Thanks, Krugman, for weighing in w/ the numbers. Here’s what Everyone’s Favorite Keynesian predicts for public insurance stats:
Kaiser Family Foundation
Guys, this is a major program to aid lower- and lower-middle-income families. How is that not a big progressive victory?
For people in the center who worry, as my colleague David Brooks puts it, that there may be unintended consequences if you “centrally regulate 17 percent of the economy”: um, it’s a little late for that.
First of all, government insurance programs — Medicare, Medicaid, and smaller programs like the VHA, already pay more bills than private insurance companies:
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
And even the private insurance is overwhelmingly provided through employers — and employment-based insurance is only tax-free unless it obeys extensive regulations. Not coincidentally, those regulations resemble, in a qualitative sense, the goals of the new health reform: employers have to offer the same policy to all their employees, which in effect rules out discrimination based on medical history and subsidizes lower-paid workers.
The point? There’s no free market now, so why are conservatives screaming? And the answer, of course, is: Everything happens at the margins. If there’s no free market now, let’s move towards healthy competition, rather than away from it. Every step away from competition is a step restricting liberty, kids!
Conservatism — at least identifying as “conservative” — is on the rebound:
Thus far in 2009, 40% of Americans interviewed in national Gallup Poll surveys describe their political views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal. This represents a slight increase for conservatism in the U.S. since 2008, returning it to a level last seen in 2004. The 21% calling themselves liberal is in line with findings throughout this decade, but is up from the 1990s.
At this tail end of my second week sans Internet or cable at my (new!) home, I’ve turned wholly to newspapers for my daily bread and have realized some important lessons.
First, what were we thinking? We are the conservatives, the denizens of all things tried and true. We are nostalgic for better times. We seek the established and the good and, while we may improve, we do not eschew the bases for what has proven effective. Many of my generation gave up on newspapers because there’s no point in paying $1.25 for news that’s marginally free online. But that’s not how conservatives roll. We believe in paying for quality and stimulating the economy, not saving trees and promoting a blogger whose contribution to the debate links to a MySpace page w/ a Twilight background. Of course news online can also be quality and stimulates the economy — I’d just like to remind conservatives to remember the source of our information. Be rigorous in your thinking and avoid having to be vigorous in your backpedaling!
Then consider the scope. Printed periodicals condense the metro, the community, and the world into those noteworthy stories of the day. Tailor your reading, but it’s just lazy to ignore opposition. Formal news sources not only require rigorous thinking about stated presumptions, they also expose weak arguments and diverse points of view. While it’s easy to dismiss this as “bar bar”-ism, that’s pure intellectual sloth. I get honing one’s own argument, but tailoring a thought process free from diversity is absurd — and such the unfortunate trend in our generation. Newspapers make it easier to buck that trend and avoid an ugly fate!
Finally, nurture your own brain. We have all become latte-sipping op-ed readers. It’s easy to forget that what we are reading is indeed an opinion and not The News. When we prefer unedited, unverified dither to news with a backbone we ignore our educations and blithely waste time. While the blogosphere’s din may be tempting it is not Our Community. I’ve written before about how critical it is for us to pay attention to local news. Indeed, it took a Senator from another state to point out that Alexandria should not be forced to host the Gitmo detainees in town! Hello, kiddos: taxation without representation, where representation begins w/ one’s representation of his own interests, which in turn requires education as to what interests he should protect.
I <3 blogs and I <3 the Internet. But after reconnecting with news over which I have no control I’m motivated to keep up with my community and keep reading diverse opinions. I’m re-committed, like Juliet in Romeo’s last hours, to the newspaper.
Insulted by the WaPo calling Sotomayor “Souter w/ a salsa beat,” Andrew Cline asks: What if she were white?
Of the nine paragraphs in the New York Times endorsement, five mention her race and sex. Were Sotomayor a white male, the Times would have 55 percent less to say about him.
Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus wrote yesterday that Sotomayor was “Souter with a salsa beat.” Because Sotomayor is Hispanic we can assume she comes “with a salsa beat”? How is that not an ethnic stereotype? What if Sotomayor doesn’t like salsa music? If she were black, could we say she is Souter with a hip-hop beat?
See my opinion on the race stuff here. More immediately I think Sotomayor is qualified, I just don’t like her opinions. If she didn’t bring this reggaeton to the table the Times would likely focus those five paragraphs on her jurisprudence. And that would likely be a much stronger indictment than all of this “affirmative action” finger-pointing.
Like Obama, Sotomayor is an eminently qualified candidate in a sea of similarly qualified individuals. Both offer inspiring stories that put them over the edge. I see nothing wrong with that. I agree that an inspiring story brings more to the table than a little extra Latin on a resume — which, incidentally, appears in droves on the resumes of both BHO and SMS.
I’ll say it again: Focusing on someone’s jurisprudence and record carries a lot more weight than focusing on his or her race. Conservatives should stop engaging in these mini-trials re whether “diversity” is criteria enough and should start discussing those criteria that are actually, empirically relevant. The latter category is indictment enough. The former is not. Eye on the ball, people! This kind of issue blurring is what fractured conservatives in the first place!
Filed under Law, Politics