Great Strides Forward

There was an old joke told in the former Soviet Union: “During Stalin’s time our economy stood at the precipice of disaster. Since then we have made great strides forward.”  No matter what side of the health care debate you are on, a fair assessment is that we have taken great strides forward to relinquishing our basic freedoms in America.

First, consider the role of the media. Rather than report on the contents of the health-care bill, daily we read multiple headlines and stories handicapping whether or not there are enough votes to pass the bill.  This should not be too surprising since few know exactly what is in the bill. But no matter, over and over we hear the inane squawk: “We have to get the job done now.” As though we don’t have to know what job is being done. Consider this admission by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

Next, listen to President Obama as he flunks elementary school mathematics by mindlessly reading from his teleprompter to adoring crowds. Obama promises the crowd that they “will see premiums fall by as much as 3000% which means that they can give you a raise.”

Perhaps I’m making a big deal over a simple flub? (A price cannot fall by more than 100%.) But, this flub passed through multiple layers—the speechwriters, the president, and the crowd.  And notice the smug assuredness as Obama reads the line.

A nation without the will or the education to enter into a genuine conversation about the important issues of the day cannot remain free. Indeed, we have the leaders we deserve—leaders who apparently are guided by no higher value than to exercise power over us. No doubt things will change. “What I see in America today,” Hilmar von Campe has observed, “is people painting their cabins while the ship goes down.” Some are looking forward to the day when a deeper crisis forces us to stop painting our cabins. I do not. The social disruption and suffering from a deeper crisis is likely to be enormous. Much better to change now, and avoid the worst.


4 Responses to Great Strides Forward

  1. I watched John McCain tell a room full of people that a single payer health system is bad because the British NHS doesn’t treat patients over the age of 75.

    I live in Britain. On that very same day, my 84 year old grandma was being treated on the NHS after suffering her sixth heart attack. They saved her life.

    Not only that, but our British single payer EVIL FREEDOM-KILLING SOCIALIST healthcare system is ranked 18th in the World. America’s free market wondrous healthcare system, is ranked 36th.
    The UK has a higher life expectancy than the US.
    The UK has a lower child mortality rate than the US.
    The UK pays less per capita GDP than the US.

    We still care about our sick and injured. We consider it far more “free” to help those who need it most, than it is to pay for a new yacht for an Insurance Exec.

  2. Chris Claypoole says:

    I’ll take my chances with our current system, thank you. Your “rankings” are by a UN agency that gives more weight to process than outcomes, and I see far more stories of negative outcomes by NHS than from American medicine. Otherwise, why do so many wealthy foreigners come here for treatment? And there are many programs in the US to provide care for those without insurance, even when they abuse the system.

    Above all else, it is truly evil to steal money and wealth from those who have earned it to give to those who have not done so. Americans are by far the most generous people (in terms of voluntary giving) in the world. If the people running the governments would leave us more of our own money, more would be given to help those who are temporarily down on their luck. I don’t like to subsidize those who are too lazy to work, or have a sense of entitlement (like one of my sisters).

    At least you had the honesty to put quotation marks around your twisted use of the word, free.

  3. Steve P says:

    Despite Barry’s pointing out the mistaken premise of american free market healthcare, I suppose we should not be surprised that some will continue to form arguments basd on that same flawed premise. Sigh.

  4. Even CNN Has weighed in on the outrageous idea of voting on a health-care bill that few have seen.

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