Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Road to Neo-Feudalism

I obsessed over Obama's Facebook page yesterday where he got hammered, I mean absolutely hammered in the comments to these ridiculous 'Call your Senator to support health care' and 'We can't allow out differences.....' horseshit wall posts.

Facebook | Barack Obama

A true sign that he just pissed away the youth vote which is crucial to Democratic success.

So, post after post after post of just taking Obama to task, then.....

Along comes Jennifer:

"Jennifer *****
What happened to respect for the President? Like what he is doing or not he is still our President! A health care reform bill is not the problem with America, it's the people who think watching CNN and going to a few town hall meeting makes them know everything about everything.hey, CNN watching know it all, if you know so much about it then why are you bitching about it on Facebook? If you are so smart why are you not a congressmen or senator? There is a reason he is the President and you are not. So how about you all have respect for your Commander and Chief. Maybe if people would start respecting others again America wouldn't be in the shape it is in. It all comes down to common courtesy. Not public options or whatever other bullshit you people like to bitch about."

"If you are so smart, why are you not a congressmen or senator"... indeed.

Smart enough? Maybe.

Just not evil enough.

And, damn, if we'd just known about the R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Bless her heart.


Here's a dose of the tone of 80% of the comment from O's FB page:

Your support of this bill is the equivalent of Bush proclaiming "Mission Accomplished" before the bodycount really started to rise.

What's going on in the Senate is a disgrace.

Lieberman is a disgrace. ... See More

Squandering the majority we gave you all in 06 is a disgrace.

The constant capitulation, under the guise of bipartisanship, is a disgrace.

And forcing 30 million more Americans to purchase insurance under threat of penalty, without making the system work better for the public - and not the insurance companies - is a disgrace. This is not why we elected you!

Thank jeebus for Markos.

Daily Kos: 20 answers


And this has been one of my main arguments all along and in its current state, the bill FAILS:

Economic Scene - If Health Reform Fails, America’s Innovation Gap Will Grow -

"In the cradle of American innovation, workers are making career choices based on co-payments, pre-existing conditions and other minutiae of health insurance. They are not necessarily making decisions based on what would be best for their careers and, in turn, for the American economy — that is, “where their skills match and where they can grow the most,” as another Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Cyriac Roeding, says. Health insurance, Mr. Roeding adds, “is distorting the decision-making.”

It is impossible to know how much economic damage these distortions are causing, but they clearly aren’t good. Economic research suggests that more than 1.5 million workers who would otherwise have switched jobs fail to do so every year because of fears about health insurance. Some of them would have moved to companies where they could have contributed more, and others would have started their own businesses."

Emptywheel � Health Care on the Road to Neo-Feudalism

I believe that if the Senate health care bill passes as Joe Lieberman has demanded it–with no Medicare buy-in or public option–it will be a significant step further on our road to neo-feudalism. As such, I find it far too dangerous to our democracy to pass–even if it gives millions (perhaps unaffordable) subsidies for health care.

20% of your labor belongs to Aetna

Consider, first of all, this fact. The bill, if it became law, would legally require a portion of Americans to pay more than 20% of the fruits of their labor to a private corporation in exchange for 70% of their health care costs.

Consider a family of 4 making $66,150–a family at 300% of the poverty level and therefore, hypothetically, at least, “subsidized.” That family would be expected to pay $6482.70 (in today’s dollars) for premiums–or $540 a month. But that family could be required to pay $7973 out of pocket for copays and so on. So if that family had a significant–but not catastrophic–medical event, it would be asked to pay its insurer almost 22% of its income to cover health care. Several months ago, I showed why this was a recipe for continued medical bankruptcy (though the numbers have changed somewhat). But here’s another way to think about it. Senate Democrats are requiring middle class families to give the proceeds of over a month of their work to a private corporation–one allowed to make 15% or maybe even 25% profit on the proceeds of their labor.

It’s one thing to require a citizen to pay taxes–to pay into the commons. It’s another thing to require taxpayers to pay a private corporation, and to have up to 25% of that go to paying for luxuries like private jets and gyms for the company CEOs.

It’s the same kind of deal peasants made under feudalism: some proportion of their labor in exchange for protection (in this case, from bankruptcy from health problems, though the bill doesn’t actually require the private corporations to deliver that much protection).In this case, the federal government becomes an appendage to do collections for the corporations.


Democrats Lash Out At Obama Over Health Care Disappointments:

"Congressional Democrats are starting to voice their anger at President Obama over the way health care legislation has been compromised, blaming him for not fighting harder.

'The president keeps listening to Rahm Emanuel,' said Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). 'No public option, no extending Medicare to 55, no nothing, an excise tax, God!' he exclaimed about the Senate health care bill to Roll Call. 'The insurance lobby is taking over.'

'The White House has been useless,' Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.), the chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, told Politico. Referencing Senate delays, he said, 'It's ridiculous, and the Obama administration is sitting on the sidelines. That's nonsense.'"

The Audacity to Ask a Question | techPresident:

"It's not every morning that you run into one of the most powerful men in the country in relatively intimate and unguarded surroundings, so today as I was boarding the shuttle down to DC and saw White House senior advisor David Axelrod seated by a window just behind the first class section, I decided I had to seize the moment. My parents gave me 'change the world' disease when I was young, after all, and I probably will never shake it.

The aisle was full in front of me anyway and thus I was literally standing across from him. Knowing I might only have a minute, I quickly pondered what to say.

'Is this 'change we can believe in'?' I asked. He didn't respond at first so I repeated the question to make clear I was talking to him. It was his slogan, after all, that he and the rest of the Obama '08 campaign, had offered to the nation."


If this is the only chance for reform in generations, wouldn't it have made more sense to fight for a truly comprehensive bill that actually solved the problem? If you've only got one bite of the apple every couple of decades, it seems remarkably foolish not to really go for broke. To end up with a bill like this as your once in a generation liberal accomplishment is about as inspiring as a Bobby Jindal speech.

And Obama can say that you're getting a lot, but also saying that it "covers everyone," as if there's a big new benefit is a big stretch. Nothing will have changed on that count except changing the law to force people to buy private insurance if they don't get it from their employer. I guess you can call that progressive, but that doesn't make it so. In fact, mandating that all people pay money to a private interest isn't even conservative, free market or otherwise. It's some kind of weird corporatism that's very hard to square with the common good philosophy that Democrats supposedly espouse.

Nobody's "getting covered" here. After all, people are already "free" to buy private insurance and one must assume they have reasons for not doing it already. Whether those reasons are good or bad won't make a difference when they are suddenly forced to write big checks to Aetna or Blue Cross that they previously had decided they couldn't or didn't want to write. Indeed, it actually looks like the worst caricature of liberals: taking people's money against their will, saying it's for their own good. --- and doing it without even the cover that FDR wisely insisted upon with social security, by having it withdrawn from paychecks. People don't miss the money as much when they never see it.

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