vs equality of opportunity”. Any decent school is trying to present equality of BOTH ideas. The school and the teachers want to see all the kids pass with flying colors. And they want to make sure all the kids have the same opportunities. Nobody is trying to get the better students to fail, and it’s a strange right wing position to imply that anyone would.
The comparison to addictive behavior is frankly, a bit offensive. A struggling young student with various issues is NOT the same thing as a drug addict. The former is a person who really is trying to succeed and may need more help than someone who has a greater skillset or a greater natural ability. The latter is a person who is abusing themselves, hurting not just themselves but others.
I don’t believe anyone is arguing that people shouldn’t take personal responsibility for themselves and their actions. On the contrary, I have repeatedly urged for GOP congresspeople to take responsibility for their behavior and stop trying to obstruct everything just to score political points.
You reference that “progressive politicians rely on division, pitting one group against another”. I actually agree with you that there are MANY politicians who do this. This includes some progressive politicians. It also includes some conservative politicians. Neither side of the aisle has a monopoly on divisiveness. But I have to acknowledge that the progressives I have seen stand up for the rights of various ethnic groups, for the rights of women to have a say over what happens to their bodies, for the rights of the poor and the sick not to be trodden upon, have been doing an important service for all of us. There’s a popular right wing meme that unions are somehow inherently a problem and that workers would be better off without them. Right. Without unions, workers would be suffering through horrible conditions and horrible pay. The notion that the better employees would automatically be paid more is frankly ridiculous. The better employees would be more likely just to work, but they wouldn’t be paid any more. Not when companies can say that they can find another ten guys who can do the same job just as well.
I really wish that right wing pundits and the GOP congresspeople they support would be straightforward about their actions. It becomes tiresome needing to constantly untangle the reality of these various feints in the name of “personal responsibility” and “freedom” when the results are very different.
You want death panels? Look at that “voucher” crap. Voucher is a euphemism for eugenics, because it’s a free pass on playing God with who gets what amount. Furthermore, it’s the health care equivalent of a cop telling a rape victim she can vote for his guy, or he says he smells whiskey on her breath. In fact, that comparison is probably a little too apt, consider that Ryan admitted without exact words that vouchers were a way to blackmail people’s vote with their health.
David wrote: “Not just with Obamacare but every nation that has instituted a government run health insurance system has to ration care with “death panels” , bureaucratic regulation that determines the “usefulness” and “value” of a treatment…”
I would add, actually, that it’s the private insurance companies who apply a cost-benefit analysis to the delivery of health care and that their aim is to maximise profits to a bunch of individuals called investors or whatever. Public systems aim rather to make the best possible use of scarce resources. The solution to abuses is not to scrap the system but rather to improve its administration.
I’m over 70 and I’ve never but ever heard of an insurance company that decided not to terminate coverage because the patient needed the care. On the contrary, they terminate it as soon as the law allows them to, as soon as a long-term case comes up. Terry Schiavo is a good example: the insurance company closed the tap, leaving the family on its own. Wasn’t that the decision of a “death panel”? Why pile up on the family instead of the insurance company (or hospital)? Weird.
You also wrote: "…that becomes scarce because it’s “free”. Nothing is ever free except perhaps the love of one’s dog. Those national insurance schemes you decry on principle (I doubt that you know much about them, actually) are paid for through taxes and/or contributions. It’s true that people will abuse of a system if they are allowed to. Scraping the system is like throwing the baby out with the bath water.
What you don’t seem to care about is the fact that national systems cater to everybody, not only the people who can afford health care. The less wealthy in the USA have always been at the mercy of “death panels” in the shape of insurance companies, politicians and individuals with a truly un-Christian attitude: those who constantly act as though they wanted to say: “I got mine and I couldn’t care less about others”.
If push comes to shove, I’ll prefer any system that is equitable and not based on making as much profit as possible for investers. The system that once characterised America for far too long was inhumane. Best health care in the world? Perhaps, but only for those who could afford it. In Europe, even the less wealthy have access to health care and a struggling parent does not have to watch a kid die because he or she couldn’t afford the cost of treating an abcessed tooth.
Totally inhumane … and – I would add – most unChristian.
My issue is with this notion of the libertarian philosophy being presented as something kinder and gentler than what it truly is. My issue is with the notion of rejecting the social contract that we all agree to honor in any community.
And while I understand your agreement with the GOP congresspeople’s positions of “lock step no” to anything that President Obama or the Democrats propose, I simply don’t think that it’s constructive. You may believe that these people are acting out of their “deeply held beliefs” but as I pointed out, it’s a false choice. EVERYBODY is acting out of their “deeply held beliefs” if we’re going to take it from that perspective. But the reality of the U.S. House of Representatives deliberately triggering a downgrade in our credit rating or bringing repeated pointless votes on “killing Obamacare” isn’t to demonstrate anyone’s strong principles. They did these things to try to score political points. They did it because they wanted to be able to campaign on their refusal to work with President Obama and the Democrats. I understand how they feel – I wish the Dems had stood up when it counted during the Bush administration. But they don’t get to say that their obstruction is just them “standing on principle”. Not when people like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are openly stating their intentions here.
Let me guess….‘David’ is young, white and healthy. And ‘David’ has neither compassion nor empathy for anyone other than him(?)self. His world consists of exactly what he has seen or experienced. He reads only what supports his narrow world view. (comparable to viewing the world through a soda straw.) It’s very easy to be right when one has no comprehension of how painful wrong can be.
Kevin, you’re much more patient than I. Personally, I have no use for such people and their libertarian, cheap and hackneyed philosophy. Oh, did I forget to mention selfish?
And the issue we face with libertarian philosophy is that it undermines exactly the notion of “unconditional love” you’re referencing. Libertarian philosophy says that this concept is irrelevant – all that matters is that every man is out for himself and the heck with anyone else. As I’ve stated, it’s a very selfish notion – one that stands in contradiction with people’s supposed Christian beliefs.
It’s interesting that you chose to quote John Adams’ letter from October 1798, written to the officers of the First Brigade of the 3rd Division of the Massachusetts Militia. We should note that this letter wasn’t a formal declaration of policy but instead a discussion of many of the same issues I’ve been raising here. Adams was saying in this letter that it won’t work for a country to assume “the language of justice and moderation while it is practising iniquity and extravagance…” He was, in the line you quoted, discussing that the Constitution wasn’t written for a hypocritical society. Which calls into question the libertarian challenge to a social contract, and means that his quote may have a different connotation than you were thinking. It’s interesting that this quote of Adams regularly gets used by people trying to suggest that there is somehow no division between Church and State in this country, when Adams would never have countenanced such a position.
The libertarian philosophy would have us believe that we have no obligations to anyone other than ourselves, and that there is no such thing as a social contract. Or, in simpler language, it’s everyone for themselves. Like I said, it’s a brutal philosophy, and one that encourages selfishness over community.
But that doesn’t change the fact that a libertarian approach will not result in people having health care or decent schools. And it doesn’t change that turning our backs on our fellow citizens doesn’t make us better, more responsible people – it just means that some people are being selfish.
Limbaugh didn’t scream “I hope he FAILS!” as some kind of carefully created philosophical treatise. It came from the same angry place that his “Operation Chaos” nonsense originated in 2008. Frankly, he said it because he has a personal animus against Obama. He has no respect for him, doesn’t like him and has made this clear probably hundreds of times, if not thousands of times. Now, you could argue that many people on the left did not like or respect George W. Bush, and I’d agree with you on that. And if you’re saying that Limbaugh has a right to dislike this President on that reasoning, you’d actually have solid ground. But it’s a fallacy to say that many people’s dislike of Bush was fundamentally different from Limbaugh’s behavior.
Your statements about “principles that you adhere to you” simply don’t make any grammatical sense. You’re again citing the right wing talking points about the Federalist Papers. You again ignore that there is plenty of scholarly argument about the intentions of the people who wrote our Constitution. You assume that only the right wing positions on this are the correct ones. Most scholars would not be able to go with you there. You cite the Sean Hannity/Bill O’Reilly line about the Great Society. That’s their right wing opinion. Many scholars and statisticians would completely differ with that “failure” assessment. You’re entirely free to think that O’Reilly and Hannity are correct, but this isn’t a matter of cherry-picking statistics you want to see to fulfill a conclusion you’ve already decided upon.
You return to the tried-and-true right wing position of trying to stick up for the small business guy, and you ignore that the other points you’ve been making here totally obviate your latest statement. The idea of everyone being able to have an education, of everyone being able to have access to health care that’s affordable, of everyone being able to share in society is just that – for EVERYONE. It doesn’t work when some people decide that they don’t want to pay for anyone but themselves. And that’s the contradiction that libertarians really should take some time to examine before they begin preaching to others about responsibility.
Your premise about “personal responsibility” regarding health care is a right wing libertarian position. The debate over health care isn’t about your personal relationship with your doctor. Instituting a single payer system in this country would not mean that you couldn’t go to your doctor for a checkup, or be taken to a hospital for treatment. What’s being taken out of the equation is the insurance company middleman and the price gouging, both of which are driving the costs of the health care system in the United States to the point that it has become unsustainable. Your idea about “medical savings accounts” is a pernicious one, and it’s similar to the ridiculous attempt made by the Bush Administration to privatize Social Security in the mid-2000s. For libertarians, the idea sounds great – everyone just pays for their own medical costs, and if you can’t afford it, tough. The problem is what happens when catastrophe strikes. If the right wingers had succeeded with Social Security privatization, then tens of millions of people in this country would have been thrown into poverty with the collapse of the Bush Economy. If people were to follow your “medical savings accounts” idea, the same thing would happen to any person hit with a health care catastrophe.
Your argument about school vouchers is similarly pernicious and ill-informed. You’re also avoiding the real purpose of the GOP voucher initiatives. Just giving a poor urban family (whether they be black, white, Chicano, Asian or whatever ethnicity) a voucher does not mean that this family will be able to afford an expensive private school for their children. The voucher would only provide a small part of that expensive tuition, which the family would then need to cover – likely going heavily into debt, assuming they could even get the child into such a school. So no, those low-income families will not be able to make use of those vouchers. But what would happen without a doubt is that the vouchers would be funded by removing those funds from the public school system, which would finish off the gutting that has been going on for decades.
The problem with the libertarian argument, as we’ve discussed at length on this site, is that it’s fundamentally quite selfish. I’ve heard it succinctly described by Doug Henwood a few months back as “IGMFU”, or to put it politely, “I got mine, heck with you.” It assumes that as a society, we have no obligation to anyone other than ourselves, that we have no ethical or moral consideration other than self-gratification. It’s an unhappy, brutal depiction of this world, and one that thankfully most people don’t share. It’s also in direct conflict with the wholesome Christian values that many of these same right wingers profess to hold.
Your depiction of what the richest people in this world do is sadly inaccurate. You’ve quoted the right wing talking point that assumes that all opportunity for everyone comes from the choices made by wealthy people. That’s statistically and factually not true. Opportunity comes from all sorts of places. Some of it does come from wealthy people employing other people. Some of it comes from companies that have enjoyed government contracts to help them develop their technologies or products until they are profitable on their own. And a big part of it comes from the little guy – the innovator who comes up with a good idea that someone else appreciates. I would think that right wingers would be on the side of the small business guy who comes up with a good idea rather than the wealthy guy who’s trying to monopolize the little guy out of business. But again, this is a contradiction the right wing has never been able to navigate. And the fact is that over the past decade, we’ve seen that wealthy people and institutions in this country have actually been making an effort NOT to provide opportunities here. They offshore their money, they offshore their businesses and they lay off the people in the U.S. you’re saying that they’re going to help. In the past few years, we’ve seen that many of them have been sitting on their funds rather than investing them here. So where are you getting this notion that we should just hope that these guys are going to suddenly start hiring in our local towns and cities?
This whole thing has taught me one thing. Health care needs to be nationalized. Why should a poor kid be denied the exact same quality health care some son of a bank account can? This is the USA. This is dirt simple stuff. I do not agree with placing dollar signs on human life under any goddam circumstances. Why? That one dying person may be me or you or a kid. You can always make more money. You can’t make another you or me or that one kid.
GOP congresspeople haven’t just been opposing legislation based on “deeply held principles” by any means. It’s been part of a publicly announced strategy that began at the time that President Obama was inaugurated in 2009. You remember, don’t you? When Karl Rove and various others held a conclave in Washington D.C. and decided on a political strategy to say NO to everything that President Obama and the Democrats did? You remember, the strategy that began with Rush Limbaugh screaming “I hope he FAILS!” and continued with multiple GOP pundits and politicians all announcing that President Obama “had failed”. Or maybe you also forgot Mitch McConnell publicly announcing that the priority for GOP Senators was to make sure that President Obama didn’t get re-elected. Or perhaps you forgot about the GOP invoking every possible parliamentary trick, even when legislation has been adapted for them (such as removing the public option from the ACA to placate the GOP), not because of “deeply held principles” but because of a desire to simply gum up the works and then campaign on it. Unless your definition of “deeply held principles” refers to craven political ambition. My definition has to do with trying to do what is good for the country, not necessarily what is good for one party. The GOP members frantically decrying “compromise” today should really think about that, if they want to be considered to have any principles at all.
Now, you’re not trying to argue for an abolition of federal income tax, are you? Are you aware of why it was created in the first place? Are you aware of why we have taxes in our states, cities and for the federal government in the first place? Or do you subscribe to the notion that there should be no taxes and everyone should just fend for themselves? So people that have money can pay for their own police, firefighters, schools, etc, right? And everyone else, well, they’ll just understand, won’t they?
Your attempt to invoke the “views of the founders and the framers” is an interesting one. Scholars on the left and the right can each point to different aspects of the writings of Thomas Jefferson and others that support each of their positions. But it’s also clear that the Constitution was intended to be a living, breathing document. Living conditions in this country were very different in 1776 than they are today – unless you’re advocating for a complete return to societal norms of 1776. You do recall that this included slavery, right?
Your arguments about National Health Care are the usual right wing talking points, unencumbered by the reality. You forget that countries all over the world make use of a single payer system, which eliminates the need for the insurance company middleman – which adds tremendous and unnecessary costs to the system. If your note about paying people less means that we don’t have wildly overpriced drugs that bankrupt the patients or overcharge everyone, then yes, drug companies will no longer be able to gauge us under that kind of system. That’s not a bad thing at all. But let’s try it the other way. Do you seriously think the US health care system, with the skyrocketing costs of the medication and the inability of tens of millions to get coverage, is a sustainable one? How long do you think such a system can work before it crashes? The point of single payer is to take care of EVERYONE, not just the people with the most money. Is it your position that only wealthy people should be able to receive decent health care and that others should just go the E.R., as our system currently operates? Do you really think this is a good idea? I refer you to the above paragraph regarding income tax.
As for Newt Gingrich’s tantrum shutdown in 1995 (and 1996), you’ve unfortunately only cited the right wing talking points regularly stated by people like Rush Limbaugh. Let’s look at the facts, please. In his own book, Newt Gingrich admits that his own comments about the shutdown were “the single most avoidable mistake” in his tenure as Speaker, as he reframed the issue himself as being about some kind of a personal snub rather than a policy difference. (I would argue that Gingrich has made plenty of completely avoidable mistakes during his career, but that’s a story for another day…) You forget the impact that the shutdown had on the 1996 election, which saw Bill Clinton sail to an easy win over Bob Dole, who was perceived as being in conflict with Gingrich. (And this was an early precursor to the current civil war raging within the GOP) The GOP talking point about gaining two Senate seats forgets what actually happened in those Senate races. It wasn’t the shutdown that allowed Jeff Sessions, then known as the Attorney General of his state, to win his seat. It wasn’t the shutdown that allowed Tim Hutchinson to defeat the Attorney General of Arkansas – it was the resignation of the Democrat Governor Jim Guy Tucker over his mail fraud that helped Hutchinson. The one upset you could point to is Chuck Hagel’s win in Nebraska, but I suppose you’ll tout the current GOP line about how Hagel isn’t a serious GOP politician since he was appointed to a cabinet position by President Obama. You also forget how Tim Johnson, a Democrat, was the only Senate candidate that year to beat an incumbent and win a seat.
Your account of Clinton’s “kicking and screaming” is a fun GOP talking point, but it’s belied by the actual history. You could look at any number of books and accounts of what happened to disabuse you of the notion you’re trying to foment. You forget that Clinton pledged in his 1992 campaign to “end welfare as we have come to know it”. He signed the PRWORA, even though he thought it was more conservative than he preferred, as it would fulfill that pledge and be a good step for him during an election year. (I note that most people on the left had extreme problems with many decisions made by Clinton, and this was a big one.) Your right wing talking point about President Obama having somehow undone this legislation has a distinction I don’t think you wanted to attach to your argument – that talking point got a memorable “Pants on Fire” when Mitt Romney tried it last year. You didn’t want to use a completely discredited and debunked talking point, did you?
It’s nice that you believe that “lock step no” isn’t obstruction. By its very definition, of course, “lock step no” is absolutely obstruction. It’s the very definition of it. Refusal to compromise is a pledge to not practice governance at all. You’re actually saying “Give me everything I want or I’m taking my bat and ball and going home!” It’s the sort of thing that parents teach their children NOT to do, and it’s truly a shame that today’s pundits and politicians don’t seem to understand. We present our children with a society where our politicians make public statements that they will refuse to work with each other and refuse to get anything done unless they get their own way, and then people are surprised when their kids grow up to be selfish and unable to socialize with others. It’s sad to see someone who claims to have “deeply held principles” arguing for a situation that negates the very underpinnings of those principles.
As for the legislative threat in your final line, I wouldn’t be throwing those around if you’re planning on a successful campaign in 2014 or 2016. Do you really intend for your candidates to have the position of “We said NO to everything! Vote for NO!”? I honestly don’t see how this helps the GOP get over its internal discord or regain its credibility in the eyes of a majority of this country.
Firstly, private and employer insurers also control access to care. It’s naive to think they don’t. One thing you seldom hear under a national health scheme is the question: “Will my insurance cover this?” Nor will you have the massive co-pays about which I’ve read countless complaints in US papers. (“My insurance covered my wife’s delivery but I still had to pay $5,000.”) A national health system may control access based on availability whereas a “free market” system (inasmuch as there can be a free market when you have a heart attack or a car accident) controls access based on your ability to pay.
Secondly, as mlp said, Republicans have been very short on policies that would work. Health savings accounts? May help you take responsibility for your care for routine things like a cold or a nagging backache, but for really serious illnesses or accidents you’d need catastrophic insurance too.
Finally: “death panel” is a loaded scare word. I wish people would stop using it but I guess they are using it because it IS a loaded scare word.
@ David Watkins:
“Facts are that since 1913 with the introduction of federal income tax the US has seen a steady increase in centralization of power in DC, and as a matter of principle some of us want to reverse that trend.”
TRANSLATION: you want to establish a libertarian paradise.
In that case, feel free to move to Somalia:
- no recognized gov’t
- no taxes
- no national healthcare
- plenty of guns
Maybe David can furnish some samples of that ‘policy that would work’?
Palin used an outrageous phrase because she thought it would rile up her base, not because she had any idea whether it was accurate. You appear to have believed her, and that’s your right. But it doesn’t make you or her correct.
If the GOP really does want to play the shutdown gambit YET AGAIN, I’d say they should absolutely do it. If they really believe their own story about how great it was for them in 1995, then heck, let’s see how they do this time. I’m sure that the voters will let them know next year what they think of that behavior.
As for your false argument about GOP obstructionism, you must have missed all the various forms of it over the past 4 1/2 years. You must have missed all the lock-step NO votes the GOP has cast. You must have missed all the judicial positions the GOP congresspeople have refused to do their job to help fill. You must have missed the moment where the GOP House scuttled an ordinary debt ceiling increase and caused the country’s credit rating to be downgraded. I have to ask if you’ve actually been paying attention to the behavior of the GOP throughout this Presidency.