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sufrensucatash

news & opinion with no titillating non-news from the major non-news channels.

 

I am: progressive, not a wild-eyed Progressive; liberal, but shun liberals and Liberals; conservative, but some Conservatives worry me; absolutely NOT a libertarian. I am: an idealist, but no utopian; a pragmatist, but no Machiavellian. I am a realist who dreams.

 

I welcome all opinions.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Throw da bums out!:
   Why one looney progressive says we can't

inthesetimes.com, a left-wingnut progressive magazine, is espousing How corporate America perpetuates the health care crisis.

In hawking his book (actually it is a guidebook to help people see exactly how politicians’ lies, myths and half-truths justify government policies that allow Corporate America to rip us off), David Sirota proclaims,

Let’s be honest—very few political operatives, politicians or pundits actually want to explore the real-life, day-to-day economic challenges facing the American people, because to explore them would ultimately force us to admit that our entire venerated political system is totally corrupt.
[...]
I’m not naïve. I know that corporations exist for one reason and one reason only: the relentless, single-minded pursuit of profit, no matter who gets shafted. That is their stated purpose in a capitalist society, and that’s fine. But in our country, corporations aren’t supposed to pursue this purpose in a vacuum, unchecked, unregulated, unopposed. There is supposed to be a counterweight, a government separate from Big Business whose job is to prevent the corporate profit motive from destroying society.

Yes, Virginia, he really is that naive.

But that government, as we all know, is long gone. Our government has been the victim of a hostile takeover. Over the last thirty years, Corporate America has applied its most effective business tactics to the task of purchasing the one commodity that’s not supposed to be for sale: American democracy.

So, how did they pull it off? Reinvesting corporate profits.

In 2004 alone, the four biggest health insurance companies reported $100 billion in revenues. That’s $273 million a day, every day, 365 days of the year.

That’s the kind of cash that allowed the health industry to spend more than $300 million on lobbying in 2003, and another $300 million on campaign contributions to politicians since 2000. Their agenda is pretty simple: stop any proposals to curb health care profiteering by private insurance companies.

Ok, time to take the gloves off. I post my rebuttal and the subsequent discussion.

1 Comments:

Blogger Jay Cline said...

Posted by Jay Cline on May 4, 2006 at 2:55 PM

Ok, wait one damn minute. Sirota is at it again,

the four biggest health insurance companies reported $100 billion in revenues.
[...]
Even parts of the business community support government intervention. For instance, Ford, GM and Chrysler all endorsed Canada’s system ...


Ford alone has revenues of $117 billion.. GM has $199 bilion. Chrysler has $195 billion

That’s $511 billion to h/c $100 billion.

Kind of shoots Sirota’s claim (in his own foot) that the healthcare industry has the entire government bought and paid for.

Or, maybe Ford, GM and Chrysler are sterling examples of socially responsible corporate citizens and don’t lobby for their interests.

I am all for reforming national healthcare, but these kind of crackpot conspiracy theories effectively shuts down the debate.

Posted by frog on May 4, 2006 at 4:55 PM

Any serious plan to revive the US car-makers must tackle their crazy health-care liabilities, otherwise they will fold. Punkt. Full stop. Point final. Dead Parrots.

Posted by Jay Cline on May 5, 2006 at 8:21 AM

Glad you agree with me.

US car-makers must tackle their crazy health-care liabilities, otherwise they will fold

Now there is a powerful incentive to fix the current healthcare system, particularly if it is breaking them, which I fully concur.

So, how does one industry, who DOES NOT want reform, outspend another industry that desperately needs reform, especially given that the car-makers have, at the very least, comparable revuenues? If not orders of magnitude more.

According to Sirota, money talks. And the car-makers have it.

Posted by whattheheck on May 6, 2006 at 10:31 AM

Whatever the earnings, insurance companies, pharma, etc. have had a very effective lobby for decades. Other advantages: Low intensity capital compared to mfg., non-union workforce, and often able to dodge big payouts thru selective grouping of those of us with health problems.

Individuals don’t stand a chance against these guys. Over forty years as a one person business, a four person family and no group policies [taught me] a lot about hospital billing prefs and insurance company games.

Posted by Jay Cline on May 7, 2006 at 12:39 AM

I don’t disagree that, dollar for dollar, individuals don’t stand a chance against these guys. In fact, I am applying that same logic to the Big 3 auto companies.

I do take issue with the bought and paid for argument, not that it doesn’t happen, but there is one area where these guys don’t stand a chance against the individual.

At the ballot box.

Don’t always work the way you might like, but you can’t pay off 20 million voters.

Posted by whattheheck on May 7, 2006 at 8:11 AM

Jay,

I do take issue with the bought and paid for argument, not that it doesn’t happen, but there is one area where these guys don’t stand a chance against the individual.

At the ballot box.


--------------------------------------
In theory, yes.

The high incumbency win-rate is a lot like having tenure. The lack of quality candidates challenging, the acquired power which enables pork delivery/reelection advantage, and the general feeling (which I admit to) that a truly honest person has little chance of changing congress, all make your optimism fade as years go buy.

Your argument is similar to those who say the stockholders still own the company. Not true. Over time things have evolved to the point where now — the CEO picks his board, the boards are incestuous (serving on each other’s boards), pay, benefits and perks are voted for the insiders. Much of this is due to the huge increase in mutual fund share ownership.

Just look at the similarities in structure and relationships — Congress/Business. Is it any wonder the country (world) is being run by and for businesses and no longer national interests or fellow citizens or individuals.

We have become the United Lobbyists of America and run by special interests which transcend parties, states or countries. NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO, GATT - a whole alphabet is stacked against individual representation.

I believe that many of those involved in business and governrnent can’t even see what they have done. It takes less than a generation to replace what we thought of as “normal” with a new paradigm.

Posted by Jay Cline on May 8, 2006 at 3:51 PM

wth

I believe that many of those involved in business and governrnent can’t even see what they have done.

No, I think that belief has to go much deeper than that, to validate your argument, to make optimism fade as years go by. If voters are unable to vote out incumbents (and I do strongly object to the implied notion that incumbency = corruption), then it can only be because many, nay a majority, of the voters can’t even see what they have done.

You must agree with that, if you argue that the high incumbency win-rate is a lot like having tenure. If the voters “could see” what is happening, if they would not tolerate it if could see it, then they must be blind, dumb and stupid to accept it. It is the only explanation for your high incumbency.

Ergo, contrary to Churchill’s statement, that democracy is the worst form of governance, except all that has been tried so far, democracy must simply be the worst. Democracy depends upon an intelligent empowered electorate. You would not give them that.

My optimism doesn’t fade, because I don’t accept the premise. Yes, corruption exists, but not to the delibitating levels that you imply. We will never eradicate it, any more than we could completely eradicate murder; as long as people remain people. But it does not exist with impunity, it does not exist outside the threat of exposure and defeat.

Lobbyists, congressmen, judges, even presidents, have fallen and continue to fall because of their avarice.

If we lived in a society so dominated and controlled by corruption, as you would seem to be implying, that would not be so.

Your argument is similar to those who say the stockholders still own the company. Not true.

Tell that to Michael Eisner.

5/08/2006 4:31 PM  

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