Mark deserves another honorable mention. He took exception to my Slime-Ball Lieberman post. Mark suggests that we should be satisfied with the Health Care Bill the Senate passed on Christmas Eve as a first step to a future end result instead of killing the bill. He cites two arguments he agrees with; one from Ezra Klein (which leads you to another Ezra Klein post, here) and one from Jonathan Bernstein. He suggests that the real problem is the 60-vote requirement to invoke cloture, to end the argument and stop the Republicans from filibustering the bill into Lala Land. He suggests that we go back to a simple majority prior to 1919, 51 votes, to pass legislation.
I've had more than a week to think about this, and to get over the H1N1 flu virus that kicked my butt, and Mark is right in that we shouldn't kill the bill and let's hope, and pray, that the Senate and House can come to some agreement on the bill, without too much water added, to get it through. There is so much misinformation about what's in the bill that only one fact coming out makes me think it's the best we can do and we should support it. That fact is that the insurance industry is against it. They, the insurance lobby and companies, are so much against it that they're taking their money and influence to the state level, as this article explains. If they are willing to do that, then I'm for the bill. There is great danger that if you live in a “Republican State,” you won't benefit from the Health Care Bill. You're going to have to get health care as best you can and if it breaks your back or bank account, then that's tough.
Another fact is that the source of most of the “Kill Bill” misinformation is the Republicans. Even the liberal activists who want to kill the bill are being misinformed by Republicans and Republican supporters. Liberal activists want the “Public Option” to once and for all give the scamming Insurance Companies a bloody nose with in-your-face competition. So do I. I want that so bad that I'm fed up with insurance scams and Republican scams. But, with a political party so willing to distort the facts and, literally, scam you, how will going back to a simple majority solve the problem? It could happen in the future, maybe in 2010, that a simple majority of Republicans could easily try to reverse any progress made in helping the people of this country. And, I say “helping the people” intentionally, because it is clear that the Republican Party does not want to and will not do that. I'm inclined to think that a super-majority, 3/5ths, is a good thing as long as the Republican Party has got its head up its ass. It means that if they get a majority of over 50 senators, they still won't have enough votes to reverse good progressive legislation or pass some other Liassez-faire crap we will have to live with. They will need 60 votes just like the Democrats do.
What really bothers me is how easily people, including the media, suck up the Republican propaganda and how easily people forget what the Republicans have always stood for. It's a difference in philosophy and for the past 40 or 50 years the so-called conservative philosophy has been sold to us to the point where we think it's un-American to think any other way. The truth is entirely different.
In every case for the past 50 years when Republicans controlled legislature pro-business bills are passed while social bills are watered down or not passed at all. It is okay with Republicans that credit card companies charge usury interest rates and scam you with hidden fees and hidden clauses because that's what we've been told is “free enterprise” and “freedom” in America. It is okay with Republicans that insurance companies cancel policies when you become too expensive to treat. It is okay with Republicans to bust unions that try to get a decent living for its members or a decent health care policy for its members, union busting similar to Indiana's Gibson County's latest shenanigans here .
You name it. If it's pro-business and anti-social, Republicans are for it and, as a general rule, Democrats are more pro-social. Want to privatize a government program? Republicans are for it even when it's more expensive than the government alternative. They privatized the higher education school loan program and millions of students went into debt while the SLM Corp (Sallie Mae) CEO went home with $200 million in bonuses and stock options. They privatized the U.S. Military ancillary services, such as mess-hall functions, to Halliburton and it costs billions more to feed the troops than if the troops did it themselves.
Contrary to what we've been told, and sold, all these years mostly by Republicans and their supporters, Capitalism is not the end-all to our problems. Capitalism is a ruthless endeavor in which cannibalistic companies eat smaller ones in cycles of greed to grab more market share. It is a cycle of creative-destructive processes. It creates welfare more than it provides opportunities. Free enterprise does not mean that a company should be allowed to do whatever it wants at the expense of society. Companies that get “to big to fail” should not be allowed to exist. Usury should not be allowed simply because a company can do it. But, insurance companies will, in the end, figure out a way around limitations in a watered-down health care bill. You can count on it. Insurance CEOs take their bonus whether the company succeeds of fails or whether you have good health care insurance or not and you, the taxpayer, will pay his bonus as long as you vote Republicans in office.
The 2000 – 2008 period was, hopefully, the peak of Republican power, policies and philosophy that we'll have to experience for a long while, if ever again. It was the worst period in recent history in which “zero” jobs were created, in which a working stiff who invested $10,000 in 2000 got $9,000 in 2008 (a 10% loss), and in which you may have sent your son, daughter, husband or wife, or father or mother to die in war. Follow the links. It was the decade of the Republicans and that was the problem. That's the point we need to recognize: the difference in philosophy. We are badly mistaken if we think we can choose the Republican philosophy and ignore society's needs.
It is the Republican philosophy that's watering down the health care bill. Until the Republican Party, and blue-dog Democrats for that matter, gets a good dose of common sense, these people need to be voted out of their jobs. It is that same philosophy that's keeping unemployment high, food stamps as primary source of food, homeless shelters in high demand and a growing poverty rate that will eventually kill the country.
The latest news is that the Senate-House negotiations over the final health care bill will simply ignore Republicans in both houses. That's okay with me. I've been writing congress for months to do that.
So, thanks, Mark, for challenging the Lieberman sliming.