You don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?

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12 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    Will Wilkinson wrote an article a while back (that I believe E.D. linked to between then and now) that you may or may not find interesting.

  2. Herb says:

    Semi-related…I just saw the new Star Trek movie and there’s a scene where Kirk is running from some gigantic space monster only to have the gigantic space monster attacked and eaten by an even greater gigantic space monster. I was reminded of the scene in Phantom Menace with the sea monsters. Only in Star Trek, they didn’t have the “There’s always a bigger fish” punchline.

    Which just goes to show you, if you’re stealing your jokes from Star Wars, then you better remember the punchline.Report

  3. Ryan Davidson says:

    Aww, come on. It wasn’t as bad as the first two…Report

  4. trizzlor says:

    I don’t take any pleasure in trying to understand their mindset, but I’m pretty sure the Tea-Party idea of liberty strongly conflates it with self-reliance manifested as a hatred of all “unessential” taxation. Their ideas of what is “unessential” is often tied to some sort of strict constructionalism, but really is just a way grandfather in defense spending – it is not unusual for these people to be passionately against the departments of Education, Transportation, and even Food/Drug (ex: the flu vaccine scare). Socialism, then, is defined as any sort of progressive taxation … I think (nay, hope) most of the leaders understand that this is an absolute misnomer, but see it as adequate short-hand for the “European-style” wealth redistribution they despise.

    This bill, specifically, is either an in-direct harbinger of “socialism” through increased taxation/deficit spending, or directly through a massive new entitlement program that will eventually be forced on all citizens, bankrupt the country, and allow the government to decide (in some sense) who is allowed to live. In defense of the latter, they point (accurately) to the restrictions placed on Medicare: forfeiting your social-security checks if you want to opt-out as a consumer, or forfeiting your business for several years if you want to opt-out as a doctor. And of course, having those two bad programs doesn’t justify adding a third.

    Essentially, this is a kind of anarcho-Republicanism (as they retain the GOP values of despising abortion, soft drugs, and minorities) which sees the solution to all problems in some hybrid of lower taxation & deregulation (don’t even get me started on how over-regulation via Fannie & Freddie in collusion with lazy minorities caused the global economic crisis). This would all be fine and dandy if it was the view of a fringe minority; but it is encouraged (genuinely or not) by many GOP senators & congressmen, the starting lineupt at the NRO including best-selling politicos like Jonah Goldberg and his good friend Conor Friedersdorf and slews of popular pundits. What’s most galling, however, is that all of these people speaking truth to power were silent under the previous administration, which arguably did at least as much to bring about “socialism” as the current, because that guy wore a red tie instead of a blue one.Report

  5. Sam M says:

    “a modest package of insurance reforms”

    To be fair to the teabaggers, they are not the only ones selling this as something more than a modest package of insurance reforms. So far, I have heard “historic,” “landmark,” and a whole host of other adjectives being used by supporters of the legislation. At one stage, Pelosi compared it to the passage of Social Security.

    If you are going to sell this as historic, landmark legislation on par with Social Security, don’t be all that surprised when people on the other side treat it as something other than modest insurance reform.

    Even in my own layman’s take, I understand at least part of the bill calls for an end to the whole “pre-existing conditions” problem. Or at least a shifting of it from insurance buyers to insurance companies. This does not strike me as a modest reform. It strikes me as a fundamental change.

    So whether you are for these changes or against, it seems that the rhetoric surrounding the substance might be overblown, but hardly invented out of whole cloth. And clearly not one sided.Report

  6. greginak says:

    Sam, some of this may be just semantics. This reform is historic, since people have trying to get some for health reform and universal coverage for decades. So succeeding in a decades long struggle is historic. That does not mean that the reform itself is huge and sweeping. Some of the aspects like getting rid of the pre-existing conditions problems have been a generally accepted problem and even , at times when it was convenient, noted by opponents of health reform that should be changed. That does not change the observation that the proposed health reform is not, in this reality, some sort of Stalinist, totalitarian, freedom killing, constitution destroying and end to America.Report

  7. Nancy Irving says:


  8. Art Deco says:

    Your ‘modest package of insurance reforms’ runs on for in excess of 1,900 pages.

    1. It is a reasonable anxiety that so much verbiage is likely to have some disagreeable surprises buried therein by clever congressional staff acting on behalf of constituency groups (e.g. the Planned Parenthood Federation);

    2. As long as wants exceed productive capacity, a society needs mechanisms to ration the available inputs and outputs.

    3. You can ration through price signals and voluntary transactions, or through administrative command, or through some attempt to juxtapose the two. The use of administrative command removes discretion from the consumer.

    4. Costs of such programs are not, perhaps, wholly unpredictable, but have a history of being underestimated. Currently, 35% of our domestic product is allocated by public agencies making use of taxation, collective purchasing, and redistribution. How much will this add? Please note, the distinction between property rights and civil liberty is difficult to sustain; in the ‘economic’ is all the means to our ends.

    5. A characteristic of modern incumbistani politics is the replication of patron-client relationships;

    6. The Democratic Party is the electoral vehicle of a number of social sectors, most notably the helping professions (whose activity consists of the systemic formation of patron-client relations).

    7. Why not ask yourself why suggestions offered by Milton Friedman a decade ago and manifested in some measure in the system of financing medical care in Singapore are not being considered or on the table? It is conceivable that Congress does not want a confrontation with the mindset which expects to see the doctor for a $15 co-pay; it is also possible, when you come right down to it, that the characters generating these bills do not believe in informed consent.Report

    • greginak in reply to Art Deco says:

      I can cut a few hundred pages off the giant 1900 page bill in few seconds. Change the font and increase the margins. Would that make you happy?

      If conservatives wanted a Milton Friedmanesqe plan they had quite a few years to do it. it took until last week for conservatives to put out a plan on a subject that has been in contention for years/decades.Report

      • Art Deco in reply to greginak says:

        I find the Republican congressional caucus a disappointment, greginak. However, anything they wished to enact up to January of 2001 would have required the co-operation of the Big He. Anything in the interval between May of 2001 and January of 2003 would have required the co-operation of the Democratic Senate caucus. As for the remainder, I do not believe they ever held more than a twenty seat plurality in the House of Representatives (smaller than any plurality the Democratic caucus held in the years running from 1955 to 1995 and since 2006). On any given piece of legislation, your plurality is going to be eroded by miscellaneous disagreements over modalities, by the effect of vested interests in the district of Rep. X, and by the small corps of vaguely liberal Republicans (Mr. Shays and half a dozen others). Their opportunity to do much (were they inclined) was quite circumscribed.

        The room to maneuver that the Democratic caucus has at this time is considerably broader. We are not going to get a Singpore system (a version of which has been endorsed by Dr. deLong, among others, and which might just win the support of a fat chunk of the Republican caucus) because they just don’t feel like it.Report

      • Art Deco in reply to greginak says:

        I can cut a few hundred pages off the giant 1900 page bill in few seconds. Change the font and increase the margins. Would that make you happy?


    • James in reply to Art Deco says:

      Yeah, if there’s one person who came out of the recent financial crisis smelling of roses it was Milton Friedman…Report