Shut up you dirty hippies!

30 Dec 2009 07:06 pm
Posted by: Donna

Over the course of the health care debate a small but growing cadre of liberal and not-so-liberal pundits, “experts”, and insiders have come to a definite consensus on the health care bill: That the bill itself is a massive historic accomplishment on a par with Civil Rights, the New Deal, the Great Society, and the iPhone. Just kidding about the iPhone. And never mind about the stripping out of the public option and Medicare buy-in and the leaving in of insurance companies’ anti-trust exemption. It’s historic! Historical history with Extra ReforminessTM !!

The consensus also holds that opponents of the bill from the left are silly overeducated granolas who are largely irrelevant. However, lefty bloggers are also dangerous radicals who represent a graver threat to the passage of the bill than, say, Ben Nelson or Bart Stupak. Who are actual members of Congress who have the power to derail the bill and, in fact, threatened to do just that if they didn’t get to police the uteri.

This dissonance explains why these pundits write copious blog posts and articles disparaging lefty critics (and not Nelson and Stupak), while letting us dirty hippies know how irrelevant we are, as Joe Klein does here:

The denizens of the left blogosphere consider themselves the Democratic Party’s base. But they are not. For Democrats, as opposed to Republicans, the wing is not the base; the legions of loyal African Americans, union members, Jews, women and Latinos are. In the end, the sillier left-village practitioners are stoking the same populist exaggeration — the idea that Washington is controlled by crooks and sellouts — that conservative strategists like Bill Kristol believe will bring the Republicans back to power. The perversity of this is beyond comprehension.

Why, it’s incomprehensible, the perversity! And the icky populism…eew! Seriously though, no one has his finger on the pulse of the true Democratic base like Joe Klein, author of Primary Colors and numerous scathing but factually dubious articles attacking Democratic politicians. He also spent a good part of the 2000s drooling over George W. Bush. All of which makes Joe eminently qualified to know that African Americans, union members, Jews, women, and Latinos loooooove Washington! That’s why Barack Obama ran as a Washington insider. Remember? Because real Democratic base voters heart them some good old corruption and selling out. Yes We Can! They really liked NAFTA too.

My other favorite Villager is Ezra Klein, blogger for the Washington Post. What irritates me most about Ezra is he’s being held up as some super-duper health care policy wonk. Ezra Klein is a 24 year old with a BA in Poli Sci. I have sweaters older than Ezra and he is about as much an authority on health care as I or Sarah Palin. However, his perch at WaPo gives him access to politicians and the data they want him to regurgitate.

Here’s Ezra lecturing working Americans with good employer sponsored health plans as to why they should learn to love the excise tax:

That means a dollar in health-care benefits is “worth more” than a dollar in wages. I use quotation marks because I’m not sure that paying another dollar for health-care insurance actually buys people much of value above a certain level. But putting that aside, the government has given employers a $250 billion annual subsidy to purchase health-care insurance. That’s a big subsidy. It’s much more than the bill spends to provide subsidies to low-income people, for instance.

And the people who receive that subsidy like receiving it. But the unemployed don’t get any of that money, nor do people whose employers don’t offer them insurance. The tax preference is huge, regressive, and encourages more spending on health-care insurance. And beyond all that, it separates workers from the cost of their health-care insurance, which is one of the main drivers of our cost problems.

Hear that, workers? It’s your fault that health care costs are so high! Ezra is talking about the proposed excise tax on so-called “Cadillac” insurance plans. What this means is that employers who provide generous health benefits will have to pay a 40% tax on the portion of the plan that is over a certain amount. Which means that many employers will get cheaper plans. This tax will effect a lot of people who drive Chevys, such as union members who negotiated good health plans. ‘Cuz, you know, they are too separated from the costs of their plans and all. They need a cozier relationship to their health care. One where they pay more out of their disposable income for co-pays and deductibles. One where they won’t be as apt to run to the doctor for minor issues. Wait a sec, wasn’t this reform supposed to encourage people to get more preventive care? Never mind… By the way, what a stellar talking point, Ezra. And way to divide working people against each other!

Recall that John McCain ran on taxing health benefits and was roundly (and rightly) excoriated for it. The fact that Democrats are pushing for this now tells me that the main thrust of this “reform” is to fob as much of the cost of it onto the middle class as they can. And I am not shutting up about it.

5 Comments

  1. Comment by Timmys Cat on December 31, 2009 9:29 am

    And I am not shutting up about it.

    Thank you.

    I will admit I have not been following this as close as I should. While me and mine are set for now, what worries me most is my love is most likely walking a tight rope with employment. next year. We can do COBRE, but pre-existing after that would be brutal. We have paid into the combine for many years, yet most likely we’ll get the cold shoulder from a commision only insurance sales person.

  2. Comment by Joke Line on December 31, 2009 9:59 am

    You DFH’s have meddled with the primal forces of nature and you will atone! Time to get some more cocktail weenies.

  3. Comment by Timmys Cat on December 31, 2009 11:57 am

    By the by , I would like to thank you and the others for all the hard work you do . It’s refreshing to have local talent with a blog I can relate too.. (instead of “Cards suck!”) As you might geuss I sort of do have bit of fun here,(ya think?) But well thought out posts like this help me focus on more important things.

    Happy New Year to you and all!

  4. Comment by Donna on December 31, 2009 12:16 pm

    Awww thanks TC. :)

    Happy New Year to you and yours too.

  5. Comment by Appleblossom on December 31, 2009 10:41 pm

    One of my colleagues who happens to be anti government most of the time actually was dumb enough to say that “oh I do not need to worry if I lost my job, I can get insurance with that extension the government gives you.”

    I said “COBRA lasts eighteen months, you pay the full premium, the government only requires you are given the chance to purchase it, and by the way, after those eighteen months, you would be blocked with your diabetes.”

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