Free Markets, Free People

6 reasons why “reasoned debate” over healthcare isn’t called for right now

1. The left doesn’t want it. They just pretend they do. If they wanted it, they would not have tried to jam a thousand page bill through with virtually no debate, and they wouldn’t be using high-pressure sales tactics.

2. It won’t work – I. Beltway insiders are not going to have their mind changed by calmly and rationally pointing out the flaws in their bill. If their minds worked that way, they wouldn’t pass half the junk that goes through Congress.

3. It won’t work – II. If people are coming to these town halls in large numbers and mostly sitting there quietly, the spin from the media will be how everyone is quietly supportive of the “Health Insurance Reform” (or whatever the current focus-group-tested moniker is) except for a few cranks. Only if it’s abundantly obvious that the majority of the crowd is against the bill can that spin be forestalled.

4. It’s counter-productive. Incumbents really, really love it when they can appear to be listening and open even though their minds are already made up. Sitting down and calmly going over the points in the various bills gives them that facade that a deliberative process is going on when it’s not. It also takes away from the fear of losing an election they must feel if their mind is to be changed.

5. If we play Calvinball, we lose. We can’t afford to get bogged down in the details of the bill through endless talk-talk. What the protestors intuitively understand is that Congressional Democrats (and a few very foolish Republicans) are playing Calvinball. In fact, they’re world champions at it, and the rest of don’t even know how to play the game.

Case in point: I’ve seen signs at the protests that talk about how “If the plan is so great, why doesn’t it apply to Congress?” I understand and agree with the sentiment, but the last thing we want is to make that a bargaining point. I’m surprised it hasn’t yet occurred to some Democrat to float a “compromise” that supposedly “addresses the concerns of critics” with a laundry list of junk like that. This would be an obvious strategem to dampen down the protests. But it doesn’t really change anything. Since this is Calvinball, they can change the rules next year, or even during conference committee before the bill is officially passed, and get back everything they supposedly gave up.

6. We don’t want to turn discontent to cynicism. There has been latent discontent for the federal government and its incessant growth for a long, long time. We saw it with Perot and the 1994 Republican takeover. But the ones who feel that mostly have no way to express it, given the Tweedledum/Tweedledee relationship of the major parties. We’re seeing many of these people get engaged for the first time in a long time, and their long-felt anger is the motive force behind these protests. Anything that faintly smells of a sell-out would turn many of them back to their weary cynicism. We who support limited government need these people as engaged allies.

—————-

The Democrats, starting with Nancy Pelosi and her “un-American” comments are floating the idea that vociferous opposition to healthcare reform is causing a backlash. Pundits have picked that up, and some critics of reform are buying it. I was particularly surprised to see the usually-astute Charles Krauthammer doing so.

I disagree completely and current polls back that up.. This is not the time to lessen the pressure. Determination and time are the only weapons we have. Time is on our side if we can keep up the pressure.

The media is mostly against us. The Beltway collective is against us. The whole Left is against us. To counter all that, we need to have all the visibility we can muster. No violence, of course, but being rude and obnoxious to arrogant and disconnected elected representatives is not violence, no matter how the Left would like to spin it.

Maybe in the future. we can reach a point where there can be a productive debate on healthcare. I concede that the odds are against it, because the two sides are so far apart. But we don’t even want to try until the current “reform” effort is dead, the corpse has been burned, and the ashes have been scattered.

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26 Responses to 6 reasons why “reasoned debate” over healthcare isn’t called for right now

  • 7. The nearly axiomatic immorality of it does not require discussion.
     

    • Good point. And I should probably add:

      8. Erb thinks it’s a good idea. Given his amazing super-power to choose the wrong side of any complex issue, that means it’s certain to be a bad idea.

  • OT: Nice re-redesign!

  • Here’s another reason why “reasoned debate” over health care is not called for right now:

    The more the country senses that this thing is a loser, the faster The Clown’s™ job approval numbers go down, down, down.

    And for all of you who are thinking, “Wow! This guy really wants the President to fail,” my response is: You betcha. I want him to fail, I want the Democrats in Congress to fail, I want the whole stinking act to fail. I want to see the Democrats lose so many seats in the House next year that it makes 1894 look like a small electoral loss. I want to see the desperation and fear of those who work for the thug in the White House become so evident that their armpits stink from perspiration, and that is on television. I want The Clown’s™ numbers to crater into the low 30s, and then I want to see the unions get busted up and watch Harry Reid and Christopher Dodd and Arlen Specter all lose their Senate seats next year.

    As Freddy Mercury sang, “I want it all.” I want to make the left as miserable as they made us as they called George W. Bush a Hitler and a terrorist for eight long years. I want to make even my leftwing family members cry in their pudding.

    Yep, I want it all. I want to see it all happen before me, on television. And I will laugh as it happens. Laugh out loud.

    BTW, nice page redux. I doff my chapeau to you.

  • “Reasoned Debate” about what …

    Obama’s aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.

    … I can’t argue with much of that (except Bush left much to your imagination), but when even folks on the Left are asking exactly what Obama is selling, you have to take notice.

  • Given that every other industrialized state has a working health care system that the people support, it’s no surprise you are frightened of reasoned debate.  Reason and rational thought will lead to health care reform.  Scare tactics and fear mongering are your only hope at defeating it.  Pathetic.

    • “Every other insdustrialized state” also has a health care system inferior to the American one when all things are considered. Which socialist foreign nation should we hold up as the paragon of socialized health care? Canada, where wait times are measured in years and there are serious shortages of doctors? The U.K. where the public system has irreparably harmed the private system? Obama has admitted more than once that a single-payer system (as the one in Canada) is his ultimate goal, even if he has to settle for its incremental implementation.

      Come on, Erb, “But everyone else has it!” is an argument that most people grow out of in elementary school. Our nation’s principle of individualism has always stood in stark contrast to the collectivist tendencies of the rest of the world, and it has been the driving force in making our nation great. Unfortunately, it has been slowly yielding to the force of socialism over the past century, and this is just another step on that steady march.

      Socialists will never admit that the best improvements to our current system will almost invariably come from the free market, such as a reduction of the protectionist restrictions on foreign-made drugs and ending interstate restrictions on insurance providers.

    • “But Johnny has it!”

      Some of us outgrew that argument. It didn’t work work against the reason and rational thought of adults.

    • Reason and rational thought will lead to health care reform.

      That doesn’t explain why the administration tried to ram it through congress prior to the recess, even though there still isn’t a single, final plan and even though it appears that many of the congresspersons who will vote for it have either not read it or don’t understand it.  That is not a reasonable nor rational approach, and it doesn’t imply that there was much thought given to it.

    • Yes, every other country is anti-liberty. We should be too.

  • Reason and rational thought will lead to health care reform.

    The democrat congressmen don’t know what’s in the bill, but insist it must be passed asap. It would be passed already if blue dogs hadn’t resisted. How is that “reason” or “rational thought”? Your argument is absurd on its face.

  • This is rich coming from someone who refused to debate specific points about Global Warming and many other topics.
     
    Thanks for breaking my irony meter.

  • This whole time the Left has been accusing the Right of exactly what they are doing.
    The Left accuses the right of ‘astro-turfing’ and then the trucked in union goons and activists with printed signs and co-ordinated T-shirts climb off the buses to support the President.
    The Left accuses the right of lying, but we have chapter and verse of Obama and Congressional leaders making claims not supported by their own legislation.
    ” it’s no surprise you are frightened of reasoned debate”
    However, this one really takes the fucking cake.

  • “Incumbents really, really love it when they can appear to be listening and open even though their minds are already made up.”

    Jackson-Lee needs an acting coach; did she even say, excuse me, when taking the call? What arrogance, she must have the safest seat in the country.

  • She was just multi tasking. Yes, she has a safe seat, isn’t it funny, her district borders on Ron Paul’s district. That is somewhat revealing of the state of gerrymandering in Texas.

  • I agree being nice isn’t called for right now.  My thinking is, the amount of anger being shown by only a few people (at the moment) has knocked the liberals back on their heels.  This is the time to ramp up the heat on the powers-that-be, based on facts, and keep them off balance.  We cannot continue to play by their rules.  I have a post up at my blog about not playing by Goliath’s rules.  (shameless plug)   This health-care debate shows how we can win IF we don’t play by their rules!

  • It needs to become very clear in 2010 that these people represent us, not Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, or Barack Obama. I’m voting and working for the opposition, because my representatives forgot for whom they work.

  • The so-called Professor from Maine’s logic in support of Obamacare has been reduced to the equivilent of “NEE-NER-NEE-NER-NEE-NER”

    LOL!

  • Our health care system is looked down on by most of the rest of the world.   You can always cherry pick horror stories — Michael Moore did it in “Sicko” with horrors of the American health care system.    But overall polls in every other country show people do not want to give up their system.  Beyond that, our system is unsustainable.
    The real problem with America’s health care system is skyrocketing cost. Insurance went up 96% since 2000, while income went up 18%. Moreover, the trend is likely to continue. Corporations can’t afford the high costs and are passing more on to employees, or cutting coverage. Demographics are pushing the baby boomers into retirement, which will increase costs, and put unbelievable strain on Medicare (indeed, it will collapse, the budget impact simply is too much). We can wait until the crisis is so out of control that we have no choice but a very drastic solution, probably a complete government take over (I’d guess about 2015 things will reach that point), or we can try to set something up now that takes into account the interests of the various stake holders. But even if the effort for reform is defeated now, the problem is real, growing, and is not going to go away. I think a lot of people are saying “well, I get good care now, why change,” not realizing that the growing costs and demographic change are ticking bombs set to implode the current system. That said, I’m not endorsing any particular plan right now, but I think we have to have a serious national discussion about how to handle this, the debt, the deficit, and the myriad of problems facing the country.
    But some people just want to shout, pretend they are ‘more moral’ and run away from real discussion.   That is, in a word, pathetic.

    • That said, I’m not endorsing any particular plan right now, but I think we have to have a serious national discussion about how to handle this, the debt, the deficit, and the myriad of problems facing the country.

      What they’re doing in the House/Senate and White House is not a debate, what they’re doing is crafting a particular plan, the fact that there’s 5 versions of it just means the plan will go through some deals to get support and then a single plan will emerge, which will be passed and sent to the White House for a signature.

      They’re not TALKING, like they should be, they’re full bore DOING something. This isn’t a discussion. This is a fear mongering collection of control freaks trying to rush us into a major economy shattering decision and societal change. We’re not sitting in the in the driveway deciding where we’re going, we’re headed down the highway in the direction the driver, on his own, has decided to go. So long as we all agree to decide to go wherever he’s taking us, we’re good Americans, want to go the other way? “Shut up! You’re not driving!” is the response, or as you said yesterday “Get used to it!”. We know what “get used to it” really means. They didn’t hold these town halls to get our input, they held these town halls to do snake oil sales on a product they’ve already created. These were intended purely for show, and we were supposed to sit silently and politely and listen to our betters tell us what we needed and what they were going to do for us using OUR money.

      And you, now, today, you suddenly don’t endorse a particular plan. No, you endorse whatever Charlie Foxtrot these arrogant bastards come up with. You’re not particular about what’s in it (yet), you just know we need it, because, like them, you say so. Rather than be Americans, we’re supposed to be French, or German, or Canadian, or British and follow along with the global herd.

    • “But overall polls in every other country show people do not want to give up their system. “

      No kidding! Have you ever personally known any Germans? Socialism is a drug and it is addictive. No one wants their benefits taken away once they have become dependent on them, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be better off without them in the first place.

      “Insurance went up 96% since 2000, while income went up 18%. Moreover, the trend is likely to continue. Corporations can’t afford the high costs and are passing more on to employees, or cutting coverage. Demographics are pushing the baby boomers into retirement, which will increase costs… [blah blah]”

      And what part of that points to increased government interventionism as the solution? The government makes an absolute balls-up of virtually everything it sticks its fingers in. And what do you think is the root cause of the increased cost? That is what really needs to be addressed — tort law and unsustainable health plans that were forced on corporations by unions. Since the Democrats are largely complicit in those two things, I am a little angry that they want to fix the symptom with massive government intrusion.

      “We can wait until the crisis is so out of control that we have no choice but a very drastic solution…”

      The “crisis” is invented. Of Obama’s “46 million uninsured”, more than a fifth are non-citizens, legal or illegal. And of the rest, many are uninsured by choice. Nor does uninsured mean that one will be denied care. Why are you only critical of fear-mongering when it is not ideologically in line with you?

      “…Probably a complete government take over (I’d guess about 2015 things will reach that point).”

      We all know that is what the socialists want — although your timeline is a little shorter than Obama’s; he thinks and hopes we’ll be at single-payer either way by 2019. And Obamacare — not the lack of it — will be the first step to get us there, as Obama himself asserted.

      “That said, I’m not endorsing any particular plan right now, but I think we have to have a serious national discussion about how to handle this, the debt, the deficit, and the myriad of problems facing the country.”

      Well, you seem to be vehemently in favor of passing Obamacare. You characterized criticisms of it as “fear mongering” and think it “makes some sense” to compare dissenters to the Nazi Sturmabteilung. Since you say you don’t know what the solution should be, but support the Democrats efforts to ram this thing through unread as quickly as possible, I can only draw from that you think this is something where government just knows what’s best for us.

      “But some people just want to shout, pretend they are ‘more moral’ and run away from real discussion.   That is, in a word, pathetic.”

      Look up ‘projection’. That is, and has been for years, an exact description of your behavior on this site.

      • J, My speciality is German politics, I’ve lived there and yes, I know many Germans, including very conservative Germans who are appalled by the US health care system (especially German physicians). My wife is a CPA who works at a hospital. I know that the crisis is real. Look, we’re $12 trillion in debt, the baby boomers are about start retiring, and we’re looking at systemic implosion here. Keep playing your partisan games, but the US is literally in collapse right now. And yes, Obama isn’t fixing it. The irrational belief that markets are self-regulating created much of this problem, but also the fact that we are already socialist — corporate socialism, benefiting big business. But you have your partisan talking points and your emotion. Meanwhile, the country falls apart. Pathetic.

        • “My speciality is German politics, I’ve lived there and yes, I know many Germans”

          Then you should understand the point I made, but your next line seems to indicate it is beyond your grasp:

          “…including very conservative Germans who are appalled by the US health care system…”

          “Conservative” by what definition? As a political scientist, I expect you know full well that European “conservativism” is something entirely different from American “conservatism”, so your statement seems willfully deceptive. The American variety is closest to liberalism, and the European variety is closest to socialism. Virtually no Germans or French want to lengthen their work week or vacation time or reduce their benefits or taxes. Their way of life and relationship to government is alien to most Americans — and incompatible with the original intent of our Constitution, a strictly limited central government and a dispersion of state power. Most Americans are largely ignorant that those European socialist states are the models we are moving ever closer towards, and we are in for a rude awakening. Maybe that is what is happening now.

          “My wife is a CPA who works at a hospital. I know that the crisis is real.”

          Then, instead of appeals to authority, provide some reliable sources to back up your assertion with figures or hard facts. You did not address any of the points I made. Who is being denied service? Who does not have coverage and wants it? What are the root causes of any problems we have? Read this post’s title and then look in the mirror.

          ” Look, we’re $12 trillion in debt, the baby boomers are about start retiring, and we’re looking at systemic implosion here…”

          Yes, the government is $12 trillion in debt. Let’s say that again, the GOVERNMENT, which wants to takeover — or at the very least become intimately involved in — the healthcare system, is $12 trillion in debt. So, it stands to reason that the last thing it can afford is a massive socialized medicine program. The baby-boomers are going to upend the Social Security system — so why is our government trying to take on more responsibility rather than addressing that impending crisis?

          “The irrational belief that markets are self-regulating created much of this problem…”

          If that is the child-like presupposition you operate on, then likely you will never arrive at any correct conclusions. You’ve just completely outed yourself for what you really are.

          “…we are already socialist — corporate socialism, benefiting big business.”

          Actually, professor, we are a mixed system. No one has ever said we are a laissez-faire free market economy — and no one has said that 100% laissez-faire is even a desirable thing. But pushing further and further toward socialism will be disasterous for the principles of this nation and the economy as well. If you re-read my post carefully, you will see that I said to reduce “protectionist restrictions on foreign-made drugs.” I don’t deny that our system does have corporatist and socialist facets. That is not a reason to increase them, any more than the fact that we have laissez-faire facets is a reason to become a 100% laissez-faire system.

          “…your partisan talking points…and your emotion…Pathetic.”

          You’re the one pathetically spouting irrational talking points with fevered appeals to emotion (“the US is literally in collapse”, “we’re looking at systemic implosion”, “Meanwhile, the country falls apart”). You are a socialist shill (“The irrational belief that markets are self-regulating”), so drop the pretense and the accusations stemming from your Freudian projection.

          You carefully evaded addressing one of your (many) major contradictions. You say you “don’t know” what the solution should be, but you clearly support passing this piece of legislation, in any form. No one has any idea what is going to come out of Congress since it has changed so drastically each time it has gone through committee — and no one seems to have read it anyway. So, you clearly are only relying on ideology — something has to be done, and government is the one to do it! — rather than any reasoned assessment.

  • But overall polls in every other country show people do not want to give up their system.

    I’m betting that the same people who always say “polls elsewhere show that people like their socialized insurance” are the ones who dismiss polls showing 83% of Americans are satisfied with their care.  But, but…

    Beyond that, our system is unsustainable.

    It’s unsustainable because it’s a poorly-managed government program run by a poorly-managed government.  The solution to this is not to add another poorly-run government program to the mix.  We can’t fix SS and we can’t fix Medicare, so let’s add another unsustainable tax drain to a system that is running out of money!

    Insurance went up 96% since 2000, while income went up 18%. Moreover, the trend is likely to continue. Corporations can’t afford the high costs and are passing more on to employees, or cutting coverage.

    And if you read Bruce’s current post, one of the reasons for this is because private insurance is picking up the slack for Medicare and Medicaid, both of which underpay for medical services.  So what happens as we slowly replace private insurance with a government option?

    We can wait until the crisis is so out of control that we have no choice but a very drastic solution, probably a complete government take over (I’d guess about 2015 things will reach that point)

    The problem is that the government is already on a pace to run out of money just to cover Medicare and SS by that time, if not sooner.  Which means that there won’t be a government takeover at that time.  Sure, we can have the government take over now (which is what Obamacare winds up doing), but then we run out of money sooner and then the entire COUNTRY gets it between the eyes when that happens.
     
    How can anyone possibly see this as a preferable result?!?!?

    I think a lot of people are saying “well, I get good care now, why change,”

    See above.  By the way, the UK has run out of money, and their biggest drain is NHS.  But hey, when they say they like their care, it’s proof that it works, but when Americans say that we like our care, we’re not seeing the forest for the trees.  Right, ok.

    But some people just want to shout, pretend they are ‘more moral’ and run away from real discussion.

    As opposed to their congressional representatives, who want to ignore or dismiss the concerns of their constituents.  When their constituents understandably become furious, they are waved off because they’re not being reasonable.
     
    That’s what is pathetic.
     
     

  • The so-called Professor from Maine wants to pretend he is ‘more moral’ by claiming “Our health care system is looked down on by most of the rest of the world.” Based upon what – Michael Moore’s opinion? The reat of the world does not share that opinion. When France’s Deputy Minister of Health was recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer, she came to the US for treatment. Why? Breast Cancer survival rates in France is half what it is in the US.

    The so-called Professor from Maine claims “We can wait until the crisis is so out of control that we have no choice but a very drastic solution.” But what the so-called Professor from Maine does not state is that is what the Democrats are claiming today. The “crisis” is out of control and that the drastic measures they are now taking is what is required to save America. Time after time, our DEAR LEADER stands up and states this in no uncertain terms but the “complete government take over” the so-called Professor from Maine fears is the proposed HR 3200.

    Does anyone here not agree that reform is necessary? I have not seen or read in these pages that reform is not necessary. Everything I have read or seen here suggests that real discussion needs to take place regarding health care in the US. The problem the so called professor from Maine misses is that discussion should not occur behind closed doors, and the resultant proposal written by a small group of Liberal Democrats in order to fulfill some left wing wet dream.

  • It’s noteworthy that Erb has gotten his mind right on health care. He was pretending to be against “universal” care for a while.

    There should be no “reasoned debate” on the particulars.

    It’s the premises that need to be rebutted.

    First, open the market and let insurance providers compete nationwide instead of state by state.

    Next, take down market barriers that the Feds themselves have imposed.

    Third, let, encourage, make it easy for people to opt out of Medicare. That should never have been a “universal” system for elders in the first place. It should not, cannot, continue as a universal system. It is headed to bankruptcy. Let upcoming generations make longterm private preparations for their retirement health care.

    Just do that and see what happens over ten years.

    The premises set by Obama and the Democrats should be discarded and the market should be opened. Back the government off from health care.

    It is the government interventions and regulations that have driven the costs up. More intervention of the kind Obama proposes, to the point of government central planning and more bureuacratic control, will only result in government rationing, higher costs, and crappy health care.

    Postal workers with proctoscopes and every hospital a VA hospital.

    Don’t let government “solve” the problem it created by giving it even more control. Take as much of the control it already has away from it.

    Don’t debate the particulars of giving it more control.