Friday, May 05, 2017

Idiocy On The Move

I wrote a couple of days ago that, when a civilization implodes, the idiots are put in charge. That phenomenon was on full display yesterday in Washington. The Republicans in the House of Representatives narrowly passed their new health care bill -- which had not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office, which had not been examined in public hearings, and which several Republicans admitted they hadn't read. Ross Barkan writes:

Were an alien to wander down to Earth and examine the functionality of American democracy in 2017, it would find an intellectual graveyard. Lawmakers tasked with carefully considering remarkably complex legislation with the potential to significantly alter the lives of millions of people are instead rushing to vote for a bill that they know almost nothing about and that no outside expert has had the time to seriously assess. This is insanity. 

Insanity is not too strong a word:

The healthcare bill will funnel $100bn to states over a decade to stabilize what are sure to be markets wracked by chaos, assuming this legislation survives intact to Trump’s desk. Amendments provide another $30bn to states with few strings attached. If somehow all of this money is used just for the high-risk pools, it will come out to $138bn, which sounds impressive enough. But most healthcare researchers believe a competently run national high-risk pool would cost much more.

Factoring in lifetime caps on coverage and longer waiting periods, one 2010 estimate from two conservative health economists found such a pool would cost $150bn-$200bn over a decade. Other recent estimates believe the price tag to be much higher.  

Obamacare isn't perfect. It needs some repair. But, for seven years, the Republicans have repeated one refrain -- repeal. Paul Ryan claims to be a policy wonk. Yesterday he stood revealed in the light of day for the fool he is. The president is an even bigger fool.  All those economically ravaged people who voted for him will soon find out that they have been fools.

And, when that happens, the Republicans will become politically radioactive. As Nancy Pelosi predicted, they will "glow in the dark."

Image: Wallpaper Cave


Deacon Jester said...

It is astonishing isn't it?

To think that the people most harmed by this lunacy will vote again next year for the party underwriting their bankruptcy makes my eyes ring and my ears water. Just as they have after mugging they have received for the past 50 years. And the gangsters responsible will once again convince them that its liberals and Democrats and black people behind all the ills that beset them.

Bruce Cockburn had the right idea.

Owen Gray said...

Cockburn knows that we live in a dangerous rime, Deacon.

Deacon Jester said...

Actually, I must confess, I was thinking of rocket launchers.

The Mound of Sound said...

What if the Republicans are "testing the waters" to see just how far they can go to strip political and economic power from the proles before they face any serious, lasting unrest? If the plebs buckle under on the gutting of health care they may be viewed as pushovers for all manner of mischief.

Frankly, Owen, I yearn for a popular revolt against Washington. It's hard to see anything else that might relieve working class Americans of the outrages of late-stage or terminal neoliberalism. Without that it's difficult to imagine how Canada, a country administered rather than governed, will ever get free of the neoliberal yoke. We don't have leaders with the vision or even interest to steer us out of this mess. Somebody is going to have to sack Rome before the minions in the territories see any light.

Owen Gray said...

That, too, Deacon.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Mound. Until ordinary folks are willing to storm the Bastille, nothing is going to change.

Lulymay said...

The grifters are in charge, Owen, same a we have in BC and about to mark our "x" on Tuesday, May 9. There are a basically 2 major groups that vote: the ones who are 'connected' and benefit because they have the money to buy the grifters and the ones who prefer to think they are part of the 'right' side of politics, as long as they are not those lothesome lefties. Education plays a major role in where each of these folks fall into their respective groups.

In between are thinking, educated folks who for one reason or another vote for a right wing (and used to be centrist) or a left wing (who also were more likely be centrist) party. Trouble is, we don't have a centrist party any more. The Libs used to be considered centrist - but were still under the umbrella of corporate Canada. However, they understood that to keep a 'left' wing under control they must adopt many of their ideas, e.g. health care and a pension plan for all Canadian, and it served them well.

We have allowed multi-media corporations to describe us as voters and have volunteered to fall in their described categories. The other dynamic is that if anyone putting themselves out as a candidate must subscribe to the philosophy of the current leader, otherwise, their dedication to "make life better for the majority of Canadians" is not acceptable and "bow to the east' as they say and must be obedient to the leader of the party, otherwise they will not be approved by the powers that be. I think Harper epitomized this conundrum but it most likely extends to all parties.

John B. said...

“This has really brought the Republican Party together.”

Wow! How presidential!

Congratulate us. Wait a minute; we'll do it for you. Let's put on our best giddy grins and slap each other on the back. Now let's take a picture. It'll last longer. Doubters who may have read the proposals and those on other account perplexed should stand out of frame. Spoiling the pretense would be such a bummer.

And we expect all the nation to share in the joy of this marvelous achievement. We're learning to govern. Isn't that wonderful? Never mind any of that other stuff. The President doesn't care, so why should you?

Owen Gray said...

Like those who designed the Titanic, John, they believe their ship is unsinkable.

Owen Gray said...

You've defined the problem exactly, Lulymay. There no longer is a political centre.

Steve said...

The dirty secret of Obama care is that it was a bad bridge to single payer. Trumpcare is a victory for I dont care,

Owen Gray said...

That's Trump's motto, Steve: I don't care.