July 29, 2017

An uncomfortable truth about Obamacare

Now that Obamacare has been preserved, at least for awhile, it is worth noting that one of the reasons the Republicans were able to make such hay out of it was that it was one of the most unduly complex bills of our time that uncomfortably blended the good, bad and indifferent into one piece of legislation. The individual mandate, for example, was clearly - and correctly - seen as a new tax on many. The insurance companies were given an uncontrollable latitude that they have happily used. Meanwhile, there were all sorts of good things - like the expansion of Medicaid and protection of previous health problems from insurance exploitation - that were threatened by the debate. 

Obamacare is an example of how, while the Republicans exploit average Americans with lies, exaggerations and false warnings, the Democrats have increasingly come to ignore them, thanks in no small part to the increasing dominance of a party elite too much influenced by principles and procedures it learned in graduate school rather than in real life. As the Review noted five years ago:

If you’re having a hard time figuring out what the real status of Obamacare is, don’t feel badly What you are seeing in the current news coverage and debate is another reflection of of the dysfunctional state of our leadership class, a dysfunction driven in no small part by the fact that our political debates have become increasingly controlled by a post grad elite – lawyers, MBAs, economists, and products of journalism school -  to a degree never before known in American history. This elite has replaced conscience with complexity, explicit goals with fuzzy projections, facts with verbiage, plain language with legalistic code, doing things with data, and progress with process.

For example, in recent years the number of lawyers in the Senate has varied from 54 to 60 - or nine to ten times the percentage found in the American workforce.

Throughout history, good politics has depended on high social intelligence and wisdom, connections with a constituency, and the ability to understand and respond to the needs of the average citizen. As our politics has increasingly been dominated by a grad school elite, it has become ever more distant from those it is meant to serve.  Further, the training of this elite has tended to compartmentalize its thoughts into the boxes and biases of specific specialties, leaving it uncomfortable or incompetent in dealing with the holistic implications of politics.
If you think this is an exaggeration, go back and read about the battle for a minimum wage, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or civil rights. The public knew what they were going to get and how they were going to get it. This is no longer the case.
What was once a government of laws has become a government of incoherent contracts and language not unlike that you avoid reading on your computer in order to get your new software going.

We are a nation collapsing from the top. Most Americans live in oases of still relative sanity but are controlled by an elite that has lost its capacity to converse with, explain to, or lead the rest of the land.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Illinois has a Republican Gov. but I don't hear him complaining about the Illinois Law that makes it mandatory for every automobile on the road here to be Insured.