Monday, February 02, 2009

Politics and Health Care

A few items from the Times:
  • Frank Rich sticks it to the obstructionist Republicans but good. I add to what he says that President Obama has an approval rating right now of 80%. That means a lot of people who voted for John McCain approve of his performance and want him to succeed. The Republicans could get with the program - saving the country - and start offering real ideas, considering that they have prided themselves on being the party of ideas for quite a while. (Of course, the ideas were 1. tax cuts. 2. tax cuts 3. tax cuts, if you get my drift.)
  • Why we need national single-payer health care: to help small businesses. Well, that's not the only reason.
  • Paul Krugman notes that the Bush tax cuts will cost the U.S. Treasury $2 trillion. Gosh, that could go a long way to help fix things right now, eh?


Former blue-dog Democrat said...

Just wondering, is there a difference between "obstructionist Republicans" and garden-variety "Republicans" or was this just your derogatory adjective of the day?

Don't get me wrong, I sincerely hope President Obama is successful in implementing "change" and "hope." And I happen to be one of many Republicans that think that some kind of stimulus plan is necessary. The President has a real chance to overcome the problematic legacy of the W years AND move past the stereotypical "liberal Democrat" agenda that Speaker Pelosi et al embody. He and everyone else knows he's gotta get some Republican senators on board, and to just accuse them of being "obstructionist" is just as ridiculous as calling NEA funding "pork." I don't want to give anyone in Washington a rubber stamp -- even this President, no matter how high his approval rating may be.

It's every Congressperson's & Senator's responsibility to look at every spending bill with a skeptical eye, especially an $800 Billion stimulus package. When the Democrats were in the minority in Congress and there was a Republican in the White House, I'm willing to bet large sums of $$$ that you would have raised a Wagnerian fit if the Dems in congress were anything but "obstructionist" . . .

Also, I'm waiting for your blog posting expressing disgust at the various nominees who have "forgotten" to pay taxes or been "confused" by income tax law. . . . I guess if a Democrat makes a mistake like that, it's an honest mistake . . . and if a new President makes multiple mistakes in nominating Cabinet Secretaries with such easy-to-find problems like TAXES, one might wonder about he or his staff's decision making . . . or should the "obstructionist Republicans" just look the other way and approve those nominees?

Lisa Hirsch said...

If the Republicans' behavior doesn't look obstructionist to you I'm not going to be able to convince you.

Obama's agenda is more liberal than you think, I suspect. I'd be perfectly happy to have the Republicans produce specifics beyond "more tax cuts." They're not.

You're not going to catch me defending those nominees who didn't pay their taxes. Remember, I'm pro-taxation; pro-increased-taxation, in fact.

Former Blue-dog Democrat said...

You can say "obstructionist" if you like. I will say "loyal opposition." $800 Billion of your money and mine should not be flying through Congress without a few people raising some reasonable objections.

FWIW: I am one of those former McCain voters who approve of the President's performance AND want him to succeed -- and I also think there are more than a few provisions in the stimulus bill that are not the best use of tax payer money. Rooting for and agreeing with the President and disagreeing with the stimulus bill as currently formed are NOT mutually exclusive options.

Just because you don't agree with the ideas the Republicans have presented doesn't mean they aren't "real ideas." They're clearly not ideas with which you agree, but I don't think that should make them "fake ideas." Intelligent people actually can disagree.

For example: I think Wagner is overblown self-indulgent glop with undertones of anti-semitism. I would much rather see a Verdi or Berg opera or listen to some Bruckner choral music (which is about the only Bruckner I can stand). Many people disagree with me, and I'm OK with that. But like many Democrats who call Republican thoughts something other than "real ideas", hard-core Wagner-philes think I'm a delusional heretic with no taste nor understanding for what they see as opera in the highest & purist form (and believe me, many Wagnerites have told me as much to my face).

Former Blue-dog Democrat said...

BTW: No one is stopping you from paying higher taxes. Feel free to send in supplemental checks to Washington and Sacramento whenever you feel the urge. Just don't make me do it too.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Which objections do you consider reasonable and where can I read about them? I agree that a huge spending bill needs careful examination. There is no way to avoid having provisions that someone will object to, of course, whether reasonably or not. I was not happy with the potential cuts suggested by Nelson and Snowe.

(FWIW, I'd be more likely to vote for Snowe than Nelson. I have evidence that around 2005 I had a discussion with a right-leaning friend in which we agreed that an Obama/Snowe or Snowe/Obama ticket would be worth voting for. Of course, she's practically a Democrat.)

Yes, intelligent people can disagree, and I am always going to disagree that tax cuts solve every problem. I will also disagree that unregulated capitalism is a good idea. Neither do I believe that fully planned economies are a good idea, having seen the disasters in China and the Soviet Union. I'm a Scandinavian socialist, at core, with a good dose of capitalism, high taxes, and strong social programs.

Hard-core Wagnerphiles: ever read Sounds & Fury? :) I love Wagner, but also Verdi, Berg, Puccini, etc.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Here's what John McCain is saying today: “We want to stimulate the economy, not mortgage the future of our children and grandchildren by the kind of fiscally profligate spending embodied in this legislation."

Mortgages: I seem to recall that McCain opposed the Bush tax cuts, then didn't, and that he supported the Iraq War. The latest I saw on the cost of the tax cuts is $2 trillion over ten years. The Iraq war has already run another trillion. So, the Republicans, who once claimed to be the party of fiscal responsibility...