Sunday, May 17, 2009

Remember This When The Pundits Say The Country Can’t Afford The People by Anthony McCarthy

You can count on hearing it in some form every time you turn on the TV or radio, The People are just a frill whose welfare is an unfordable luxury in these hard times. Some things don’t seem to change, we’re too expensive in good and bad times and the times in between. Right now it’s health care, you turn on Washington Week in Review or any of the other insider blather sessions and that’s the almost universal conclusion. Not one they reach, the one they start out with.

Well, as anyone who has any capacity to think should be able to figure out, The People of the United States get very expensive health care, the most expensive in the world. It’s excellent, if you can afford it, if you can’t you don’t get it. A large percentage of that expense is because The People have been duped into letting a massive, expensive and corrupt insurance industry insert itself between them and the medical industry. That industry, like all others in this country, then uses its enormous financial resources to buy political influence to corrupt the congress, the administration and, one could strongly suspect, the judiciary, into allowing them to steal even more money from us. If you doubt they have the media in their pocket take note of who buys the time during just about any “news” show on TV. And as always with a corrupt elite, elegant insider DC media has never smelled a big heap of money they didn’t want to cosy up to and whisper nice things about.

Other countries with elected governments have cut out the insurance industry and the government, under much more direct control of The People there has filled that position in health care, in just about every case, it would be political suicide for politicians in most of those countries to come out and propose an American style medical industry. Those guys don’t seem to get to form governments. If you know of a case where that isn’t true, I’d be very surprised to hear it. Though some of them, no doubt would like to sell their People down the river, they can’t come out and say it.

Here it’s different, Ronald Reagan got his big start in politics by helping instill a paranoid fear of “socialized medicine”. Harry and Louise are just two of his bastard kids. You could point out that he was a paid pimp for the insurance-medical brothel, but you’re not supposed to tell the truth about St. Ronald. One thing that is often said is that he ruined the Soviet Union into collapse through an arms race, forcing the Soviet government to spend itself into destroying itself. That’s a line that is often heard, though there are some muted rebuttals to the official version. Interestingly, it appears to make sense to some of the opponents of the present Russian government who are worried that recent history is repeating itself. Russia’s Military Budget Sucks the Nation’s Lifeblood

The argument here isn’t in whether or not this piece of Ronald Reagan hagiography is accurate, it’s in what it shows us about the American establishment. The same media, especially the DC based talking shop you’ll hear all over TV this morning - between pharma commercials - accepts as revealed knowledge both that Reagan forced the Soviet Union into collapse through military spending and that it’s too expensive for The People of the United States to have access to universal health insurance. There just isn’t any money to pay for it. There’s a pretty big hole their story, the United States defense budget, the largest one in the world, by many times is never spoken of as driving us to collapse. Our military expenditures are never seriously consider as being too big, to expensive, unfordable. Apparently the United States military budget through some magic, doesn’t drag down the American economy, and considering how much of a cut the media gets from the military industry, you can see why they might not have noticed*.

Barney Frank, in a little noticed comment in The Nation made this unusually simple observation

When I am challenged by people--not all of them conservative--who tell me that they agree, for example, that we should enact comprehensive universal healthcare but wonder how to pay for it, my answer is that I do not know immediately where to get the funding but I know whom I should ask.

I was in Congress on September 10, 2001, and I know there was no money in the budget at that time for a war in Iraq.

So my answer is that I will go to the people who found the money for that war and ask them if they could find some for healthcare.

Notice the passage I've set off in larger type. Remember that when you hear the media recite from their lessons, "Where is the money for health care going to come from".

In the same piece he said:

The math is compelling: if we do not make reductions approximating 25 percent of the military budget starting fairly soon, it will be impossible to continue to fund an adequate level of domestic activity even with a repeal of Bush's tax cuts for the very wealthy.

In other words, American military spending is ruining us.

The congress found the money to pay kill people in Iraq, a war the corporate media helped to whip up. Many of the same people who you will hear on TV today, many of the same media organizations who were falling all over themselves to lie us into invading Iraq are the same ones who are saying that the country can’t afford for its People go see a doctor in time to avoid an even more expensive health emergency or in time to save their lives.

What the country can’t afford is a lying, privileged, elite media that dupes us into living like corporate serfs who they can be sold and disposed of when we’ve had everything stolen and can’t produce any more profit for them.

* When faced with this kind of argument the media will immediately shift from talking about dollars to talking about percentage of GDP. Changing the units of measure, depending on the propaganda point being promoted, is a practice I first noticed coming from conservative think tanks during the Reagan administration. It’s become pervasive through out the media.