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Bobo can't read polls

DCblogger's picture

David Brooks

Let’s say that you are President Obama. You’ve inherited a health care system that is the insane spawn of a team of evil geniuses from an alien power. Pay is divorced from performance. Users are separated from costs. Rising costs threaten to destroy your nation and everything you hold dear.

Because you have a lofty perspective on things, you know there are basically two ways to fix this mess. There is the liberal way, in which the government takes over the health care system and decides who gets what. And then there is the conservative way, in which cost-conscious consumers make choices in the context of a competitive marketplace.

You also know that these two approaches have one thing in common. They are both currently politically unsellable.

Polls show that a majority of Americans support a single payer solution. Only in Versailles is the best solution off the table.

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BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

In democracies, when at least 60% of the people want something, it is not politically impossible. Senators do not explain that there can't be a public option because too many people will use it.

I ask myself, why is something more than 60% of American want politically undoable? Everyone in the Village has repeatedly said single payer is not politically feasible? What no one will explain is why something that most Americans want - 60% is a huge consensus in this country - politically undoable? Doesn't that hint at a larger problem? Yet, when people say that, they're never pressed for an explanation as to WHY it's impossible. If most people want it and we live in a democracy, shouldn't it at least be discussed? But it isn't. Just like it didn't matter that most voters were against the bailouts and have wanted out of Iraq for awhile now. What's more, in the Village, demanding anything on behalf of voters is unseemly and must be criticized and mocked.

The reason for all of this, of course, is that the voters don't matter. Or at least they don't matter as much as the donors. Something they've come shockingly close to saying, especially on single payer. The honesty of their corruption has been a bit of a surprise. They are so far removed from ordinary Americans, care so little about what they want and think, they don't mind openly dissing voters. That's not a democracy. It's an oligarchy.

Edited: Just saw that koshembos made the same democracy/oligarchy point in a different thread. Didn't mean to steal the riff.

Submitted by gob on

Or he would know that his "conservative way, in which cost-conscious consumers make choices in the context of a competitive marketplace," is not a possibility for health care. He should read James Galbraith.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

As always Brooks is trying to perpetuate the "government sucks" meme and have a favorable contrast with the libertarian/conservative talking points. While you're right about polls, that's somewhat of a secondary point. In fact, Brooks is right. In a representative democracy, you nee more than the will of the people to enact legislation. You need a legislature willing to heed the people. So nothing you say contradicts Brooks' contention about politically unsellability.

Also, this post goes along with what I've been saying about the lefts inability (or lack of interest?) to address the issue of philosophical principles. Brooks challenges liberalism point blank and this response resorts to polls, as if polls are a substitute for principles.

Submitted by Elliott Lake on

from costs. We are however separated from health care by the cost of the insurance industry. He also conveniently forgets that the system now decides who gets what based on how much money they have, not on how ill they are. And that the evil aliens who gave us this system are the conservatives, insurers and pharma. His base.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

I love how this folks try to equalize everything and pretend that every option has some mirror image that exists on the other side. I see that equalization of every issue as a "uniquely American" sickness. It doesn't matter the issue, for some, everything has two equal sides, and to me, not only is that not always the case, it's most often not the case. The whole idea of "your side, my side, and then the truth" has always struck me as either dangerously naive, or intellectually dishonest. It seems as if only in America can you convince people that the best idea for health care shouldn't even be an option. It is just utterly insane, and I mean insane in every meaning of the word.

It blows my mind that we call other nationals fanatical on certain issues, but when it comes to health care no one up high can seem to muster the calling the 'free-market' advocates exactly what they are: free market fanatics. And, even more stupefying is that they aren't even for the free markets or competition of any short. These folks are flaming extremists, and need to be called as such.

TreeHugger's picture
Submitted by TreeHugger on

the simplicity of your label: "free market fanatics" or "free market extremists"

Good handy usable epithets that describe the problem are like gold coin in the realm of political persuasion, which is the name of the game in this soundbite advertising age.

And I really like because, well, it is just so obvious I missed making the association until you pointed it out.

well done.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on describe them. When one's whole philosophy is built around preaching the idea that the color white is actually the color black, that person is an extremist and fanatic. Single payer (or even simply starting off with a public option) and private health insurance aren't simply different sides of the same coin, they are on two different currencies entirely. One of these is on a note you can actually spend, and the other is on a junk note. To then try and convince everyone that the existing pig shit is more valuable than gold is insulting. That they are fighting even against even discussing a public option as just that, an option, shows their fanaticism.