Saturday, August 01, 2009

GOP Nincompoopery


Republicans Lying to Old People About Euthanasia, Robots

Bob Cesca, July 29, 2009:

There appears to be a simple two-pronged strategy for killing health care reform.

One of those prongs involves, of course, delaying reform until it's too late. If it's not passed by the end of the year, there won't be the political balls to do so because of the fast approaching 2010 midterms when members of Congress will be much more focused on raising money (health care industry money) and pandering to voters.

Another reason for delaying health care reform is it gives the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats plenty of extra time to inject their special cocktail of mind-bending crazy into the discourse and make it stick, furthering both the current delay while also eroding any voter impetus to pick up the issue again after the midterms. That'd be prong number two.

Not a single dose of the aforementioned "mind-bending crazy" actually holds up when run through even the most cursory fact-checking scrutiny, and, in every statement, the obstructionists trafficking in these lies further underscore their already obvious contradictions and ideological hypocrisy. [...]

Yes, if you believe what these cranks are selling, the Obama administration is engaged in an elaborate plot to rid the nation of its burdensome population of old people. All this fluff about a public option, all the debate about reducing costs and making health insurance more affordable is merely subterfuge in the White House's scheme to impose a final solution to the nation's obvious elderly problem.

Seriously, this is a legitimate argument being used in mainstream Republican circles right now. [...]

How many more examples of GOP insanity must we enumerate before the aforementioned Democrats stop taking seriously the nincompoopery on the right? Is there no level of ridiculousness too intolerable before enough is enough? [...]

And they're getting away with it because, despite their utter lack of seriousness, they continue to be granted untold latitude and legitimacy through this inexplicable Democratic bipartisanship deference (not to mention a wide berth from the establishment press), while peddling an obvious lie. And then, next week, there will be another one. And another one. Until healthcare reform is dead in the water. [...]

Another serious question here is: Are the Republicans knowingly lying to senior citizens, or are they just morons who believe anything they hear on the Rush Limbaugh show? (Answer: Both.)

The Perpetual Republican War on Medicare

Jon Perr, July 20, 2009:
Even as Republicans wage their new war against the latest efforts at health care reform, they are still fighting the last one. 44 years after the passage of Medicare, Republicans leaders like Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) are attacking Democratic proposals by blasting the popular health system for America's elderly. Sadly for the GOP, Medicare's proven success in reducing poverty among the elderly and its strong support from beneficiaries belies Price's claim that "nothing has had a greater negative effect on the delivery of health care than the federal government's intrusion into medicine through Medicare."

GOP Health Plan Is Modeled on Banking Deregulation

Ian Millhiser, July 30, 2009:
Apparently incapable of coming up with a single new idea, House Republicans plan to release a health plan today which is plagiarized almost entirely from the McCain-Palin health plan that voters soundly rejected last November. Amazingly, the “new” GOP plan even lifts McCain’s widely-panned proposal to deregulate the health insurance industry in exactly the same way the banking industry was deregulated over the last several decades. [...]

The choice is clear. President Obama has promised to cut health care costs, expand coverage and eliminate discrimination against Americans with preexisting conditions. Conservatives have a very different vision. They think that insurers “don’t need to be ‘kept honest’ by the government,” and they plan to dismantle many of the existing laws which Americans rely on to ensure that their medical conditions are covered. We have already seen the cost of bank deregulation on the nation’s economy; it is truly mind boggling that conservatives want to do the same thing to health care.

The Republicans Can't Afford for America to Succeed: That's Why They Oppose the Government Option

Mark Karlin, July 30, 2009:
The goal of Wall Street in terms of consumers is to drive people into debt.

Given that America has been a nation that has experienced a steady decline in producing real "things," our biggest product now -- by far -- is debt and the interest consumers pay on it. As some perceptive economists have pointed out, the stagnant and disappearing wages of the American worker have been replaced with staggering debt. And on this debt, we pay interest that goes to Wall Street -- where they gamble it away -- after buying off enough senators and representatives to ensure that they, in the words of Assistant Majority Leader Senator Dick Durbin, control Capitol Hill.

Therefore, if everybody is insured for health care, that means there will be billions of dollars in less debt for banks to charge usurious interest rates on.

Are you beginning to get the picture? [...]

The gilded, fantasy lifestyle enticingly portrayed in advertising for credit cards is financed by consumer debt at soaring interest rates and penalty fees. What workers and middle class managers should be getting in salary increases is now charged away and borrowed, thus making Wall Street fatter and more capable of taking on higher risk wagers at the financial gambling table.

So, if America succeeds in providing health care to nearly all its citizens, it cuts off one more avenue of personal debt. (True reform would also shift unnecessary profit on the part of the health care insurance companies into savings in the healthc are system, which is equally abhorrent a thought to the fat wallets of Capitol Hill.)

Republicans and the Blue Dog RepubliCrats need Americans to fail in order to ensure that Wall Street can continue its lavish, reckless lifestyle. And ensuring that means that the campaign contributions keep flowing into the coffers of Max Baucus and company.

It's one heck of a racket, a legalized fleecing scheme.

New GOP health plan creates opening for WH, Dems

Jed Lewison, July 31, 2009:
Yesterday, with little fanfare, Republicans finally introduced legislation putting down on paper exactly what they think health care reform should look like.

The GOP's "Empower Patients First Act," sponsored by Republican House Study Committee Chairman Tom Price, is a $700 billion giveaway to the health insurance industry and its introduction creates a huge opening for the White House and congressional Democrats in the health reform debate. It has three main elements:
  1. Health insurance deregulation. The bill would deregulate the insurance market, dismantling state-level consumer protections and allowing insurance giants to sell their plans nationwide without fear of oversight. (Edit, 9:41AM: The problem here is that the GOP plan creates an unregulated national market, unlike the Democratic proposal for a national insurance exchange, which would create a national market, but with consumer protections.)

  2. Subsidizing private health insurance. The bill would give private health insurance subsidies to lower-income individuals and families. This sounds good at first, but subsidies in the absence of other reforms will simply increase the cost of health insurance for everybody else, leading to another inflationary spiral in health care.

  3. No comprehensive plan to pay for plan. In order to fund subsidies, the bill calls for a 1% annual cut in Federal discretionary spending each year for the next decade, yielding about $120 billion. Although this would result in major across-the-board cuts in federal spending, it still leaves nearly $600 billion unfunded. Republicans say they can find "efficiencies" in the health care system to cover that $600 billion shortfall, including malpractice reform, but fail to offer specifics, suggesting the legislation would dramatically increase the deficit.
In sum, the Republican health bill would be a disaster for ordinary Americans, but it's the health insurance industry's dream. It slashes consumer-protection regulations, it increases health care costs by subsidizing private insurance while simultaneously deregulating it, and it would create another explosion of federal debt. [...]

For some reason, even though the public isn't buying it, Republicans have managed to maintain the appearance that they are winning the debate on health reform. What better way to reboot the narrative than to knock GOPers flat on their feet by forcing them to defend their own legislative proposal?

It's true that the House will be in recess next week, but that doesn't mean cable tv, newspapers, or online media are shutting down. In fact, political reporters will be hungry for a good story. Why not give it to them?

This week, Republicans made a big strategic mistake by giving Democrats a juicy target to attack during the August recess. Next week, they should start paying the price.

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