Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Before the reception that beckons in the "Petit Salon" below, a couple of items for you to chew on.
President Obama says that we are "on the precipice" of enacting health care reform. I daresay, but I'm a bit surprised that he also thinks it is a leap into the dark.
Meanwhile, in the identification of good guys and bad guys, Ezra Klein names his heroes. You can say this about Ezra, his love of the Congressional "process" is almost touching.
...and we all know what happens when you step off a precipice.
Elections matter. The bill will give us, at worst, tyranny and at best, mediocrity. The Washington Post should restrain their enthusiasm.
I had hoped on retiring from medicine sometime in the next two years...now it is increasingly clear that it will retire from me.
Back in the 1970s I spent some time working in Algeria. I attended a lecture given by the Minister of Agriculture who began his talk by saying "Two years ago we were at the edge of the precipice. Since then we have taken a great step forward."
I think Obama is channelling him....
Jonathan Bush aptly described Klein, Brown et al the other day as "infants with Uzi's". They have no idea what they're doing, but they can still hurt you (and badly). Klein's hero's don't include a single person with experience in the private sector. It's people like these that frightened the founding fathers so long ago, and frighten me now.
Obama will be on ABC tonight with Charlie Gibson. I took a look at the pre-released transcript, which you can get here.
Obama literally says that if we don't pass Healthcare, the federal government will go bankrupt. Not since National Lampoon threatened to shoot that dog on its cover, have I heard a funnier threat.
Here's a another interesting statement from Obama: "I wanted to make sure that [Healthcare] was deficit-neutral. Now, according to the Congressional Budget Office analysis, not only is this deficit-neutral, but it actually reduces the deficit, something that somehow has gotten lost in the debate."
Isn't it "deficit neutral" only because it 1) will raise taxes on high earners, 2) force young people to buy policies that aren't age-risk adjusted, 3) uses ten years of revenue but only seven years of outlays, and 4) has shunted a few hundred billion of expense to the side to be covered by "cuts to be named later."
There's a personal tell from Obama about his interest in Healthcare: "This will be the single most important piece of domestic legislation that's passed since Social Security. ... seven presidents and seven Congresses failed to get this done." Obama wants that A-.
Interestingly Obama admits that: " ... we have a structural deficit. We take in 18 percent of gross domestic product in taxes, and we spend 23 percent. " He's intent on making it 29 percent.
Lastly, no surprise that Charlie Gibson didn't ask any hard questions about any of this. Gibson instead focused on how it hard it must be to herd 60 cats, which Obama of course blamed on the Republicans.
Saints preserve us, Mad As Hell ...
Bernie Sanders says he won't vote for it. Howard Dean says "No!".
And now, the intellectual lodestar of the crazy side of American statist thought weighs in: Keith Olbermann, with victory so close (the bill will give the federales control of all aspects of insurance contracts, massively increases taxes and income transfers and, in a first ever move, requires an individual mandate), goes negative on the bill.
"They must now not make the defeat worse by passing a hollow shell of a bill just for the sake of a big-stage signing ceremony. This bill, slowly bled to death by the political equivalent of the leeches that were once thought state-of-the-art-medicine, is now little more than a series of microscopically minor tweaks of a system which is the real-life, here-and-now version, of the malarkey of the Town Hallers. The American Insurance Cartel is the Death Panel, and this Senate bill does nothing to destroy it. Nor even to satiate it.
It merely decrees that our underprivileged, our sick, our elderly, our middle class, can be fed into it, as human sacrifices to the great maw of corporate voraciousness, at a profit per victim of 10 cents on the dollar instead of the current 20."
I wish this actually had some political meaning, and that some Senator from some lefty blue state would actually take heed! Yes, yes, please: Vote against this bill! Senator's Webb and Nelson-- you now have cover from the left, and you've always had cover from the right. Vote this monstrosity down!
What the heck, no one wants to live forever and, as Dr. Tom Coburn points out, perhaps we should support the bill since it will help older and sick people along the road to a less expensive end.
Just kidding. Vote no, Senators!