Health care nationalization passes despite bi-partisan opposition
Posted by aogMonday, 22 March 2010 at 10:05 TrackBack Ping URL

Instapundit quotes Ira Stoll

Republicans despondent because they think the bill is a government takeover that is about to ruin the American health care system may want to cheer up. First, if the bill is half as terrible as the Republicans say it is, Americans are going to be so upset about it that they blame the Democrats.

I am not sure I count as a Republican, but I’m not despondent over the legislation itself. I am despondent over the actions of the Democratic Party in getting it passed, and even more so over the expectation that there won’t be much of a price at the ballot box in November. I expect Old Media, like its ideological mentor Pravda to put the blame for any problems on “wreckers” and “GOP obstructionists”. If only the glorious appartchiks of the State were permitted unfettered action the worker’s paradise would arrive!

Megan McArdle claims

Republicans and other opponents of the bill did their job on this; they persuaded the country that they didn’t want this bill. And that mattered basically not at all. If you don’t find that terrifying, let me suggest that you are a Democrat who has not yet contemplated what Republicans might do under similar circumstances. Farewell, Social Security! Au revoir, Medicare! The reason entitlements are hard to repeal is that the Republicans care about getting re-elected. If they didn’t—if they were willing to undertake this sort of suicide mission—then the legislative lock-in you’re counting on wouldn’t exist.

The problem with this claim of symmetry is that Democratic Party voters are far more tolerant of the kind of corruption it takes to get this done. That’s what makes me despondent.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Bret Monday, 22 March 2010 at 12:08

Words failed me last night due to despondency.

The democratic party is made up of pirates (“take what you can, give nothing back”) and sheep. The democrats have now made the country an ideal place in the short term for pirates and sheep. In the long term, a country composed of pirates and sheep ends up like Zimbabwe.

Unfortunately, I’m not particularly well suited to be either a pirate or a sheep. Since I really don’t like being a sheep, I guess I’ll work towards being a pirate, but I probably won’t be very good at it.

I feel so bad for my children though. There’s a small but significant chance that we really do end up like Zimbabwe.

erp Monday, 22 March 2010 at 12:18

Democrats don’t care how they get what they want because they don’t pay the bills, we do.

Despondent is how I feel in spades. :(

“Only in America” has been replaced with — America? It’s just like every place else now.

David Cohen Monday, 22 March 2010 at 13:59

What’s amazing is how fast both sides are reverting to type. The left is moaning about the status quo. The bill doesn’t really reform anything and we’re so backward and don’t live up to the minimal requirements of civilized nations. The right is adjusting to the status quo. Oh, it’s not so bad, we can live with this, it’s not really socialism.

I knew it would happen, but I thought it would take more than a day.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 22 March 2010 at 15:14

Mr. Cohen;

Where do you see the right adjusting to the status quo? All the right wingers I read are going on about the need to organize and get this repealed, or are declaiming this as the watershed moment when America became just another Eurosocialist nation.

erp Monday, 22 March 2010 at 15:24

David, we adjusted to pressing “1” for English when making a call, so it’s only a short jump to adjusting to our public servants being bribed by the president and the speaker on television. No biggie.

David Cohen Monday, 22 March 2010 at 16:13


OJ, for one, although I agree that there are definitional issues.

Bret Monday, 22 March 2010 at 17:32

OJ is the biggest booster of statism that I’ve ever seen. It’s not surprising that he doesn’t condemn it.

cjm Monday, 22 March 2010 at 17:38

i see this outrageous act energizing the impulse to liberty like nothing else in my lifetime. if it leads to a constitutional convention, who knows what repairs beyond the healthcare bill will be effected. might even get personal income tax repealed/banned. you say i’m a dreamer, but i’m not the only one.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 22 March 2010 at 19:41

I am with Bret. OJ likes socialism, just not godless socialism, so he’s hardly reverting.

Barry Meislin Tuesday, 23 March 2010 at 06:28

…bi-partisan opposition

Well, Obama did promise to bring this country together.…

Hey Skipper Wednesday, 24 March 2010 at 01:29

Did I hear right that something like 38 states are considering challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare in court?

I know the Alaskan governor, Parnell, is considering it.

When is the last time that happened?

Hey Skipper Wednesday, 24 March 2010 at 01:48

Make that 13 states, according to Volokh.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 24 March 2010 at 08:45

13 that have actually filed papers, it’s 34-37 that are considering.

Bret Wednesday, 24 March 2010 at 09:42

Seems like there’s enough activity in the states to call for a constitutional convention.

That would be exciting.

erp Wednesday, 24 March 2010 at 15:32

Bret, I’d be afraid to open that can of worms. Socialized medicine is in and that’s bad enough without giving them an opening to write the whole left wing agenda into the Constitution.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Thursday, 25 March 2010 at 07:40

I would LOVE to see a Constitutional convention held. Given that we already live in “interesting times”, and that things are getting worse, not better, and that the core causes of our malaise and decline apparently cannot be addressed by any side of the current political system, I’m absolutely serious when I write that there’s nothing to lose - and maybe out of the Sturm und Drang we’d get some real restructuring.

The U.S. have had socialized medicine arguably since 1949, (Inland Steel v. United Steelworkers of America and W.W. Cross & Co. v. N.L.R.B.), and absolutely since 1965 (Medicare, Medicaid). And the U.S. will continue to have socialized medicine until, at the very least, the majority of the Boomers have passed on. (And IMO it’s a permanent feature of America, as long as it remains a democracy.)

Since the U.S. are a center-right nation, the odds of a left-wing agenda being written into the Constitution via a Constitutional convention are zero, zip, zilch, nada, bupkiss. Good golly, it took a year of wrangling, large and visible bribes to Senators, threats of parliamentary-procedural end runs, and Torquemada-level arm twisting to eke out passage of the limpwristed, barely-left-wing abomination bearing the cynical and euphemistic label of “Health Care Reform”. Getting a supermajority for a national, broad-spectrum leftist agenda is impossible.

erp Thursday, 25 March 2010 at 09:30

Rough, just the opposite. You’ve heard of the slippery slope.

It may have taken all the decades since the end of WW2 to get this much of the left wing agenda into law, but as our older citizens go on to their reward, our younger citizens, dumbed down by at least 40 years of anti-American/anti-capitalist propaganda in the public schools and the media, will find it easy to accept sweet-talking politicians and their schemes of wealth redistribution and entitlements over hard work and individualism as the road to a good and easy life.

There’s no need to amend or improve the constitution. Our founding fathers gave us all the tools we need to stay on the straight and narrow. Bribery and intimidation are already against the law – as are lying and withholding information. The fact that we’ve tolerated it from our elected officials is all the proof I need that we can’t let them anywhere near a constitutional convention.

I can hear Obama and company salivating for it from here.

erp Thursday, 25 March 2010 at 09:53

More on “improving” the Constitution from the American Spectator.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Thursday, 25 March 2010 at 11:15

…our younger citizens […] will find it easy to accept sweet-talking politicians and their schemes…

Funny, during the 80s it was the WWII generation, the so-called “Greatest”, who were up in arms and even rioting to ensure that they received “wealth redistribution and entitlements”1, and rejecting “hard work and individualism as the road to a good and easy life.”

Was that due to “anti-American/anti-capitalist propaganda in the public schools and the media” during the ‘10s and Roaring Twenties?

Bribery and intimidation are already against the law – as are lying and withholding information.

In some situations. Lying, withholding information, intimidation, and bribery/enrichment are a normal part of human interaction, even if regrettably so. Those activities permeate every sphere of activity: Social, personal, workplace, governing, child-rearing, education… Almost everyone tolerates it, and it’s expected of politicians.

1 One small example, via The Volokh Conspiracy:

[All emph. add.] As Andrea Mitchell observed on ABC News, “the elderly are not against the new benefits – unlimited hospital care, new at-home benefits, prescription drug coverage; they just don’t want to pay for them.”

The turning point came on August 17, 1989, when Dan Rostenkowski, House Ways and Means Chairman and one of the most powerful men in Congress, found himself fleeing a crowd of irate senior citizens protesting the [Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988. The Act provided more extensive hospitalization benefits and prescription drug coverage, but it imposed the costs of that benefit on the elderly.]

Representative Rostenkowski had scheduled a meeting in his home district to hear constituent concerns and speak about the advantages of the Medicare catastrophic coverage act. A crowd of angry senior citizens waved signs protesting the fact they would have to pay more taxes to fund the covered benefit. People shouted “coward,” “recall,” and “impeach” after Representative Rostenkowski refused to speak with them and got in his car. One senior citizen (Leona Kozien) even jumped on the hood of Congressman Rostenkowski’s car to stop him from leaving. […]

Representative Rostenkowski got out of the car and ran a block, chased by the crowd. He was then picked up by his car and whisked away. The incident resulted in front page coverage nationwide. The TV news ran footage of Rostenkowski fleeing from his constituents…

Bret Thursday, 25 March 2010 at 11:37


A quote from the American Spectator link you provided:

This “living” Constitution means the real one is dead in practice, but it is not so dead in the minds of ordinary Americans that liberals would ever attempt to hold a constitutional convention to package their enlightened new understandings into a fresh one.

Liberals and big-government types have everything to lose from a forum controlled by the States and nothing to gain.

Bret Thursday, 25 March 2010 at 11:42

Rough wrote (quoted): “…the elderly are not against the new benefits … they just don’t want to pay for them.

We are becoming more and more a nation of pirates (take what you can, give nothing back). Not a good foundation for civilization.

As a parent, this surprises me tremendously - that a whole generation of people are willing to make their children worse off, but it’s pretty clear that’s the case. Apparently I’ll think that’s a good idea when I get old as well.

erp Thursday, 25 March 2010 at 12:55

Bret, obviously, I disagree with that quote, but I share your concern about your children and our grandchildren’s future. We planned very carefully for our future with an eye to leaving a little something for the next generation. I don’t see that happening now. I see everything being confiscated to maintain the left’s majority status.

Am I correct that you agree with Rough’s quote that: “…the elderly are not against the new benefits … they just don’t want to pay for them.”

I’m not sure what that means. We pay for everything. In fact, all the “free” health care stuff we got last year cost us over $12,000. Just yesterday, the pharmacist, who should know better, made a remark about how nice it must be to fill a prescription and pay nothing for it. I don’t think he’ll make that mistake again – his ears must still be ringing from my reply.

Rough, the greatest generation were those who fought in WW2 during the ‘40’s at say approximately age 20. In the 80’s, they were in their fifties and sixties. Are you sure they were rioting? I don’t remember about that.

Bret Thursday, 25 March 2010 at 14:01


It’s an exaggeration to say a “whole” generation is willing to hurt their children, and the specific generation I’m most familiar with are those who are in their early 50s to late 60s (boomers, I guess), who really don’t seem to much care what happens to their children as long as they get theirs.

I know that if my grandparents, who were early beneficiaries of Medicare, knew what a mess it turned out to be, would’ve literally rather died than accepted the benefits.

erp Thursday, 25 March 2010 at 15:39

Your grandparents sound like my kind of people. I didn’t want Medicare either but we had no choice. There was no other insurance available and frankly, I didn’t think it would ever come to this.

I think baby boomers care as much about their kids as any other generation. My kids, ages 45-52, friends and family members in that age group all care deeply about their kids. In fact, they don’t expect to get social security and are setting up their own plans for the future, now, thanks to thugs in charge of our monetary policies, greatly devalued.

It’s my generation I fault for letting lefty crazies destroy our schools and take over the media during the 60’s and 70’s. We were too complacent and well mannered and now our kids are paying for that.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Thursday, 25 March 2010 at 18:35

For erp: The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World / Skousen, W. Cleon:

For many years in the United States there has been a gradual drifting away from the Founding Fathers original success formula. This has resulted in some of their most unique contributions for a free and prosperous society becoming lost or misunderstood. Therefore, there has been a need to review the history and development of the making of America in order to recapture the brilliant precepts which made Americans the first free people in modern times.

In this book, discover the 28 Principles of Freedom our Founding Fathers said must be understood and perpetuated by every people who desire peace, prosperity, and freedom. Learn how adherence to these beliefs during the past 200 years has brought about more progress than was made in the previous 5000 years.

I haven’t read it, but I ran across a very positive review of it, and it sounds like it’s right up your alley.

In the 80’s, they were in their fifties and sixties. Are you sure they were rioting?

Burning things and looting? No. But in the above-quoted excerpt, a U.S. Representative who was, at the time, a quite senior, extremely powerful, very important (and monumentally corrupt) member of Congress met with a group of concerned citizens in their 60s and 70s - and they hurled verbal invective at him, physically tried to prevent him from leaving, and chased him down the street.

Except for the lack of tear gas, it sounds a lot like anarchists at a meeting of the World Trade Organization.

We are becoming more and more a nation of pirates (take what you can, give nothing back). Not a good foundation for civilization.


I too have a pirate mentality. But, like you, I was very reluctantly driven to it by the [many extremely coarse and vulgar expletives] blatant and brazen daylight theft of TRILLIONS of taxpayer dollars by society’s elites - while the authorities have done nothing. NOTHING. (Except for when they’ve aided and abetted, or simply turned pirate themselves.) And America’s middle class seems content to sit placidly by, or dither, when at the very least they ought to be filling stadiums with Tea Party meet-ups1.

So maybe it’s not so much that we became a nation of pirates, as that pirates seized the nation. Maybe we’re already uncivilized, it’s just that the facade hasn’t completely crumbled yet. And what should one do, if all of the cops are on the take, intimidated, or incompetent, and the too-well-fed masses are uninterested or otherwise distracted?

For now, my motto is “I got mine.” I have become a mercenary in the employ of pirates, for unfortunately I don’t have the wherewithal to retire to my country estate, to wait out the troubles to come. But should the serfs ever get tired of having their faces ground in the dirt, I’ll gladly join the Revolution. I just won’t become a martyr for the uncomprehending and uncaring, even if that means that I have to participate in stealing people’s life savings2.

As I see it, if one can’t get clear of the carnage, then the immediate choices are pirate or victim. Hopefully more options will emerge in the fullness of time.

1 Not that I endorse the Tea Party movement, or think that they’ve been very effective, but at least they’re trying, and have gotten attention and support. It’s vaguely positive.

2 And yes, it dishonors me, and yes, it’s cowardice. If I were single, I’d unsheathe my sword, but… I’m not enlightened enough to sacrifice my family’s (relative) safety in an uncertain attempt to rally the weak. I’m only enlightened enough to see that I should.

erp Thursday, 25 March 2010 at 20:13

Rough, thanks for the tip on “The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World.” It’s not available on Kindle, but I’ll look for it.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 27 March 2010 at 11:21

Since the U.S. are a center-right nation, the odds of a left-wing agenda being written into the Constitution via a Constitutional convention are zero, zip, zilch, nada, bupkiss.

I have been concerned about the outcome of a Constitutional Convention because even the USA is center-right, in general the people who populate such things and write the agenda are MALists and they, as I have noted, spin out nice sounding bromides while implementing something complete different. My own state, Illinois, has a constitution that suffers from precisely this and stands as an example of what can go wrong.

But AVRAA is likely right that it would be different this time primarily because far more of the American Street would be paying attention and the unsustainability of Socialism can’t be honestly disputed any more.

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