Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dangerous Barbershop-Talking Baucus

Whoa! You don’t want to bring up the subject of the Baucus Health Care Reform Bill in the Castro Valley Village Plaza Barbershop. Especially when you’re sitting in the chair! When I entered the shop, it was empty. Only one patron was getting a hair cut in the end chair and Al, the tall Al, was sitting in his own chair. The other two barbers were wandering around the plaza, window shopping.

So, I took my seat in Al’s chair commenting on why the shop was empty. Did everyone finally find a job? Or, had they finally run out of money in the recession? The typical bait question. Al did not respond that I can remember. After he wrapped the bib around me and we settled on “my usual cut,” I ask, “What do you think of the Baucus Health Care Bill?” I just as well set a fire – his response was explosive.

And then Al began trimming my hair while throwing around the F-bombs and S.O.B.s, and generally dressing down Congress. He doesn’t like the Baucus Bill, and that’s being kind. As he cut and talked emphatically, more customers wondered in and joined the conversation. ALL of them were ready to riot. One guy said, “Obama had better lay down the law and tell Congress that if we don’t get a public option, we’re going to stop paying taxes!” And, Al agreed. He’s ready to form a grass-roots campaign to do just that.

By the time Al was done cutting my hair, I had one of the shortest haircuts I can remember. I get my haircut about every two to three months, so I like it cut short when I get it cut, but hairless sidewalls are usually not my preference. I made sure Al understood that I agreed with everything he said when he began to strop his straight razor. I wanted no misunderstanding. But, Al gave me a safe razor cut trim and I paid with a tip and left the shop enlightened; never bring up the Baucus Health Care Bill in a barbershop when you’re sitting in the chair!

I see Al’s point. I saw Senator Baucus say this afternoon that he didn’t care what the American people wants; all he wants to do is get a bill through the Senate that gets 60 votes. That was in response to the discussion on Senator Rockefeller’s public option amendment to the bill which was, by the way, defeated 13 (3 Democrats and all 10 Republicans) to 10 in the Committee. The Baucus bill gives an additional $400 billion in subsidies to the insurance industry and they are paying Baucus big bucks to do it. It also requires the ordinary person, like Al and I, to pay a fine if we don’t buy health insurance. No wonder Al is pissed. Al is sixty-two and pays $800 a month for health insurance for himself and his wife. He doesn’t mind paying taxes; he just wants to pay for good government and good services. Good government and services aren’t Baucus services.


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