Monday, January 17, 2011

"A Still, Small Voice..." Part 2

Paul Krugman has another column on politics, and despite Obama’s pleas for “civil discourse,” his request that we discuss differing ideas without making personal attacks on each other, Krugman continues to use the same methods of arguing ideas that the right does. He accuses the other side of dishonesty and bad faith.

First is the manner in which he attacks the Republican analysis of medical spending costs which it claims are attributable to “health care reform,” the Medicare “doc fix” and similar costs. He presents his side of the argument, that they would have happened with or without reform, and claims by implication that the Republican position is that it is reform causing them.

He fails to present the actual position taken by Republicans, which is that if reform had been done properly these costs would not have happened, an argument that is not entirely without merit. He also doesn’t present their intention to kill the reform and replace it with one that will better serve the purpose of bringing down the cost of health care.

I’m not defending Republicans here, because they do not have the cohesion or means to carry out their proposals, and a great many of them are more focused on the first part of that than on the second part. They have not presented any replacement reform and probably do not have one; almost certainly will not be able to come up with one. That does not mean that they are bad people who have the intention of watching millions of Americans suffer without health care as Paul Krugman states in his column.

And it’s not about the money. As I tried to explain in my last column, the modern G.O.P. has been taken over by an ideology in which the suffering of the unfortunate isn’t a proper concern of government, and alleviating that suffering at taxpayer expense is immoral, never mind how little it costs.

I would like for him to show me one YouTube clip of a Republican saying anything even close to that. This is precisely the kind of ad hominem argument that President Obama has asked us to stop, and Krugman has continued this shrill tone in two consecutive columns after that speech.

“The right” is not alone in ignoring the President’s appeal for more civil discourse.

Update: In case it is unclear, no, I do not support the Republican plan to repeal "health care reform." I think that the reform was extraordinarily badly done, that it is more of a gift to corporations than it is a populist reform, and that it barely touches on the issue of the cost of health care, actually increasing it in the short term. The delay in implementation is politically self serving and is unconscionable. But it does do some good things and those things should not be abandoned.

Update 2: Oops, I added a link to Krugman's column.

1 comment:

bruce said...

Gosh, where do I start? I support Pres. Obama in his quest for civil discourse. How apropos on MLK day. Shame on the lefties and righties who demogogue and screech for the sake of hearing themselves. Rodney King was a flawed individual, but he did have one thing to say: "Can't we all just get along?"

Repealing the health Insurance Reform thing is a bad idea, precisely because they have nothing better or even anything to replace it with. They better have something to back that repeal up with or the effort will fall flat before it even starts. It's surely purely political anyway. but still... Reminds me of the car tax that was repealed when Arnold took office. There was a lot of furor over it, and it was a factor in Arnie's election. They didn't have anything to replace it with, and that just made a bad budget problem worse, and now they are looking to do it again.

I agree with the 'update', the delay was ill advised, should not have been done, was a bone to throw to the corporation, over and above anything else, and doesn;t really do anything to control costs or educate anyone about them. But - with all that there are good things in it that should not be thrown out simply becasue the rest of it is flawed. Should have been done right in the first place, but that was a long shot at best. Now, fix it, don't repeal it.

Post a Comment