Deep Inside of a Parallel Universe

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75 Responses

  1. Avatar Will says:

    OK, so I have some issues with this post. But that’s a great Sliders reference.Report

  2. I disagree somewhat strongly with the Donkeylicious post because it falls into the fallacy of assuming that the GOP Congressional leadership’s interests are perfectly aligned with the interests of the GOP backbenchers. I am, frankly, quite certain that you could pass a very good health care bill with 40-45 Democrats and 15-20 Republicans, none of whom need be in the GOP leadership.

    I can’t really disagree with the rest of your post. The concept of a nihilistic GOP writ large is, I think, exactly what happens when you have a political coalition that has no common ideological priorities beyond “we’re not liberals.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but nothing to me more demonstrates these failings better than the fact that Bob Bennett has been targeted for a primary challenge for no reason other than his willingness to co-sponsor a bill that, by just about any measure – liberal or conservative – would have been preferable to the Baucus plan, HR 3200, or any other leading health care bill.

    It seems to me that it’s all well and good for conservative wonks to suggest alternative approaches that would better fix health care. This is an indisputably good thing and should be encouraged. But you’re right that this is just an “intellectual exercise” at best, and an attempt to derail reform at worst, if the wonks’ arguments are being addressed to persuade liberals and Democrats rather than to push GOP pols and conservatives to care about health care reform and engage in the debate.Report

    • Avatar Ryan in reply to Mark Thompson says:

      I disagree with you that that would actually happen, but at the same time it would be interesting to see what the Senate would look like if we radically altered the committee/leadership systems.Report

    • Avatar Ryan in reply to Mark Thompson says:

      Erm, I meant to quote this: “I am, frankly, quite certain that you could pass a very good health care bill with 40-45 Democrats and 15-20 Republicans, none of whom need be in the GOP leadership.”Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Mark Thompson says:

      There is no doubt that the bill you would like to have seen would not have been advanced by Democratic committee or caucus leaders, so it was DOA, and you have every right to say therefore the Dems are responsible for passing a bill you don’t like. But can you show that there would be majorities in the relevant committees in this Congress for your silver-bullet bipartisan health reform bill even if it were introduced by the relevant chairmen? Simply suggesting the numbers are there in the Senate at large (to say nothing of the House, where a critical mass are holding out even against the bill that probably will come out of the Senate) does not deal with the legislative process we actually have.Report

  3. To probably over-simplify Republican opposition to Democrats’ designs on healthcare, it all really comes down to a simple fact: none of us believe that Democrats will stop here.

    The reality is that (generalization coming) most liberals want universal healthcare. If you can get them to be honest for 5 minutes and drill down they will usually admit that they see this as the first battle in a long war that will ultimately have us end up looking like the nordic models they love. So while a lot of conservatives/Republicans, myself included, know the system needs overhauling and would love to see improvements on a variety of fronts, we just don’t trust the other sides’ intentions at all. So I think in that respect our opposition is not only justified but pretty understandable, even if the senate majority leader calls us evil.

    This is no different than liberal opposition to social security reform, which they believed would be the first step towards a completely private system (and they were right) and their opposition to abortion limits which they believe would be the first step towards an eventual repeal of Roe v. Wade (they are less right there, but I understand their concerns).

    I wish liberals would have just gone for the brass ring on the first run and let the American people decide if they wanted our healthcare system to remain private or move towards a European model. of course they would have gotten no Republican support, but how is that different than the way things are now? And a real referendum on liberal ideology would be enlightening for the rest of us.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

      Mike, I’m not sure if you are being sloppy with your words. It is not under any contention that L’s want universal health care. That has been said approximately a kjillion times. What you are scared of is what people call socialized health care.

      Directly to your point, you are incorrect. Liberals are all over the place on what we think the best health care system would be. Some do want a nationalized system akin to the NHS in England, but not in any way to all. Even the much admired northern European systems vary greatly. They simply are not government controlling everything.

      It is sadly true that believing the other side is lying does make it impossible to have good faith negations. Maybe that is more about the cynicism of our age and the push my conservative media to demonize liberals.

      The best way to prevent the evil health system you fear is to create a good health system. R efforts have been aimed at destroying any sort of reform, not making a good plan. As has been said before, the R’s had plenty of time to try their own health care reform. D’s and L’s have been talking about it and running on it for years and are making good on the pledges they have made.Report

      • Greg,

        I’m sure you are correct that there is a wide-range of opinions on health care on the Left. I’m not sure what the % breakdown is of those folks, but that’s not the point. The point is that conservatives believe the universal healthcare proponents won’t stop here.

        Back to my counter-point: As someone who is fiercely pro-life I would be stupid to not get behind an effort to end all 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions. After all, saving some lives is better than saving none. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want more when 90% of abortions are in the 1st trimester. So yeah, I’d take the 2nd and 3rd trimester bands..and then I’d start lobbying for more. There are certainly going to be liberals who would do the exact same thing if they get a public option through. When the President is on record as supporting single-payer in the past, it’s not hard to imagine him getting on board again.Report

        • Avatar Ryan in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          That’s a pretty nice argument in favor of no one ever compromising ever. Which is a really nice way to completely destabilize a democratic system. Which is what the GOP is currently doing.Report

          • Avatar ChrisWWW in reply to Ryan says:

            It’s called the Slippery Slope fallacy.

            Instead of worrying about what future legislators might do, we should focus on what is being proposed now.Report

            • So then why do liberals oppose any restrictions on abortion? Not trying to hijack the thread here, but isn’t this what both sides do? We fight not against the current legislation but against the worst possible scenario.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                Good point there Mike. Yes. That’s exactly why Democrats fight Republicans on Abortion restrictions. There really isn’t any trust on either side.Report

              • It’s hard to have bipartisanship when the party in power says, “I wouldn’t trust you guys with my life..but hey, you should totally trust us.” It was that way from 1996-2008 and not much has changed in the last 9 months.Report

              • Avatar Bob Cheeks in reply to North says:

                North, you’re right! That’s why the commie-dems can’t be dealt with and must be stopped at all cost. This, I’m afraid is America’s Salyer’s Creek. The commie-dems live in a “second reality,” a Voegelinian favorite that defines a Marxist dreamworld and that, palsy, is the problem.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                Come now Bob. The Republicans are just as dishonest and incrimentalist as the Dems are. So they also must be stopped at all cost. The good news is each party is trying to stop the other dead in its tracks. The bad news is that small sensible incrimental reforms are DOA because of the adversarial attitude between the sides.Report

              • Avatar Bob Cheeks in reply to North says:

                North, the stupid -party hasn’t a clue. It’s simple as that!Report

              • Avatar North in reply to North says:

                Bob, the problem is they’re both the stupid party!Report

              • Avatar Ryan in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                I’m sorry, what? Should I make you a list of every Democrat who voted for the partial-birth ban? Should we go over the list of Democrats who favor parental consent laws? Both lists will feature more than one name, which is how many Republicans will be on the list of health care reform supporters.

                I mean, there are lots of other ways your point is utterly preposterous too. The final health care reform bill will almost certainly expressly disallow federal funding of abortion services – which is the current law of the land as well – and a good number of liberals will still vote for it. Oddly enough, those liberals are willing to compromise to get other things they want, which is precisely what neither conservatives nor Republicans will do.

                I hear this argument – “Well, the other side does it too!” – all the time, but it remains the case that Democrats manifestly *don’t* behave this way. Which is what makes the Republican Party even more of a disgrace.Report

              • “Should I make you a list of every Democrat who voted for the partial-birth ban? Should we go over the list of Democrats who favor parental consent laws? “

                What’s that, 1%? 2% of abortions? Yay, Democrats!

                “I hear this argument – “Well, the other side does it too!” – all the time, but it remains the case that Democrats manifestly *don’t* behave this way. “

                Keep telling yourself that ; )Report

          • It might be nice – but there’s no denying that’s how both sides view each other in virtually every debate that comes up. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle and legislation is often incremental.Report

        • Avatar Ralf in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          As someone who is pro-choice but VERY uncomfortable with abortion past 18 weeks, I might support efforts to limit abortion up to that point, and recognize that diligence is needed to protect early-pregnancy abortion.

          Should I totally freak out and oppose any limitations on abortion because some day they could lead to a total ban – even though many adults feel like me that there IS a big difference between early and late abortion? No.

          Likewise, millions of people want health care reform. But we’ve been hobbled in our choices because the R’s put forward no reasonable alternatives.

          As Ray Suarez pointed out on local radio in MN yesterday, when you have Mitt Romney who passed healthcare reform in Massachusetts out demagoging against it at the Fed. level, it is not a serious, informed discussion.Report

    • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

      Mike –

      I agree with you that (generally) most liberals would prefer universal healthcare, though I’d quibble with the idea that this is some secret they’re being dishonest about. I’ve heard both liberal pundits and Congresspeople (see Barney Frank’s townhall meeting on YouTube) state as much before acknowledging that the policies currently being developed are the best they can get under the legislative realities of the moment. This is what makes what the Democrats are doing not just an “interesting intellectual exercise” but an attempt at governance. Their intentions are to show success with these compromises in order to move the political realities closer to what they really want and I don’t think those intentions are hidden. So is it that you don’t trust the intentions or is it that you don’t trust that they won’t be able to show successes that move the issue even further to the left?

      My problem with slippery slope arguments is that (generally again) issues don’t slip in a direction where the people aren’t inclined to want to go. Policy success dictates whether or not further movement in that direction is possible. If the right could demonstrate successes with their policies, I believe things would slip the other way. But they’ve got to get the policies enacted and the policies have to work for people and until that happens it is all just theory.Report

      • You make good points, but the worry is that with even a public option the insurance companies could be driven out of business which would make the move to single-payer just a formality.Report

        • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          All the versions of the public option I’ve seen present it as a basic program. If private insurance companies can’t develop products to compete with a public option in the same way that private universities compete with state schools or FedEx competes with the USPS, shouldn’t they be driven out of business?Report

          • So if a private company can’t compete with a massively subsidized option, they deserve to be out of business? Isn’t that the exact opposite of what most liberals tell small farmers?Report

            • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

              Private companies likely won’t be able to compete with a subsidized basic plan. But, the public option won’t offer a Cadillac plan or it will fail to drive down costs and the slippery slope will no longer incline in that direction. There will always be a market for a bells and whistles kind of policy and that market will likely be more profitable than the one for basic plans.

              Small farmers who try to sell the same carrots as agri-business can’t compete, but they are finding markets for what big farms can’t produce well, such as organics and heirloom foods. Private universities sell themselves on smaller classroom sizes, unique programs and other features not available at big subsidized schools.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

              Ahh ahh ahh! It’s what Republicans tell small farmers too Mike. Agricultural protectionist bullshit pork is a bipartisan project.Report

    • The problem is that even if you accept the slippery slope argument as valid in this instance, that is just all the more reason for the GOP to be directly engaged in the health care debate rather than just shooting from the sidelines. At this point, just about everyone agrees that health care reform is a necessity, and definitely all 60 Senate Democrats agree with that baseline statement. Not everyone agrees that universal coverage or health care, and definitely not nationalized health care, is the right direction in which to go for reform. But by abdicating any affirmative responsibility for the final outcome, the GOP effectively insures that the best it can do is limit the amount of slip on the slope rather than potentially building an entirely separate slope that can’t and won’t slip, and may even work well enough that it will prevent the need for any further health care reform in the future.Report

      • If all 60 Democrats agreed to take the public option off the table I think you would see more than a few Republicans play ball. But you can’t do that when you have *ssholes like Charles Schumer who won’t shut up about the public option.

        Are Republicans asking too much? Maybe. But if you recall in 2005 Democrats refused to even discuss social security reform until private plans were taken off the table. Now Republicans are being accused of being unreasonable for essentially holding the same line.Report

        • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          The difference with Social Security was that the Democrats were arguing that the status quo (though not ideal) was preferable to privatization. They were able to make the case that Social Security was not irreparable, so it was acceptable to leave it unchanged. Republicans are now in a place where they are trying to argue that the status quo is unacceptable, but somehow it is still preferable to not change it. That is what is making their position unreasonable.Report

          • Democrats admitted in 2005 that the system was not sustainable.Report

            • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

              They also asserted that sustainability was achievable through small changes rather than wholesale reinvention of the popular program through privatization.

              If the status quo for healthcare in the United States was popular AND the Republicans were offering small changes that would make things even better, they would have a reasonable position from which to challenge the Democrats planned reforms. Unfortunately for them, neither of those conditions are true.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          Check the polling on the two issues and you’ll find out why one group is bending over backward by offering a mere public option rather than single-payer, and the other was simply in fantasy-land on privatization the whole time.Report

        • A few things, though. First, the public option is a relatively new entry into the health care debate, and is in fact a compromise in and of itself. But it’s the sort of compromise that arises from an attitude of “if we push single-payer now, the GOP will kill us and we’ll get nothing passed, but if we just do a half-assed step towards single-payer, maybe we can get something passed.” In other words, it’s the sort of compromise that you get when one party is unwilling to discuss reform at all and is just going to try to shoot everything down from the sidelines. But if the GOP were actually interested in reform, the public option never would have needed to be on the table in the first place.

          2. Sure, some knucklehead Dems are insisting on the public option or nothing, but most view it as a relatively low priority in terms of actually fixing the system’s most immediate problems. If you read the liberal wonks in particular, they’re quite open about their willingness to discard it.

          3. Related to point 1, it’s too late in the game to say “drop the public option, and we’ll be willing to talk.” The time to say that was months ago, when Democrats were still trying to figure out who they had to make deals with to get things done. Now it’s too late, though. The Dems have the votes to push something through with or without a handful of GOP votes. To take the public option off the table as a precondition to negotiation with elements of the GOP at this point would be to undo the work they’ve done so far and force the building of a new coalition at the very moment when they’ve got the support to pass something that they, rightly or wrongly, sincerely believe will improve the health care system.

          4. SS Reform is in many ways a good analogy. But look at the result: no reform got passed at all. The Dems were pretty much okay with this, because for the most part, there wasn’t much of a national consensus that SS Reform was a pressing issue at all. The only people who cared that SS Reform was blocked, in the end, were the Republican base. But here, plenty of people outside the Dem base will care if health care reform is blocked entirely because there already is a growing national consensus that it’s a big problem in need of a near-immediate solution.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Mark Thompson says:

            Agree obviously with everything here, Mark. Except that all that you say after “SS reform is a good analogy” is exactly why it is not a very analogy. It is an analogy, though, I’ll grant that and as such at least somewhat useful, if only by way of seeing how the situations differ.

            The other thing I’d add on the point of R’s playing ball: are we really to believe it is the public option uniquely that keep them in total opposition? Do Dems have any way of saying no to the next thing that is demanded as a price for a nominal number of Republicans once they have given up a major sticking point for their base?

            And last thing: it remains entirely possible that the public option still does get axed. So you point about this being not just a matter of negotiation but of precondition is extremely apt.Report

        • Avatar Ryan in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          Um, the public option is one of the most popular parts of health care reform. Republicans are certainly allowed to completely disregard the will of their constituents if they want (I’m looking especially at Snowe and Collins, whose constituents *overwhelmingly* want the public option), but it seems like a really stupid way to govern.Report

          • Some say that…but here is some interesting info from Rasmussen:

            “Overall, nationwide, 32% of voters favor a single-payer health care system. But when it comes to health care, 51% fear the government more than they fear insurance companies.”

            So yeah – they like the public option, but I guarantee if you dig deeper they are thinking of it in terms of a Plan B in case they get fired or laid off and they need coverage between jobs. That’s not the same as a public plan designed to force competition with the private insurers. hat’s a mischaracterization of the Left. If you look at the polling a lot of people are woried they will lose their curent healthcare. That tells me they prefer that coverage and only want the government to step in if it disappears.Report

    • Avatar Ottovbvs in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

      There was a referendum on liberal policy in November 2008(Everything the Democrats are now doing was in in both their party’s and Obama’s platform) . The liberals won. The right is just not willing to accept the result.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Ottovbvs says:

        Uhh, not quite. This thesis would be a lot more plausible if the D’s campaigned on an actual agenda instead of not being George Bush. A lot of the underlying debate in the political arena today is an argument over who really is sovereign between the liberal base and public in general.Report

      • I didn’t really see 2008 as a referendum on anything other than the Bush years. All of these liberal-proposed policies are news to me.Report

  4. Avatar greginak says:

    Great post. I seem to be hearing a lot more of from repub policy wonks since the dems have been working on reform. I didn’t see a lot of wonk action when the R’s were in power, but now they have all these great ideas. And of course they want reform to be based on what they think is just all nifty now that they are out of power.Report

  5. Avatar ChrisWWW says:

    Excellent post.

    Reihan is trying to say that Republicans in Congress (and their flock at the townhall protests) are yelling about Death Panels and Gulag Healthcare because a careful examination of the facts and proposals has convinced them of the superiority of a market based solution. Puhhhhhlease!

    As Jamelle notes, Reihan and other more wonkish conservatives are a sideshow to the real fight between Republicans and Democrats. In that fight there are two sides:

    A) the Democrats trying to expand coverage and line the pockets of their health industry donors
    B) the Republicans trying to hurt the political fortunes of the DemocratsReport

  6. Avatar matoko_chan says:

    Reihan just believes the left side of the bellcurve deserves representation too.
    That is what he is all about. Sappy egalitarian.
    Two digit creationists and evangelical proselytizers, theocrats and homophobes, neo-nazis, white-supremecists, sessionists, neocon-revanchists, libertarian crypto-ancharchists, Reihan loves them all…..his heart is too big.
    And perhaps someday all these sub-demes will achieve grouped electoral parity and take back power….but I don’t think so….the demographic time on non-hispanic caucs.

    The republicans are fighting for survival.
    Any healthcare reform that passes will critically damage the GOP which is already ready reeling from the combined terminal onslaught of youth defection, demographic evolution, and college-educated defection.
    They are nihilists….they believe passionately in the status quo.
    And they will fight tooth and nail to maintain it.Report

    • Avatar matoko_chan in reply to matoko_chan says:

      they are NOT nihilists.Report

    • Avatar matoko_chan in reply to matoko_chan says:

      also, too.
      The Republican sub-demes are ALL WHITE.
      Which is why I don’t think they can ever achieve electoral parity with the Democratic sub-demes.Report

    • Avatar ChrisWWW in reply to matoko_chan says:

      But the Republican devotion to what you call “the status quo” is what’s causing minorities, the young and the educated to abandon them.

      So instead of being nihilists, perhaps they are masochists?Report

      • Avatar matoko_chan in reply to ChrisWWW says:

        “traditional wisdom” is a core theme conservatism.
        unfortunately that means they believe mechanisms and structures that worked successfully on the past will continue to keep working, even in the face of radical environmental change.

        A humanist…..that is Reihan, that is the word I was looking for.Report

      • Avatar BCChase in reply to ChrisWWW says:

        Eh, I view them more as an old superstar athlete – Michael Jordan or Brett Favre writ large. They had a good thing, they were the tops, they had all the attention and success, and now that they are on the downslope they can’t let go of that for the next thing. And the harder they cling, the more they lose the fans that supported them in the first place. So call this legislative season the “Favre to the Vikings” moment for the Republican party.Report

  7. Avatar matoko_chan says:

    Republican devotion to what you call “the status quo” is what’s causing minorities, the young and the educated to abandon them.

    No that is not what i said……i said they are NOT nihilists…..they believe passionately in maintaining the status quo.
    Let me repeat….minorities are repelled by racists, either covert or overt.
    People with college educations are repelled by creationists and the populist anti-intellectual themes of the GOP.
    And youth are repelled by the uncool.
    Cool has nothing to do with “trendy”….it has to do with the possibilities of creative destruction and novelty and chaos.Report

  8. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    Desert flower, you are the ghost haunting the wreckage. Purged, pure, devoid of emotion and nous.
    You exist in a dreamworld, fearful of the abyss, unable to leap…and forever cursed to never seek the apeiron.Report

  9. Avatar Koz says:

    I realize a lot of liberals think this, but to me this is about six months out of date. Frankly if I had to guess who we should avoid taking seriously, or could afford to, at this point it would be the D’s, not the Republicans. It’s becoming increasingly clear that collectively they have no idea how to handle our economic problems and the appetite for welfare state giveaways is less than it used to be.

    As far as GOP “intransigence”, the zeroth order explanation for that is easy. There is no politically plausible proposal on the table that’s better than the status quo, and so as long as outright defeat looks plausible (and it obviously does for now) then it’s best as a matter of simple policy to oppose them all.

    I do agree that the GOP should be more proactive on the issue in a particular way. Ie, to put forth their own reforms as if they were a majority, ie totally rejecting the Democrats’ framework of universal coverage, subsidies, and mandates. I suspect and hope that eventually they will.

    My biggest worry is actually about the liberals’ intransigence. When the GOP recovers power (and it’s going to happen sooner than you think), the liberals are going to be royally pissed off that they got so little out of so much. Psychologically they’re going to put a bullseye on any Republican ideas out of spite. The key is to emphasize, right now while the D’s are still in the majority, that Republicans are opposing the Democrats’ legislation because that’s what’s in the best interest of the country. If the D’s do the same thing, it’s because they are anti-intellectual troglodytes.Report

    • Avatar 62across in reply to Koz says:

      Project much? If you think the Republicans have the principled position here and the Dems are being anti-intellectual, that GOP power recovery will happen much, much later than you seem to think.

      Six months ago or not, the constituency for maintaining the status quo is next to nobody. Even most Republicans are stating something needs to be done immediately to fix healthcare, they’re just saying the Dem reforms are not the way. And the Republicans had their chance to be proactive on this issue when they were in the majority just 3 years ago and the result was Medicare Part D!Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to 62across says:

        Indeed, there’s good reasons to think the Republicans should have known better at the time. But, we can defend Tom DeLay & co, at least to the extent that it seemed plausible that the economy would grow forever. Now that the bottom has already fallen out, the Obama Administration has continued all the spending of the Bush Adminstration, plus the bailouts, plus the stimulus package, plus they’re working trillions more in the health care bill.

        Given all that, and the public’s response to it, it should be clear that the political and intellectual is all on the GOP side and looks to stay that way for a while, mostly because the D’s narcissism and vanity are such that they don’t even see the problem yet.Report

        • Avatar matoko_chan in reply to Koz says:

          But, we can defend Tom DeLay & co, at least to the extent that it seemed plausible that the economy would grow forever.

          Again, a half century of inverse fitness selection for republicans too stupid to understand either basic economics or ToE …..has resulted party leadership too …umm….IQ challenged to understand the Second Law of Thermodynamics.Report

        • Koz, I love your optimism! My personal prediction is that at some point before 2012 someone is going to start putting together a very thorough accounting of the Stimulus money and it’s going to be very ugly for the Left. There has been a tremendous amount of waste and money spent with no job creation. maybe the GOP won’t be ready for power but I think they might get it sooner than expected.Report

          • Avatar matoko_chan in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:


          • Avatar matoko_chan in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

            and the demographic timer goes tick…tick…tick….Report

          • Avatar Herb in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

            Don’t start counting the straw polls yet, Mike. You need to exercise some patience on this stimulus stuff.


            Also, yesterday JP Morgan and Goldman-Sachs announced some pretty nifty profits and the DOW hit 10,000 again. I think you’re looking to the wrong people (Obama and the White House) for this job creation stuff.

            So let me get this straight…in your parallel universe, trickle down economics doesn’t work despite billions in profits, the government is responsible for job creation, and stimulus funds that inject new life into a long delayed road widening project is wasteful. Are you a Republican in this parallel universe or what?Report

            • I’m also a huge fan of the WPA part of the New Deal. I wanted to see the stimulus funds wisely spent on infrastructure projects that would actually equip people with much-needed skills. Widening and re-surfacing roads is nice and all, but honestly it’s a lower priority. I would much rather see the moeny invested in power transmission out west, updating bridges, broadband access, insulating homes in poor areas, etc. This stuff just isn’t getting done. Because of restrictions put on the projects most cities are just using the money for road resurfacing. It’s a waste.

              Read this and tell me you don’t think the administration missed a golden opportunity:


              • Avatar Herb in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

                “Widening and re-surfacing roads is nice and all, but honestly it’s a lower priority.”

                Perhaps in general, Mike, but I can assure you that widening and re-surfacing THIS particular road is not a low priority, especially considering that many of Denver’s hospitals have relocated to the Fitzsimmons campus (formerly an army hospital, now a “bioscience park”) and the improved infrastructure is necessary to make sure that’s a success. This road has needed widening for a decade, and finally it’s going to happen.

                And you know who we can thank for it? The stimulus. You know who gets credit for the 10 year delay? “No new taxes” Republicans and their “not with my tax dollar” constituents.

                I’m sure you’re more in tune with what’s going on in your state, but if you’re curious, I recommend reading up on the TABOR amendment here in Colorado and some of its unintended consequences. It was meant to keep the state from spending too much money.

                It has resulted in the state being unable to raise any money. Basically, we went from one extreme to the other.Report

              • Ok – fair enough. Let me rephrase that….wideining roads is a good way to spend the money, but there are other important projects that will also provide opportunities to equip workers with new schools.

                So let’s get roads widened if it makes sense for infrastructure reasons. But let’s not get too caught up in resurfacing projects (that’s what’s going on in Louisville right now) when power transmission or broadband access would give new workers skills they could market for the rest of their lives. Shoveling asphault isn’t quite as hard to master as laying fiber-optic line.Report

    • Avatar matoko_chan in reply to Koz says:

      Assrocket… that you?
      So far this year the health insurance lobby has spent a quarter of a billion dollars lobbying against healthcare….hardly in the interest of consumers.Report

  10. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    O/T: I was impressed with Nick Kristof in the Times on education today. Any thoughts, Gentlemen?Report