Friday, July 17, 2009

Often I don't understand politics

The thought occurs to me, sometimes, that I just don't understand the political process, or what people are talking about in reference to a political process. Now sometimes, that's because the process itself is incomprehensible, obtuse, meandering, idiotic, or any/all of the above. Sometimes, though, the process seems like it would be straightforward, yet it is not, and I really don't understand why.

Take, for example, nationalizing health care in the US. Obama says he wants to do it, in about a month or so. The Democrats have the majority in both houses of Congress, enough members to override a filibuster, the ability and expressed willingness to use the "reconciliation" process to write whatever legislation they want with no Republican input whatsoever, and have given up on any credible notion of bipartisan anything ("Rahm it through" politics). So why is nationalizing health care seeming to be "hard"?

Maybe it's the money. It's going to cost a few Trillion dollars (at least $1,500,000,000,000 up front per the CBO, and probably another couple Trillion by the time it's actually done), but that shouldn't be a stumbling block: those figures are over ten years, and the Obamanation has already printed/wasted over a Trillion dollars this year alone. Heck, Biden just came out and said you needed to waste money to make money (I guess that passes for economic theory in the Democrat party these days), and the Obamanation is spending without regard so far, so the money problem just doesn't make sense to me.

Maybe it's the quality of care; after all, most countries with socialized health care have long waits for low-quality care, and maybe some people are regretting destroying America's leadership in medical research. However, the people bemoaning that loss are all Republicans, and they don't have any say in "Rahm it through" politics; why would that impede the process? The same goes for the public insurance plan eliminating private plans, practitioners being underpaid, facilities closing, jobs lost, the hit to the economy: all valid concerns, all legitimate complaints about Obama's plan, but all only being voiced by Republicans. I don't see how they would impact the process either.

Maybe it's the new taxes on small businesses, or the escalating high-end tax rates which will be raping the people who try to provide jobs for their fellow Americans? Maybe somebody would clue in to the fact that obliterating a large chunk of our economy during a recession might not be such a stupendous idea? It might be credible, except that again, only the Republicans seem to be expressing the concerns; the sheeple Democrats should be lining up behind their Chosen One and his priests like Polosi, right?

I mean, I'm against nationalized health care as much as everyone else in the country with any functional brain cells, and I'm glad for whatever mysterious process is delaying the "inevitable" descent into socialized medicine, but I just don't understood exactly what's keeping us from falling over the edge. Couldn't the Democraps just pass a simple appropriations bill, then rewrite it during "reconciliation" into the enormous Socialist Manifesto the Chosen One has vowed to "Rahm through" by fall, and have it enacted without debate already? I mean, what's the hold up; if you're going to shred and piss on the Constitution, do it already... the country deserves better than a drawn-out, torturous death at the hands of you despicable villains.


  1. what's the hold up
    I am not an expert on this, but my suspicion is they are taking time to satisfy all their various constituencies who give money they do to get re-elected. Hopefully there are some better reasons too.

    And Now for the Melodrama:
    long waits for low-quality care
    destroying America's leadership in medical research
    eliminating private plans, practitioners being underpaid, facilities closing, jobs lost, the hit to the economy
    raping the people who try to provide jobs for their fellow Americans
    obliterating a large chunk of our economy during a recession

    This is all just pure drama. We’ll end up with something that operates with typical government efficiency, like the Post Office or Social Security. If it’s like Social Security, it’ll lift millions of people out of poverty but be difficult to reform even in areas where it really needs reform.

    We have to wait to see if this gov’t plan destroys America. I think you’re being completely melodramatic. If we revisit this in ten years, America will be doing about the same as now except tiny fraction of GDP that used to flow through private insurers will flow through the gov’t. That’s not desirable, but it won’t be the end of America as we know it.

  2. It's not completely melodramatic, although I concede that there might be some "worst-case scenario" extrapolations involved. However, I was including them in the context of objections over possible outcomes of nationalizing health care, and I do think that's valid: after all, they are all possible outcomes, and several are very likely outcomes, judging by the other countries that have implemented similar systems.

    I don't think this plan alone will destroy the country entirely; at the worst, it will destroy the health care industry and system, destroying the quality of medical care while preserving the enormous cost. All bad things, to be sure, but not enough alone to doom the country. Then again, this is but one of several Obamanation initiatives...

  3. I remember getting overwrought about President Bush the same way or worse than rightwingers are today.

    We need healthcare reform, IMHO, and I would probably prefer the Republicans’ solution better. I’ve maxed out my HSA since the Republicans got it passed and almost certainly will not use gov’t healthcare for me or my family. I wish they had been proposing more reforms along the line of HSA, but with some component to help the poor. Instead they’re working to make sure life is just a smidge more difficult for homosexual people. As an indirect result, we're going to get what we're poised to get. If it’s mediocre but reduces healthcare insecurity for millions of people, I’ll take it as a good thing.

  4. The sad thing CJ is we shouldn't have to settle for something that mitigates the insecurities for all. Maybe this bill could serve as the final cautionary tale for what happens when we play poltics as usual, and I'm talking about both sides here. There are soem great republican ideas out there, but you wouldn't hear it because their instinct is to go on the attack, not to cooperate. Rather than participate in crafting a bill that can help millions of people, they are more concerned with holding firm to party lines to stay in office. And that's the problem. Politics has been for far too long a game a legislative see-saw, with a red year enacting one kind of legislation, and a blue year enacting a different kind. Because we never actually take the time to find a poltical equilibrium, we wind up with bills that need to get signed in 3 weeks or we can kiss the effort goodbye for anohter 10 years.

    Maybe I don't get poltics either...

  5. I've been thinking recently that one of the big problems with politics is that it's kinda designed to produce the sort-of see-saw legislation, rather than actual compromise. Moreover, the way the legislative process is done (with a simple majority) seems to produce the attitude, on both sides, of "get a majority, then Ram through as much partisan agenda as you can". It doubly sucks: we get see-saw partisan crap from both sides, and we get de-facto expansion of government control as both sides push their agendas when they are able.

    I was thinking recently that the system might be a whole lot better if you needed a 2/3 majority to pass anything through Congress (well, and eliminating "reconciliation", and making each side pass the finished bill with 2/3 votes instead of the horrible travesty of process that "reconciliation" is). Sure, you'd get a whole lot less bills coming out of Congress, but the "important" ones (eg: their salary increases) would still be passed, as well as probably any other really essential legislation. The real effect, though, would be that the government wouldn't enact anything that you couldn't get 2/3 of Congress to sign off on, which would usually mean at least some members of both parties. Sure, you'd get a lot less government action too... but I'd consider less government interference an added bonus.

    More thoughts for the next government system for the US, I guess.