Saturday, September 17, 2011

Free To Die? The "Right" Seems Not To Be Able To Wait and the "Progressives?" They're Afraid of Speaking Loudly: They Might Scare the Horses

Seems to me we've always been free to die. We just weren't aware that our government (outside of military service, of course) felt easy about killing us at will.

The Rethugs teach new political/economics facts of life in the dear ole USA daily. Professor Paul Krugman thinks he's got a portion of their "death wish to others" morality figured out. I think he's only a tiny part of the way through their immorality miasma.:

Free to Die

By Paul Krugman

September 16, 2011

New York Times
Back in 1980, just as America was making its political turn to the right, Milton Friedman lent his voice to the change with the famous TV series “Free to Choose.” In episode after episode, the genial economist identified laissez-faire economics with personal choice and empowerment, an upbeat vision that would be echoed and amplified by Ronald Reagan.

But that was then. Today, “free to choose” has become “free to die.”

I’m referring, as you might guess, to what happened during Monday’s G.O.P. presidential debate. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Representative Ron Paul what we should do if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance suddenly found himself in need of six months of intensive care. Mr. Paul replied, “That’s what freedom is all about — taking your own risks.” Mr. Blitzer pressed him again, asking whether “society should just let him die.”

And the crowd erupted with cheers and shouts of “Yeah!”

The incident highlighted something that I don’t think most political commentators have fully absorbed: at this point, American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions.

Now, there are two things you should know about the Blitzer-Paul exchange. The first is that after the crowd weighed in, Mr. Paul basically tried to evade the question, asserting that warm-hearted doctors and charitable individuals would always make sure that people received the care they needed — or at least they would if they hadn’t been corrupted by the welfare state. Sorry, but that’s a fantasy. People who can’t afford essential medical care often fail to get it, and always have — and sometimes they die as a result.

The second is that very few of those who die from lack of medical care look like Mr. Blitzer’s hypothetical individual who could and should have bought insurance. In reality, most uninsured Americans either have low incomes and cannot afford insurance, or are rejected by insurers because they have chronic conditions.

So would people on the right be willing to let those who are uninsured through no fault of their own die from lack of care? The answer, based on recent history, is a resounding “Yeah!”

Think, in particular, of the children.

The day after the debate, the Census Bureau released its latest estimates on income, poverty and health insurance. The overall picture was terrible: the weak economy continues to wreak havoc on American lives. One relatively bright spot, however, was health care for children: the percentage of children without health coverage was lower in 2010 than before the recession, largely thanks to the 2009 expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or S-chip.

And the reason S-chip was expanded in 2009 but not earlier was, of course, that former President George W. Bush blocked earlier attempts to cover more children — to the cheers of many on the right. Did I mention that one in six children in Texas lacks health insurance, the second-highest rate in the nation?

So the freedom to die extends, in practice, to children and the unlucky as well as the improvident. And the right’s embrace of that notion signals an important shift in the nature of American politics.

In the past, conservatives accepted the need for a government-provided safety net on humanitarian grounds. Don’t take it from me, take it from Friedrich Hayek, the conservative intellectual hero, who specifically declared in “The Road to Serfdom” his support for “a comprehensive system of social insurance” to protect citizens against “the common hazards of life,” and singled out health in particular.

Given the agreed-upon desirability of protecting citizens against the worst, the question then became one of costs and benefits — and health care was one of those areas where even conservatives used to be willing to accept government intervention in the name of compassion, given the clear evidence that covering the uninsured would not, in fact, cost very much money. As many observers have pointed out, the Obama health care plan was largely based on past Republican plans, and is virtually identical to Mitt Romney’s health reform in Massachusetts.

Now, however, compassion is out of fashion — indeed, lack of compassion has become a matter of principle, at least among the G.O.P.’s base.

And what this means is that modern conservatism is actually a deeply radical movement, one that is hostile to the kind of society we’ve had for the past three generations — that is, a society that, acting through the government, tries to mitigate some of the “common hazards of life” through such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.

Are voters ready to embrace such a radical rejection of the kind of America we’ve all grown up in? I guess we’ll find out next year.

(Paul Krugman is professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University and a regular columnist for The New York Times). 

Bob Reich goes Krugman one move further down the immorality track as he delineates exactly what critical issues will not be dealt with (or even mentioned seriously) by this "Democratic" administration, which has found itself so sidetracked from its elected goals by this immensely frightening group of monsters from a horror show already played out in the 30's.

As my regular readers know, I've thought for the last decade that the screaming from the clown tent on the right has been mainly about keeping reasonable people occupied with corralling frightening demons instead of figuring out how to take care of those the demons are hurting.

The Election of 2012: Why the Most Important Issues May Be Off the Table (But Should Be On It)

Robert Reich

We’re on the cusp of the 2012 elec­tion. What will it be about? It seems rea­son­ably cer­tain Pres­i­dent Obama will be con­fronted by a pu­ta­tive Re­pub­li­can can­di­date who:

Be­lieves cor­po­ra­tions are peo­ple, wants to cut the top cor­po­rate rate to 25% (from the cur­rent 35%) and no longer re­quire they pay tax on for­eign in­come, who will elim­i­nate cap­i­tal gains and div­i­dend taxes on any­one earn­ing less than $250,000 a year, raise the re­tire­ment age for So­cial Se­cu­rity and turn Med­ic­aid into block grants to states, seek a bal­anced-budged amend­ment to the Con­sti­tu­tion, re­quire any reg­u­la­tory agency is­su­ing a new reg­u­la­tion re­peal an­other reg­u­la­tion of equal cost (re­gard­less of the ben­e­fits), and seek re­peal of Obama’s health­care plan.
Or one who:

Be­lieves the Fed­eral Re­serve is trea­so­nous when it ex­pands the money sup­ply, doubts human be­ings evolved from more prim­i­tive forms of life, seeks to abol­ish the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice and shift most pub­lic ser­vices to the states, thinks So­cial Se­cu­rity is a Ponzi scheme, while gov­er­n(ment) took a meat axe to pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion and presided over an econ­omy that gen­er­ated large num­bers of near-min­i­mum-wage jobs, and who will shut down most fed­eral reg­u­la­tory agen­cies, cut cor­po­rate taxes, and seek re­peal of Obama’s health­care plan.
Whether it’s Rom­ney or Perry, he’s sure to at­tack every­thing Obama has done or pro­posed. And Obama, for his part, will have to de­fend his po­si­tions and look for ways to coun­ter­punch.
Hence, the pa­ra­me­ters of pub­lic de­bate for the next four­teen months.

Within these nar­row con­fines pro­gres­sive ideas won’t get an air­ing. Even though poverty and un­em­ploy­ment will al­most surely stay sky-high, wages will stag­nate or con­tinue to fall, in­equal­ity will widen, and deficit hawks will cre­ate an in­deli­ble (and false) im­pres­sion that the na­tion can’t af­ford to do much about any of it – pro­pos­als to re­verse these trends are un­likely to be heard.
Nei­ther party’s pres­i­den­tial can­di­date will pro­pose to tame CEO pay, cre­ate more tax brack­ets at the top and raise the high­est mar­ginal rates back to their lev­els in the 1950s and 1960s (that is, 70 to 90 per­cent), and match the cap­i­tal-gains rate with or­di­nary in­come.

You won’t hear a call to strengthen labor unions and in­crease the bar­gain­ing power of or­di­nary work­ers.

Don’t ex­pect an ar­gu­ment for res­ur­rect­ing the Glass-Stea­gall Act, thereby sep­a­rat­ing com­mer­cial from in­vest­ment bank­ing and stop­ping Wall Street’s most lu­cra­tive and dan­ger­ous prac­tices.

You won’t hear there’s no rea­son to cut Medicare and Med­ic­aid – that a bet­ter means of tam­ing health-care costs is to use these pro­grams’ bar­gain­ing clout with drug com­pa­nies and hos­pi­tals to ob­tain bet­ter deals and to shift from fee-for-ser­vices to fee for healthy out­comes.
Nor will you hear why we must move to­ward Medicare for all.

Nor why the best ap­proach to as­sur­ing So­cial Se­cu­rity’s long-term sol­vency is to lift the ceil­ing on in­come sub­ject to So­cial Se­cu­rity pay­roll taxes.

Don’t ex­pect any ref­er­ence to the ab­sur­dity of spend­ing more on the mil­i­tary than do all other coun­tries put to­gether, and the waste and fu­til­ity of an un­end­ing and un­de­clared war against Is­lamic ex­trem­ism – es­pe­cially when we have so much to do at home.

Nor are you likely to hear pro­pos­als for end­ing the cor­rup­tion of our democ­racy by big money.
Al­though pro­pos­als like these are more im­por­tant and rel­e­vant than ever, they won’t be part of the up­com­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

But they should be part of the pub­lic de­bate nonethe­less.

That’s why I urge you to speak out about them – at town halls, can­di­date fo­rums, and pub­lic events. Con­tinue to mo­bi­lize and or­ga­nize around them. Talk with your local media about them.

Use so­cial media to get the truth out.

Don’t be si­lenced by De­moc­rats who say by doing so we’ll jeop­ar­dize the Pres­i­dent’s re-elec­tion. If any­thing we’ll be paint­ing him as more of a cen­trist than Re­pub­li­cans want the pub­lic to be­lieve. And we’ll be pre­serv­ing the pos­si­bil­ity (how­ever faint) of a pro­gres­sive agenda if he’s re­elected.

Re­mem­ber, too, the pres­i­den­tial race isn’t the only one oc­cur­ring in 2012. More than a third of Sen­ate seats and every House seat will be de­cided on, as well as nu­mer­ous gov­er­nor­ships and state races. Mak­ing a ruckus about these is­sues could push some can­di­dates in this di­rec­tion — par­tic­u­larly since, as polls show, much of the pub­lic agrees.

Most im­por­tantly, by con­tin­u­ing to push and prod we give hope to count­less Amer­i­cans on the verge of giv­ing up. We give back to them the courage of their own con­vic­tions, and thereby lay the ground­work for a fu­ture pro­gres­sive agenda — to take back Amer­ica from the priv­i­leged and pow­er­ful, and re­store broad-based pros­per­ity.

(This ar­ti­cle was orig­i­nally posted on Robert Reich's blog.

Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, Supercapitalism, and his most recent book, Aftershock. His "Marketplace" commentaries can be found on and iTunes.)

Too bad these guys are married.

As I reaaallllyyy like them.

Politically, of course.

These are the guys (see video below) we want to make our policies?




Phil said...

The only way to save capitalism as we know it (which was fatally flawed from the beginning) is to kill off millions of people in this country and billions worldwide so that the "players" can start their monopoly game anew. Judging by their policies, Republicans and other corporatists have the situation well in hand.

Suzan said...


And I'll be one of the first to go, I fear.

Love ya, Phil!


TONY said...

The health argument is a mirror image of the one in the UK in the 1950s over National Health. The rightist claptrap about freedom is the same claptrap which was trotted out here. It is the freedom, which Anatole France described in 19C Paris, of rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges and beg in the streets for food. The UK was more enlightened in 1950 than the US is now and the argument here was won. Looking at the GOP grotesquerie, I fear the worst for America. I could live with it from this distance if it wasn't for the attendant potential foreign policy nightmare. Obama is bad enough, thanks.

Suzan said...

And when all the safety net programs are finally eviscerated and beyond retrieval . . . about 10 minutes later the "Tea Party" no-minds will regroup and start whining about who stole their programs.

And come after the horrible "libruls" who did everything bad to them.

Wish I were overseas where there was some insurance and health care for those who had worked over 20 years and now have none.