Freedom from Blog

Don't call it a comeback . . . .

Friday, September 19, 2008


So we learn this week that the national government is capable of acting to solve domestic problems, after all. Legislation of enormous scope, complexity, and cost is said to be imminent -- going from conception to execution in a mere week. (One hates to imagine what boondoggles lobbyists are going to include in this behemoth. After all, the only people who really understand highly complex financial markets are those who are paid to do so -- and they don't work for the American taxpayer.)

Despite our massive deficits, the government can come up with hundreds of billions of dollars (even $1 trillion is easily possible) to bail out Wall Street. And yet it can't provide a few billion dollars for catastrophic health insurance for the underinsured bankrupted by medical bills. More expansive national health care legislation is similarly perceived as impossibly complex, destined to be mired in gridlock -- even though literally NO major initiative has ever entailed a health care plan as expensive over a 10 year time frame as what Congress is prepared to lay on the line for Wall Street immediately on a mere day's notice.


At 7:30 AM, Blogger Number Three said...

Catastrophic health insurance, let alone comprehensive health insurance (even for children), would be socialism.

The Fed buying 80% of a behemoth insurance company is capitalism. The Fed taking 100s of billions of dollars of bad investments off the hands of banks is the invisible hand of the free market.

But extending unemployment benefits or increasing Food Stamps or low-income fuel subsidies would create a moral hazard.

Or something.

Rarely has the irrelevance of political ideology when confronted by naked self-interest shown itself more clearly. Is this to say that right-wing ideologues don't believe in self-reliance and personal responsibility? No, I'm sure they do, kind of. But it's also convenient that they are against programs that they don't need, isn't it?

If I weren't already a cynic, I would have become one this week.

At 10:52 AM, Blogger fronesis said...

Yes, I'm very interested in what #3 throws out both accurately and perhaps cynically, above: will the neoliberal "free market" discourse be able to find a way to adapt and absorb the actions of the government this week so as to sustain itself?

It ought to be impossible for all the reasons Frances details, but I think we (mis-)underestimate the neoliberal discourse at our own peril.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

Remarkably, I think Dems forget that there are political battles to be won by actually acting like an OPPOSITION party. I think there will be broad popular backlash against this intervention. Time to use that to extract some needed reforms.


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