Thursday, December 24, 2009

Krugman and health care

Paul Krugman considers health care reform "a disappointing, flawed bill — and that it’s also a progressive triumph."

Krugman is correct at least that we should pass the bill — it's better than nothing, and a smaller-than-expected gain is acceptable in a sense that a smaller-than-expected loss (e.g. the 2006 Iraq war funding debacle) never is. But other than that, it's hardly a progressive "triumph"; it shows merely that progressives are not losing as quickly as they might. It's the fourth quarter, we're down by 14, and we settled for a field goal. Yeah, I won't give up the 3 points, but this is not how to win the game.

The problem isn't that the Democrats tried and failed to get real health care reform, the problem isn't even that they blinked in a tough situation. The problem is that they did not fight. The Democrats didn't get the health care reform they won, they got the health care "reform" the Republican party let them have, "reform" that consolidates the power of the capitalist class to control health care and use it, like profit, rent and interest, to extract surplus value from the population.


  1. This outcome had nothing to do with the Republican Party. It was all about the capture of the Democratic Party--particularly its so-called "centrists" or "moderates"--by corporate interests.

  2. I take as a rule of thumb that the Democratic party represents and has always represented the Keynesian faction of capitalist/corporatist interests, and the Republican party represents the Randian/Soylent Green faction.

  3. I know, which is why I was surprised that you thought this bill was driven by Republican positions. It is a victory for the Keynesian capitalist/corporatists, and a failure for the Randian/Soylent Greeners.

    Soylent Green is a great fucking movie. My favorite two scenes are the butcher shop and the dramatic ending: "Soylent Green is PEEEEEOPLE@!@@222!!11!!! AAAARGH!111!!!!"

    And I think that for sheer implausible hokeyness, the sequence where the hero is jumping from truck to truck, etc, to sneak in to the factory wins hands down.

  4. This is a terrible bill by Keynesian standards; it's designed to deliver the least care per person for the most money, and does little to nothing to use health care to enhance the aggregate demand of the working and middle classes -- the increased spending will mostly go to pharma and insurance owners profits, not to more spending by doctors, nurses and technicians. Indeed the actual individual providers are going to be squeezed, and we may end up with health care professionals having *less* overall non-subsistence demand. (I.e. if you replace one person being paid twice the minimum wage with two people each being paid the minimum wage, you eliminate the overall non-necessity demand.)

    This is a "victory" for liberals/Keynesians in the same sense that adding an OSHA inspector to the Soylent Green factory in exchange for allowing a 10% increase in production would be a victory.


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