August 31, 2009

Congress Tries to Fake its Way through Health Reform

The amazing Matt Taiibi is out with a new take-no-prisoners essay on health care "reform" in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, and it's definitely worth the read. His main point is that our thoroughly corrupt Congress and curiously passive President are now in a quandary about how to wriggle out of this job without upsetting their corporate paymasters, yet while convincing the general public they did something. Unfortunately, there just isn't any way to deny that the problem of health care in this country is MASSIVE, and yet all they're really set up to do anymore is to give a semi-convincing pantomime of "caring" etc., while most of them actually remain solely obsessed with getting reelected.

Taiibi breaks the process down into steps, or stages of degeneration, beginning with Obama's decision at the outset to give the game away by punting on Single Payer. All the Rube Goldberg machinations in the five bills meandering their way through this circus, staffed by what Taiibi calls "second-rate country lawyers and mall owners," are hopelessly complicated because Obama and the Democrats fled as fast as they could away from this obvious solution, out of fear of upsetting gigantic campaign donors from the Pharma, insurer and Wall Street lobbies. Or, more realistically, of alienating the affections of these parasites by pushing them in the direction of the Republicans. The estimable Bill Moyers made this same point on Real Time Friday night: as uncynical as this conscience of our generation normally is, he ventured the opinion that Obama has become convinced by Rahm Emanuel that Obama will need the campaign contributions from these three sources in 2012 in order to win again. Which seems odd, for a moment, when you consider how much money, and what a large percentage of his overall contributions, Obama raised from individuals in this last campaign. But then you think some more and it makes perfect, corrupt sense: Barack Obama knows now that those individual donors are not going to be there because he's turned into something very unanticipated, simply another politician who sees his highest goal as getting reelected, as opposed to one dedicated to the substance of his governance.

So Obama, instead of forcing the Republicans who want to kneecap his health care plan to begin on their own goal line (by presenting them with Single Payer, which he said during the campaign was his preferred approach), gave them the ball at midfield, by halfheartedly, sort of, once in a while, supporting the "public option." So the Republicans, backed up by hordes of uninformed Teabaggers and Dittoheads, as usual determined to support government policies (such as tax cuts for the wealthy) which have as their object the exact opposite effect from that which they think they're supporting, had only to neuter this contraption in order to render health care "reform" a dead letter. And anyone who takes the time to read the actual "content" of these various public options floating around the Capitol will quickly conclude that the Republicans have succeeded.

Paul Krugman todays muses that maybe the country has simply become ungovernable because of the influence of Big Money on the political process. That's one word to use, but the country is in fact being "governed," just not to the benefit of 90% of the population. This was the inevitable result of unbridled and unregulated capitalism, given its greatest impetus during the Reagan years. With the force of a natural law, heirarchical economic systems which have no effective counterweight in the form of a strong, central and regulating government inevitably skew wealth toward a smaller and smaller percentage of the population, and then the government itself becomes simply a vassal of Big Business interests until there is essentially an identity of purpose between wealthy elites and the politicians they control by funding their reelection campaigns. Such a process has happened many times before in world history, and it always ends the same way. At a certain point, the great "underclass" realize they've been screwed and the phony allegiances they feel to Democrats or the Republicans or the Nazis or the Politburo or the French aristocracy begin to fray, and they finally see what has happened. We're only at the stage now where demagogues like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, in a search simply for ratings and personal wealth and devoid of any real talent or moral content, can nevertheless exploit the "political" differences and convince the uninformed and dispossessed that Obama is in some way both a "Socialist" and a "Fascist" (Americans are not big on historical accuracy), and that health care reform, which this poor white trash who show up at these town halls armed to the teeth need more than anyone, is a government plot to snuff their grandmothers. "Only a pawn in their game," sang Bob Dylan. Yes indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment