The Talking Dog

March 20, 2010, Sportsmanship

As our esteemed members of Congress meet this weekend to do what Bill Clinton could not get done, and (perhaps) pass a bill called "health care reform," the Tea Party movement just wants you to know that they are incredible sports. If "health care reform" actually passes Congress and is signed into law, our Tea Party movement friends just want us to know that they don't really mean the thing about gun violence... it's, you know, a rhetorical device.

Honestly, I don't much like the basic "reform" myself. The basic bill, as I understand it, quite literally forces people by law to buy a terrible and defective service that shouldn't even exist (and indeed, a service that takes people's money and then defrauds them by refusing to provide them with actual "coverage" when it is most needed should itself be against the law). Instead, people who can't afford it will be forced to buy it, if necessary, subsidized by taxpayer dollars. This is not like the compulsion of automobile insurance-- one is not obliged by law to own a vehicle, and one can make the lifestyle choice of living somewhere where a vehicle is not necessary (admittedly, that's pretty much only the City of New York, but our fair city, for all its myriad flaws, is nonetheless the only place in America really worth living in, if I don't say so myself, and unlike "the choice" not to have health insurance, which will be taken away, you will have "the choice" to live here.) But to complete the analogy, health insurance these days is the equivalent of a "service" that will pay for oil changes, but not for damage in the event of an accident.

Still, at least the sentiment is quite clear: a country as rich and powerful as ours is not "supposed to" allow tens of millions of people who work God damned hard enriching some of our most powerful and otherwise socially destructive enterprises, to suffer from treatable medical conditions. A similar sentiment accompanies our food and housing subsidies, i.e., a country as rich and powerful as ours is not "supposed to" allow tens of millions of people who work enriching some of our most powerful and otherwise socially destructive enterprises, to suffer from hunger and/or homelessness. The Tea Party's sentiments on all of these subjects is the same: they work hard themselves, doing whatever it is they do... whatever that might be... and they'll be damned if their hard-earned money were used to prop up the welfare queen lifestyles of dark-skinned people. There. It's as simple as that.

So-called "progressives," and indeed, anyone without their head up their ass, comes to an interesting cross-roads here. The Obama Administration, whose election we supported, has betrayed us on virtually every value we hold dear, including of course, its version of "health care reform," that rather than do the only fair and sensible thing in this area, i.e. take steps to destroy the health "insurance" industry through such essential measures as eliminating the croupier function of permitting basic medical services such as routine office visits and common procedures to be covered at all (thereby destroying the only :cost containment" measure possible, that by the person receiving the service) and permitting only catastrophic coverage, and that extraordinarily regulated, instead, gives us a "reform" measure that not only proposes to continue the untenable system that already consumes 1 in 6 dollars spent in our entire economy (and growing... hopelessly), and compels everyone to be part of the folly, and provides yet more tax dollars to feed the beast.

And yet, we still know that some kind of "reform" is essential, and that it is an unforgivable national sin to allow millions of people not to have some means of paying for health care (as all other people in every other industrialized country have, as a matter of right.) And we know that it's "now or never" on this.

And yet we know that just as Obama blew it on banking reform (thereby insuring a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, only this one probably more devastating), and he blew it on GTMO/state/secrets/torture, etc. (thereby insuring a slow slide into totalitarianism... or perhaps not so slow), and he is doing his share to keep our twin Asian wars of aggression ongoing... we also know that the President's personal intervention was to see to it that there was no public option, that there was no Medicare buy-in, or indeed, no particular "reform" in the "health care reform" worthy of the name. It seems that this "reform", like the rest of the Obama program, will be insanely beneficial to the financial industry (which includes the insurance industry) who has owned the President for years (and for whose benefit he has single-mindedly devoted his Presidency)... at the expense of the rest of us.

The irony, of course, is that if the Tea Party movement were actually "rational," that is, itself motivated by anything other than racism (not to mention funded by plutocracy to masquerade as a "grass roots" movement)... I'd actually have sympathy with its position on this particular "reform." I am reasonably sure that this "reform" will "solve" little, at great cost, with yet more billions flowing to the usual recipients (hint: it ain't us,)

But that's just me. In the meantime ... come to think of it, I got nothin'. This has been "Sportsmanship."