December 24, 2009

Mugged on Christmas Eve

Justin Katz

Of all the aspects of the healthcare debate and legislation that are rightly making Americans shake their heads, I think the schedule is the most egregious and representative. Think about it: The major votes have all been held over the weekend, and the final vote came on the morning before Christmas.

The profundity of that struck me as I drove in to work this morning. No school buses. Light traffic. And massive legislation being voted on — and passed — in the Senate.

This is criminal "leadership," and I don't just mean the new taxes and other ways in which Congress is trying to rob the people whom it's meant to represent. This is a real taste of what citizenship is like in nations that have tipped toward one of those discomfiting descriptions, such as totalitarianism and oligarchy.

The Democrats think they've gotten over the threshold and now can enter a phase of recovery before the next election cycle rolls around. I think they're dramatically overestimating the chances that Americans will treat this matter with their habitual delayed apathy and forget about it. It's too much. Too dumb. Too sneaky. And if we let this go, we might as well get fitted for shackles.

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The schedule became what it was partly because of the opposition's ( Republican's) strategy. They wanted to make this legislation the test case on Obama. You got to live with it now. Chew on that. Republicans could have offered a different plan that people could consider. But failure is what was sought. Lets hope we have some success for a change. Happy Holidays everyone!

Posted by: David S at December 24, 2009 5:49 PM

Your piece is boilerplate journalism. Your constituency may eat up the superficial approach to the way you evaluate the legislation. I would ask any open minded person, if there is one around here, to research the health and happiness of Europeans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders (i.e. all the higher taxed liberal democracies' citizens) and compare with that of Americans.

It's a bit tricky and takes a little time but may repay your readers with a revelation or two.

Posted by: burtmail at December 24, 2009 7:45 PM

A couple of adjustments, David.

1.) The reason the vote was held on Christmas Eve Day is because Democrats are desperate to push this legislation through as quickly as possible.

2.) Congressional Republicans offered several alternative bills. Many members of the public have been calling for real reform: tort reform and elimination of state barriers to purchasing health insurance. None of these alternates made any headway because Democrats were not in the least interested.

David, maybe you can answer a question. Setting aside the fatal flaws in this and the House bill, why the desperate rush to pass them? Why can't this be done at a prudent pace, especially in view of the fact that the "good" parts of the bill don't take effect for four whole years?

Posted by: Monique at December 24, 2009 7:52 PM


To amplify one of Monique's points: How did Republican opposition prevent votes from being taken on regular weekdays?



Because it won't likely prove fruitful, I'll put aside the points that I would make about the actual medical services of the countries you list and focus on myriad ways in which the United States is different.

No country that you list has nearly the size (by various measures) and diversity (by various measures) of the United States. Moreover, the United States has been subsidizing the rest of the West in multiple ways — notably in defense spending and its research climate.

Wait and see. The specific provisions of this legislation (as thus far revealed) will make Americans poorer, and the changing relationship of the government to its people will destroy that which has made our nation special throughout its relatively short existence. Perhaps if you prefer the other Western countries, you should emigrate.

Posted by: Justin Katz at December 24, 2009 8:59 PM

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to Anchor Rising and all commenters!

Nothing is perfect on the first go around! A base is created to build upon and problem areas are refined and continuously fixed until you have a near perfect product that appeases most all.

There is plenty of work to be continued on this health bill!

It's Christmas; the President, family and entourage, as they have for many past years, will be arriving in his home city Honolulu for a short vacation to recharge with the spirit of aloha. He will pay respects to departed family members and maybe get in a round or two of golf, shoot some hoops with old school buddies, maybe do some body surfing, visit his favorite restaurants and eat local Hawaiian plate lunches, shave ice, loco moco, spam msubi, poke maybe some saimin and chicken or pork katsu!. He's a local boy and we cut him slack while he's here in Honolulu. He'll be renting the same 5 bedroom house as the last time he was here.

Honolulu is a profound place to live and visit; it's the only place in the world where you can visit the start of USA WW-II and the end of USA WW-II in the same place. There are a lot of emotions here we live with!

Christmas day waves on the north shore are projected to be 40 ft. so we'll be on the beach after opening presents.

Meanwhile the press corps will be headquartered 30 min. away on internationally known Waikiki Beach in the Historic Westin Moana Surfrider Resort Hotel where the rich and famous stay trying to make sense of our cold Hawaii winter 80 degree daytime and 68 degree nighttime weather innovating reporting every move the president makes on the other side of the Koolau Mountain range out of sight and trying to look normal on TV while basking in the sun on a warm tropical beach sipping cool refreshing drinks and consuming world class gourmet cuisine. The mainland news media is beginning to like it here (maybe because our night clubs, discos and bars don't close till 4 AM)!

Fireworks for New Years eve will be spectacular across the entire island with some fireworks displays starting at 6 PM and rest going off at 12 midnight for the big bang and then we have to do it all over again 2 more times for Japanese and Chinese new year!

Posted by: Ken at December 24, 2009 9:31 PM

"I would ask any open minded person, if there is one around here, to research the health and happiness of Europeans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders (i.e. all the higher taxed liberal democracies' citizens) and compare with that of Americans."

The bottom line for me in the difference between the US and those countries is a point that someone else has made on this site before. You can not have national health care and open borders or not enforce immigration laws. Try seeing what happens when you illegally immigrate to or overstay your legal welcome in any of those countries. They put you in jail. In the US, we give you free health care.

We can have national health care or we can have open borders. Just not both.

Posted by: Patrick at December 24, 2009 9:58 PM

I forgot to mention Hawaii as a state is the most ethnically diverse state in the nation.

Also, Hawaii is the only state closest to providing universal healthcare to the total state population at about 98% total state population covered by some form of health insurance.

My total state-wide taxes (income tax, sales, fuel taxes and property taxes) for all goods and services have dropped from over $9,000 a year in RI to about $1,500 in HI and I moved all banking accounts out of RI and am just converting my healthcare from RI to HI which will increase my savings due to substantial lower monthly rate payments for same service and quality.

Posted by: Ken at December 24, 2009 10:33 PM

As a nation, we get what we deserve.

Pity no one can ever measure the loss of value to society of misapplied incentives. Only when we reach the ultimate socialism that Obama is striving for will we know.

When the government decides that your particular possible illness does not merit a timely MRI, then perhaps will we realize.

At least people are not being killed when they reach age 30. Yet.

Posted by: Israel S at December 25, 2009 7:50 AM

Happy Christmas - enjoy the breathless rhetoric as comic relief.
May the conference committee remove the Louisiana and Nebraska giveaways. OK, Ben and Mary, you had your rings kissed - let's get real. You too, Stupak Shakur.

Posted by: rhody at December 25, 2009 2:03 PM

"Perhaps if you prefer the other Western countries, you should emigrate"

Burt..May I recomend Norway

Posted by: Erik in Norway at December 25, 2009 7:15 PM

What is the difference between a bribe and "compromise"?

Posted by: Chris at December 25, 2009 7:42 PM

A compromise:

"I've got a problem with policy X, because I prefer policy Y."

"OK. How about we agree to X/2 + Y/2?"

A bribe:

"I've got a problem with policy X, because I prefer policy Y."

"OK. How about we give your state a few hundred million dollars?"

Posted by: Justin Katz at December 25, 2009 7:47 PM

In obtaining Senator Nelson's vote for this bill, the Senate leadership has added a third item (not sure what it's called) to Justin's list:

"I have a problem with Policy Z."

"That's fine. Vote for Policy Z and we'll exempt your state from implementing it."

Posted by: Monique at December 26, 2009 8:05 AM

A man who dares to barrens everyone hour of time has not discovered the value of life. - Jake


Posted by: Jake at May 14, 2010 9:52 AM
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