Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Decrying "socialism"?

As in a number of previous heated debates, the current debate on health care reform has raised the cry of "socialism" from the opposition. This is demagoguery!

It is not that I favor socialism in all its aspects. I am not an ideologue for either side. What I want is a government that works for the people, which has not been possible in a social order that entertains a suborned Congress. We really need change.

For those with a purely capitalist ideology, I acknowledge that an environment of regulated competition might be very effective. How could that be achieved? Well, first of all, we would need a considerable number of health insurance companies competing in a national market. Secondly, we would need to provide consumer protections of the sorts that are contemplated in the Democratic bills, and which many Republicans have endorsed. We would also need close scrutiny to prevent the companies from forming an anti-competitive cartel and we would need some tax incentives to encourage companies to join in the national market and to compensate those companies whose benefits might attract the least healthy applicants. In order to make such improved insurance affordable, it would have to be universal and it woud be necessary to deliver health care more efficiently and more effectively than at present.

This is doable but not yet within reach. Why? Because those who inveigh against socialism most loudly also have a huge financial stake in avoiding serious competition and because their congressional stooges would find excuses for deregulating. That's what they did for the banks, remember?

The best opportunity for reform at at this time lies with the Obama proposals, which should be supported.

The Gambler

Friday, August 7, 2009

Health Care and Social Behavior

There is a form of social behavior which crops up now and then that strikes me as a distant relative of old fashioned lynching. It is the mob action of depriving a person or persons of their civil right of free speech by shouting them down whenever they try to speak. It has been employed at both ends of the political spectrum, for example, (on the Left?) at universities when possibly racist conclusions were being derived from IQ testing and very recently in the severe disruption of town hall meetings on health care (on the right?) throughout the country.

I'm sure this is a very old tactic and it has probably been employed by a wide variety of thuggish political causes whenever they thought it would pay. My concern is not with the specifics of the causes but with the employment of this tactic. Whether the cause is a commonly accepted element of the local culture, as was the case in lynchings, or a more special interest, as in the case of preventing the reform of health care, which is a matter of really BIG bucks, it strikes me as very anti-democratic and profoundly un-American in character.

Such things happen but I did not serve in WWII to just sit back let such things happen in my own country without protest. I regard such behavior as certainly a form of disorderly conduct but also mob action to deprive our fellow citizens of their civil rights, and, if they are shown to be organized, a conspiracy to do so.

I confess that I am just a centrist, not a Republican. I would like to hear more from the right on this matter.