I have been reading this morning and it seems that Joe Liberman has won and the rest of us have been screwed--at least those of us who need some kind of positive movement on the health care front. He has scuttled the proposal that those over the age of 55 be able to buy into Medicare. I don't know how many out there know anything of European history, specifically Polish history before Russia, Prussia and Austria divided it between them in the 19th century. Their political situation reminds me somewhat of what we have now. They had a king who was essentially powerless and the major ruling body was an assembly of the nobles. Each noble had a 'librum veto' meaning any individual nobleman could derail any piece of legislation simply by getting up on his hind legs and yelling 'Veto!' Does anyone else see the similarities here?
Good Wednesday morning to you all. It is cold but the sun will soon be up so it should be cheerful even if a bit frigid.
Continuing the thought from yesterday: I saw several headlines concerning Obama's meeting with the bankers that asked the same essential question. What can Obama actually do to get those guys to fall in with the program? I think the answer is not a hell of a lot. Now that they look healthy and are feeling frisky they think they can go back to the 'old normal' of business while acknowledging the 'new normal' to justify doing what they please. I saw one on CNBC yesterday I would love to have knocked on the head with a 2x4 that being the best way to get the attention of either man or mule (as my grandmother and mother have often said.) He asked if we expected his bank to make loans to unqualified applicants. After years of making loans to anyone who still had a pulse (and trying to figure out how to get around that requirement) they now self-righteously talk about qualifications.
Obama, like the Polish king, has limited power to do anything. Unfortunately, I think Obama is also hamstrung by his own inclinations. He wanted bipartisanship not acknowledging (at least publicly) that bipartisanship requires TWO parties willing to work together. He has never had that. But he doesn't have any plan b now that plan a is mired in deadlock.
This little obscenity caught my attention this morning. No it isn't the latest celebrity misbehaving. It is the IRS giving Citigroup and other companies who have received bailouts a pass on some billions in taxes they would other wise have paid. This is a spiral that will not end. We give them money (to make loans, which is supposedly their business, but which they haven't done, blaming unqualified applicants for their reluctance). Now they are trying to pay back that money but are getting tax breaks??? So, essentially, they are paying us back with foregone tax revenues??? I have a number of expletives but I will leave those to your imagination.
The DailyKos has an excellent analysis of the Senate health care bill as it now stands. And I think the conclusion is also right on: kill the damned thing. For years I have seen AARP and other groups grab what ever they could get, however little or ineffective, in the vain hope that they will be able to get closer to what they wanted at a later date. We saw the effects of that with the drug assistance legislation. The drug companies made out like bandits by quadrupling their prices before the legislation went into effect and have continued to make out by raising prices each year. It did nothing to contain costs.
John Aravosis at Americablog sums up the Federal legislative situation very well. And it is why so many are so disappointed with the Obama Administration. We voted for change and found, instead, a continuation of the Bush policies we rejected at the polls. But I have another question: what will happen when political authority collapses? When the government no longer has legitimacy? I don't mean that in the legal sense. I mean what will happen when a significant number of people simply don't see the government as worthy of respect and obedience or worse actively try to minimize its effect? I think you can answer that for yourself.