Monday, February 01, 2010


As far as I'm concerned, President Obama's high point last week wasn't the State of the Union address, competent but not his best work.  It was that little confabulation he had with the Republicans, where he sat down and talked to them as if they were rational human beings.  (Which has to be an example of "hope springs eternal.")

Now he needs to have the same conversation with the Democrats.  Because the problems afflicting political discourse in this country come from both parties. 

1 comment:

  1. I think the simplest way to summarize this health care divide--which is currently what all the "difference" is about between the two parties, is as follows:

    Socialized medicine has only worked in places where national budgets aren't overwhelmed by deep military expenditures and the rich aren't coddled and catered to.

    No matter how rich you think America is--and it's been getting a lot less rich over the last three decades--on a comparative scale, than it has been for at least the last century and a half--it can't have guns and butter in unlimited quantities. We have to be willing to give something up to get Cadillac health care. Don't talk to me about cost efficiency and preventative medicine and how taxes really aren't that high, etc., etc.

    In order for socialized medicine to work, we have to be willing to allocate something like 40% of our national budget towards premium-free, universal lifetime coverage, without tiered levels. That would require a commitment on a scale that no one yet has been willing to address. It would mean we wouldn't be able to sustain a standing, fully-equipped military of the size we presently expect (and enjoy).

    The health services and insurance industries take large profits out of the system, no doubt about it. But even at the obscene levels of incentive, there isn't enough "room" in what is skimmed off, to imagine that this could "make up the difference" between what is actually provided, and what everyone seems to think we "ought" to be entitled to (IMHO).

    Republicans, whose very political life seems to depend on the support they receive from corporate interests (via lobby etc.) can be expected to reliably block any attempt to knock down the present structure of things. Not because they have a better idea, but because they've been bought off.

    Nevertheless, it needs to be acknowledged that despite this impasse, an unbridled national health insurance program is unaffordable within the context of national and international priorities we've been operating in, over the last century or so. I.e., we can't be the world's managers and enforcers without sacrificing, for instance, our desire to have universal coverage. The equation just doesn't allow it. And, as our national product (and wealth) deteriorates, this will be more true with each passing year, well into the foreseeable future.