Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Wrong Questions

Dean Baker raises a point for those who ask if we are better off than we were four years ago, using an analogy of a burning house. He says the question is like asking the fireman if the house is better off with the fire put out or while it was burning, and that a better questions would be to ask did the fireman bring enough hose, or was his hose big enough, did they have a big enough crew, and was the water pressure sufficient?

Colonel Lang said in a comment at his own place Sic Semper Tyrannis of people like Dean Baker that, “Academics understand little of reality. They are engaged in unending mutual mental masturbation with their colleagues and by and large have never been in the fray.”

Having once credited him with that masterpiece, I am going to use it repeatedly as if it were my own, because it is a work of sheer genius. I wish I could say that our colonel is typical of our military mind, but I fear such might not be the case.

In any case, Baker’s put down of the question fails on several fronts. For one thing, a house that is burned out and waterlogged is hardly in better shape than one that is actively on fire, so the answer to “Is it in better shape than when you got here?” is obviously “No” and he’s hardly helping the Democrats very much.

Nor does it help Democrats to suggest that they brought a knife to a gunfight with, “Did you have a sufficient crew and were your hoses big enough?” I’m not going to go where you’re thinking with the thing about the size of their hoses.

An even better question than Dean Baker’s ones about the firefighters’ equipment would ask a question or two about their actions, which he did not suggest. Why, one might ask, did they not rescue the homeowners from the burning house, but instead leave in there to suffer whatever fate they might? Why instead of rescuing the homeowners, did they focus on trying to save the structure? Because that was the part on which the bank held the mortgage? And finally, what was the point of setting up deck chairs for the rescued homeowners to sit in when you weren’t, you know, saving the homeowners?

Sort of like, why are you making it possible for people to buy health insurance when you aren’t working on making it possible for them to have incomes with which to pay for that insurance?


bruce said...

Because if they "can't afford insurance" or their employer doesn't have a plan, they have medicare, medicaid, and federal subsidies. That should cover it, according to them. Of course, that is no guarantee of actually obtaining health insurance or even health care.

Of course, they live in ivory towers (or office buildings, domed halls, etc.) and really don't know how the populace lives day to day. And "universal health care" has been a pipe dream to most politicians since FDR. The Dems thought they could push that through with the Great Hope Obama, so they squandered what political capital they had doing that, and it will be his legacy, good or bad.

bruce said...

I read the part in SST about presidential powers vs CEO's. Interesting points, because so many people get the CEO, Chief Executive, Commander in Chief things mixed up.

I think that why so many politicians get things messed up or live in the clouds, because they have no business or working experience. Or if they did , it was so long ago...

Reminds me of Ms. Clinton in her campaign in 2008, where she said "I'll manage this economy back to health" - to which I was rolling on the floor laughing in its absudity. So many are clueless...

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