It’s Getting Ugly

Clearwater, Fla (6th Oct)

Clearwater, Fla (6th October)

Conservative commentators* piled on after the vice presidential debate last week. Greg Sheridan made no attempt to hide his pleasure:

“Sarah Palin, the pitbull in lipstick, the hockey mum from Main Street, did brilliantly well in her debate with Joe Biden yesterday. It was a good illustration of one of the iron laws of politics.

Whenever you hear commentators declare that a senior politician is as thick as a brick or an idiot, it is much likelier that the commentator is the idiot and the politician has simply offended some orthodoxy of the zeitgeist.”

Janet Albrechtsen was no less thrilled:

Palin has attracted the blowtorch from progressives for one reason alone. What really scares them are her conservative views about family, faith and country – not her political inexperience. And what frightens them even more is the fact that Palin speaks directly to a broader audience of social conservatives whom progressives can never really understand because they dont want to.

Entirely understandable, of course, if a little overblown. Not only didn’t Palin implode, as many had expected, she was feisty, unapologetic and occasionally even made sense. Had she truly been a modern version of Mr Smith Goes to Washington, it might almost have been tempting to (carefully) join in the cheering.

Unfortunately, any doubts on that score were definitively set to rest in recent days. The polite ingenue of Thursday night took off the mask in Florida:

“Okay, so Florida, you know that you’re going to have to hang onto your hats,” Sarah Palin told a rally of a few thousand here this morning, “because from now until Election Day it may get kind of rough.”

You betcha. And the person dishing out the roughest stuff at the moment is Sarah Palin.

“I was reading my copy of the New York Times the other day,” she said.

“Booooo!” replied the crowd.

“I knew you guys would react that way, okay,” she continued. “So I was reading the New York Times and I was really interested to read about Barack’s friends from Chicago.”

It was time to revive the allegation, made over the weekend, that Obama “pals around” with terrorists, in this case Bill Ayers, late of the Weather Underground. Many independent observers say Palin’s allegations are a stretch; Obama served on a Chicago charitable board with Ayers, now an education professor, and has condemned his past activities.

“Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers,” Palin said.

“Boooo!” said the crowd.

“And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, ‘launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'” she continued.

“Boooo!” the crowd repeated.

“Kill him!” proposed one man in the audience.

Palin went on to say that “Obama held one of the first meetings of his political career in Bill Ayers’s living room, and they’ve worked together on various projects in Chicago.” Here, Palin began to connect the dots. “These are the same guys who think that patriotism is paying higher taxes — remember that’s what Joe Biden had said. “And” — she paused and sighed — “I am just so fearful that this is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America, as the greatest force for good in the world. I’m afraid this is someone who sees America as ‘imperfect enough’ to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country.”

“Boooo!” said the audience. [my emphasis]

It doesn’t need much understanding of human nature or history to know where incitement of this sort leads, and any political leader who traffics in it puts themselves beyond the pale. Sadly, it’s no isolated incident; the Republican campaign is now rife with this sort of unedifying muck.

Those who’ve been so eager to sing her praises are, I think, duty bound to do a little soul searching.

*(How did this once useful and honourable word become quite so bastardised?)

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Pappinbarra Fox
Pappinbarra Fox
13 years ago

“We all know where incitement of this sort leads…” – are you talking assassination? Extremists dont really need to be pushed but the palin pushing (dogwhistle style) will certainly mean many more than the usual line-up will try their hand at saving america and his values from this terrorist smooching dirt.

Patrick
Patrick(@patrick)
13 years ago

Why are the only ones talking about assassination lefties? And what of the last eight years of ‘someone should shoot this President’? Ah, oops, left=funny&insignificant; right=bad&mad, I’m with it now.

Also, so what of the Obama campaign’s advertising push on the Keating five? Ads which make no mention of the fact that McCain learnt from and apologised for this experience in a way that Obama shows no suggestion of thinking would be appropriate for him too?

The real issue all these dodgy acquaintances raise is that he seems to have been perfectly happy around these people and they around him. Maybe I’m just a lunatic and you should keep me away from overblown lefty Presidents in case I shoot them, but I do see that as an issue worthy of some campaign airtime.

After all it is not like we are going to judge Obama on his record of legislative and executive achievement.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Patrick, which “lefties” are talking about assassination exactly?

Re: the Ayers thing: AIUI, their primary association (which was not actually all that close, when compared to McCain’s involvement in the Keating five) was a part of work for a charity. Obama knew Ayers as a senior educator and respected member of the community – it doesn’t seem terribly realistic to insist that he should have refused to work together simply because Ayers was involved in highly reckless and pretty inexusable behaviour in his youth.
Having said he probably has learned something from the experience – that if you want to be involved in high profile politics, you have to be extra careful who you deal with.

Patrick
Patrick(@patrick)
13 years ago

Er, commenter #1 on this thread.

Having said he probably has learned something from the experience – that if you want to be involved in high profile politics, you have to be extra careful who you deal with.

You reckon? A shred of evidence that he’s learnt even that?

Btw, this is the problem:

Obama knew Ayers as a senior educator and respected member of the community –

Ayers would never have been a respected member, let alone educator, of any community I was part of or would ever have wanted to be part of. Yet for Obama he was.

GeoffRobinson
GeoffRobinson
13 years ago

Sheridan sometimes displays a knowledge of foreign policy, but on this issue he is a good example of how conservatives have taken up this ‘think with your blood’ or ‘I don’t need no education’ approach. His spinning of the polls is bizarre. Australian conservative commentators simply repeat US right blogsphere talking points note Gerard & Janet’s sudden expertise on the US financial system.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Commmenter #1 was merely asking if Ingolf (hardly a lefty) was referring to assassination. It seemed a reasonable query (I’m not entirely sure exactly what Ingolf was implying either).

“Ayers would never have been a respected member, let alone educator, of any community I was part of or would ever have wanted to be part of”

You can hypothesize that all you like, but that’s how he was (and, I understand, still is) viewed by his community. Most people presumably judge Ayers on the work he’s done over the last 30 or so years, not the fact that he went to extreme and disturbing lengths to express his frustration over the government of the day 40 years ago. And yes, he still apparently holds similar views about what’s an acceptable way to protest against government decisions he disagrees with, and it’s certainly conceivable that if those he works with were more closely aware of what those views, his level of respect in the community would be somewhat diminished. I still don’t see how any of this can be reasonably held against Obama, however.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

As for “shred of evidence that hes learnt even that”…I did say “probably” learned. I would be as dissappointed as anyone were he to become involved with criminal, corrupt or crazed figures during his term in office, but I see no more reason to believe he is more likely to than McCain. Is it honestly something that concerns you? More than prospect of Palin becoming president should McCain’s health fail?

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Patrick – question for you – if one of your children had an opportunity to study at the University of Illinois education department, would you honestly refuse simply because Ayers is a professor there?

BTW, from what I can read, there is no evidence that Ayers was ever involved in any mission to deliberately injure or kill anyone, although other WU members were involved in activities that certainly did put innocent victims in danger. Further, Ayers voltunarily turned himself in to authorities in 1980, after spending three years trying to convince his wife it was the right thing to do, which would seem to indicate some amount of regret and/or desire for repentance for his earlier activities. He also sent a letter of apology to the one person he knew to be injured as a result of his activies.

His current position seems to be simply that to this day he doesn’t feel he did enough to stop the war in Vietnam, though it’s true that he has stopped short of agreeing that blowing up statues and buildings was a pretty atrocious way of going about it.

Pappinbarra Fox
Pappinbarra Fox
13 years ago

NPOV, you seem to have done some research into this. As is often demonstrated here it is easy to run off the mouth when one doesn’t have all the facts, leap to grand conclusions and generally be dismissive of other views. Doing the work to get more facts (one can never have all the facts) is sometimes too much trouble for some commentators. Does anyone have a link that can give us a fairly good background on the facts of Ayres?

Pappinbarra Fox
Pappinbarra Fox
13 years ago

Can someone do a lit crit of the expression “paling around” ?

Patrick
Patrick(@patrick)
13 years ago

I know, Ingolf, I didn’t refer to you.

What if I see hanging around with Ayers or Wright as an error of judgement? Even better, the kind of error in judgement that ‘one of us’ would not make? That seems legitimate to me.

NPOV, one thing that concerns me is that he seemed comfortable associating with these people for a long time – most of his adult life in fact in the case of Wright (with whom he more than ‘associated’, the guy was his ‘mentor’!). How would you feel if McCain’s ‘mentor’ even of the long-distant past was Pat Robertson or Jerry Fallows? Another is that he seems to have really been on board with Ayer’s educational philosophy – which is not something I would ever want to see get national prominence except as a ‘how-not-to’.

We know that Obama places a lot of faith in the government’s ability to achieve things, about 1000 times more than me it seems sometimes. Presumably he thinks the government could achieve a lot in education, too. In this context, I see his being cool hanging out with Ayers in an educational context a worry.

Finally, the mere association is itself a worry – not so much he with they but they with he. The Obama who is running for President strikes me as not someone Ayers or Wright would want to hang around with – but they did want to hang with another Obama. Is there a new Obama? Or did he play them for fools? Or is he playing us? There would seem to be the greater incentive to deceive us as to the ‘real’ Obama than there would have been to deceive them!

Btw – NPOV, no I wouldn’t suggest my son not study there, but I would certainly be suprised if he started telling what awesome educational ideas Ayres had. Also, as I understand it, the Weathermen thought blowing up Judges’ houses was as just as cool as blowing up statues, so don’t understate what pigs they were.

pedro
pedro
13 years ago

Surely the connections with Ayers, Wright and Rezko are politically relevant. Kinda like Brian Burke in the West perhaps. Perhaps I’m reading the wrong things, but I get the impression that Ayers remains a serious radical even if no longer a bomber and he and Wright are not the normal company of a mild-mannered moderate.

Anyway, you can hardly blame Palin for the tactics set by management.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Patrick, concern about Ayer’s educational ideas seems at least legitimate, but I would be a little surprised that they hadn’t changed at all since the 60’s, given his senior position at a reputable university.

As for the possibility of McCain’s mentor being a Pat Robertson type figure, sure I would be concerned, but unless there was specific evidence that McCain’s own views were obviously dangerous, it wouldn’t on its own be enough to persuade me that he was unfit to president (which, BTW, is not my position – I’m more of less comfortable with the idea of McCain as president: it’s the thought of Palin having to step up the plate should it be needed that concerns me).

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
13 years ago

Tim Anderson was a member of the Ananda Marga sect who was convicted of the terrorist bombing of the Hilton Hotel in Sydney but later pardoned. It’s still widely suspected (including it seems by ASIO) that Ananda Marga (though not Anderson himself) was associated with the Hilton bombing and several other terrorist acts. See http://www.benhills.com/articles/articles/SCM38a.html . Thus Anderson is at least as historically compromised as Ayres in the US. Anderson is now an academic at the University of Sydney. No doubt he serves on lots of university committees (as academics do). Would it be fair or honest to label any of his fellow committee members as “palling around with terrorists” if they ever decided to stand for politics? Should all of them refuse to serve on any committee with Anderson in case they ever decide to stand for politics? Frankly Patrick, I wonder why you’re even bothering to try to make this outrageous case. Palin’s slur seems to be not far from par for the course in American politics, but it’s well beyond the pale by any vaguely decent, sensible or honest standards.

steve at the pub
13 years ago

Tim Anderson was pardoned.
Bill Ayers is an ex-con.

Patrick
Patrick(@patrick)
13 years ago

I have to say my main concerns with Ayers are:
a) his actual educational philosophy;
b) the fact that he seems to have been comfortable with Obama (I am sure that he would not in a pink fit have invited McCain to his house) and what this says about the kind of person Obama may be; and
c) that he appears consistent with the possible pattern established by, in particular, Wright.

I think on an association level, Wright is a much bigger worry.

Whilst on one hand I can see the argument that we have coped with Presidents somewhat ‘in hock’ to Falwell, Robertson et al (who I certainly don’t find more objectionable than Wright) over the recent past, and so should be able to cope with someone once in hock to Wright, I am actually more comfortable with the idea that past Presidents were acting out of expedience, as opposed to the idea that this guy was a mentor and parish priest to Obama for a couple of decades.

Also, KP, whilst I certainly see your point and hope the above clarifies my ‘issues’ somewhat, I thought this was the committee of a charity disbursing money to educational causes (and perhaps more to causes than needs)? So extra-curricular for both, and a bit less innocuous.

jimparker
jimparker(@jimparker)
13 years ago

McCain is good buddies with R. Gordon Liddy who set out to deliberately and ruthlessly usurp the US Constitution.

Palin’s publicly endorsed a a political party whose founder said he hated the USA and was murdered in a bungled explosives deal.

One of Bill Ayer’s closest sixties pals was David Horowitz whose websites now host statements about killing liberals by the likes of Ann Coulter.

Can’t we just accept that struggling up the greasy pole of US politics involves lots of strange bedfellows and that no one is ever innocent of strange attractors and stranger associates here.

Hell, MCain’s been photographed publicly hugging George W. Bush – a man who’s done far more damage to the concept and fabric of the USA than anything Bill Ayers could ever have imagined in his wilding dickwitted student days.

Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill(@stephen-hill)
13 years ago

I think SATP is over-simplifying things,

Anderson was pardoned (because of the questionable nature of testimony upon which he was originally convicted), which alters the assumption of guilt that SATP is trying to confer to the fact that under case law at the time he could not be found guilty beyond reasonable doubt. I think he used to lecture in economics at my old uni, hopefully that does not make me a terrorist supporter as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Hilton_bombing

And from what I can find on Ayers, while there is much to loath about his early actions in the way his deluded militancy helped legitimise Nixon and Agnew’s overzealous chest-beating that made anti-war arguments seem unpatriot, painting him as an ex-con is really done on a legalistic technicality – he spent 10 days in prison in his youth for a sit-in at a local draft board. For a 10 day sentence, we are hardly talking about grand larceny or mass murder, its probably about the equivalent of what someone twenty years ago would receive for a collection of unpaid parking tickets.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Ayers

This doesn’t excuse Ayers, but without a substantial convictions I can’t see why he is not entitled to go to conferences that he deems fit, while I don’t share his “radical chic” persona, its only the most partisan of partisans that thinks Obama is somehow tied in with subversive activities – It just makes content for an attack ad – one that doesn’t seem to have gained that much traction (if recent polls are to believed) particularly when there are bigger issues to be discussed.

Patrick
Patrick(@patrick)
13 years ago

As I thought was clear, I am not fussed about the association. But, leaving aside the educational philosophies of apparently both of them, in the context of someone we don’t know very much about, my worry is that Ayers liked this guy, even enough to fund-raise for him. I think it is a fair enough question to ask what Ayers saw in him, and the answer is probably someone open to radical lefty educational and political ideas.

Put another way, I don’t care if Obama associated with him but I do care if the likes of him associated with Obama. And I wouldn’t care if we knew more about Obama but we don’t.

And whilst that speech about Wright is indeed a very fine speech, it (seems to me to) glosses over a lot. Surely there are other devoted philanthropists who have dutifully served their country and loved their fellow man without happening to hate America and Jews? In fact I know there are, since I know a few of them myself and that’s from the very very small number of Americans that I know.

Finally, I have to say that they were both so crap in that last debate that one could reasonably think it doesn’t matter which hack wins, and both seem better than any of the last eight years’ candidates!! In which case one goes for the candidate one is more comfortable with, in my case McCain, in most of yours’ Obama.

Pappinbarra Fox
Pappinbarra Fox
13 years ago

Ken at 15 It is a mystery who planted that bomb that was never meant to go off ….I’d look closer at acronyms.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Patrick, that’s just silly. Ayers is a lefty – he obviously saw Obama as being a realistic chance at being somewhat left-leaning president. Why would he not support him?

I can understand you being comfortable with McCain, but you can’t seriously tell me you’re comfortable with Palin? And given his age and purported health issues, the chance of Palin needing to take the reigns, temporarily or otherwise, can’t be dismissed out of hand. The thought Palin as the arguably the most powerful individual in the world scares the bejesus out of me. I’d take another 4 years of Bush over that possibility any day.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Hmm, sorry, it wasn’t his presidential campaign that Ayers supported, but his Senate campaign. Obama appears to have had no associated with Ayers since 2002.
But much the same argument holds – just replace “president” with “political representative”.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

My ‘purported’ qualifier above was probably unnecessary – his released medical records show he has a Stage II malignant melanoma that supposedly means his probability of surviving another 5 years is about 78%.
And remember that while Reagan’s medical bill of health was perfectly clean, within 6 or 7 years of taking office he began to develop Alzeimher’s. Age is a risk just on its own.

Does this mean I think McCain is unfit to be president? No – plenty of past presidents had arguably more serious health issues. But they were backed up by essentially competent VPs that, as far as I know, weren’t religious fundies that believed in rapture and creationism.

BTW, does anyone have any statistics on how many VPs have been required to take over presidential duties in, say, the last 50 years?

Patrick
Patrick(@patrick)
13 years ago

Spiro Agnew!

I am not so upset over Palin. I am coming to believe that there is no such thing as a qualified politician. Seriously, what would you in Arcadia (which obviously wouldn’t have a President) designate as qualifications for a President?

Who can you think of that has met them recently?

I sometimes (less often) think temperament is about the only real issue left on which to vote on.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Arcadia? Please explain…?

But FWIW, I don’t think there’s any reason to think either Obama and McCain wouldn’t make competent presidents, as would Joe Biden. How how anyone could think that of Palin, especially after four years of Bush (and Palin is almost a caricature of Bush), would make a competent president is beyond me.

Patrick
Patrick(@patrick)
13 years ago

What I can’t stand about Obama is his apparently deep-seated conviction that ‘yes we can‘, when to my eyes nearly every page of history tells us something more like: well, yes, we may be able to, but it will surely be a lot more expensive and inefficient and is much more likely to be wholly counter-productive than if we don’t.

Whereas I expect both McCain and, even more so, Palin, to prefer at almost any given junction, less government to more. Which I firmly believe is likely to make us all much better off.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

I could care less if McCain and/or Palin prefer “less government to more”. But where’s the slightest evidence that any admininstration under their watch would actually implement “less goverment”?

Even Reagan, the only president in recent history with a strong “less government” stance implemented all sorts of “big government” type programs.

In fact, the only Western government in modern times that seems to have achieved any genuinely noticeable reduction in government scope and spending was the ALP under Hawke and Keating.

As far as Obama’s “deep-seated conviction” – name one leader that didn’t improve his or her nation without some sort of conviction to do so? And the idea that “most” government-initiated programs are inefficient and counter-productive really is hogwash. What I care about is whether Obama or McCain is more likely to initiate inefficient and counter-productive policies. On that front, I’m pretty sure I could name more McCain policies likely to be so than Obama ones (including his recent announcement of buying up bad mortgages at full value).

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

http://www.libertyunbound.com/archive/2004_10/bradford-reagan.html

has some interesting data on how much government spending increased under various Presidents. Clinton comes in as by the lowest at +0.81% per capita. Reagan was almost 3 times as profligate.

JC
JC(@jc)
13 years ago

N

What was Clinton’s result after the peace dividend as a consequence of the Cold War’s end?

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

I take it you’re crediting Reagan’s spending with ending the Cold War, and suggest Clinton benefitted economically from that? You want to make a serious attempt at establishing that?

Patrick
Patrick(@patrick)
13 years ago

Without necessarily attributing it to Reagan, that doesn’t sound very controversial NPOV.

But more significant must be that Clinton almost never controlled Congress. I suspect that Hillarycare might have cost a little motza, for example.

So if you are making a statistical argument in favour of a divided government, I would be tempted to support you. Unfortunately recent evidence suggests that neither hell nor high water can come between politicians and our money, and certainly nothing as trivial as partisan differences.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

It sounds like a claim that needs a decent, well-thought-out argument replete with evidence to back it up, rather than a single blog post. I’d be quite willing to suggest the opposite: if Reagan hadn’t spent so much on Star Wars and similar programs, the Cold War might have ended much sooner. Yes, Russia bankrupted itself trying to match U.S. military might, but at least doing so gave it a purpose.

At any rate, I fully agree that “small government” is just a completely unworkable goal, no matter how admirable it might be. So what’s the advantage in a presidential candidate that claims to believe in something that’s never going to happen? Most of central planks of Obama’s platform are at least things that have already succeeded (to varying degrees) elsewhere in the world.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Actually Patrick, it seems the claim that US military build up was responsible for the demise of the USSR and the end of the Cold War is pretty controversial. See here for a start:

http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/Politics/fitzgerald.html

I actually feel somewhat foolish for repeating the idea unquestioningly.

JackLacton
JackLacton
13 years ago

NPOV,

Reagan killed the Soviet Union.

Simple as that.

Clinton significantly reduced the size of the US military and, thus, gained the ‘peace dividend’. It was also a time of much reduced international conflict as the proxies of the Soviet Union found themselves without a source of funds.

Simple as that.

Arguments that the Soviet Union came down due to Gorbachev are fallacious. I spent 18 months in Moscow and followed the politics of the place for 30 years. The last thing he wanted was for the Soviet Union to end but as the economy collapsed he was backed into a corner. At least he took the least bloody way out at the end, which is to his credit.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Nobody suggested he wanted the Soviet Union to end. From the article:

“It was Gorbachev’s efforts to reverse the decline and to modernize his country that knocked the props out from under the system. The revolution was in essence a series of decisions made by one man, and it came as a surprise precisely because it did not follow from a systemic breakdown.”

Now, it would be nice if it went into more detail about what “knocked the props out” meant, and why it was that Gorbachev’s efforts backfired, but it’s pretty clear Gorbachev never intended the result he ultimately got.

Reagan may or may not have had a role to play in ending the Cold War, but there seems tenuous grounds for suggesting that it was the U.S.’s huge military spending during the 80’s that did it.

Either way, given the tiny spending increase recorded during Clinton’s reign, there seems to be minimal grounds for assuming that another Democrat President would preside over significant increase of government programs, which appears to be Patrick’s concern.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

I don’t doubt BTW that Reagan had a significant role in thawing U.S.-Soviet relations from about 1985 onward: but that was largely due to his backing off from previous military posturing and opening of arms control negotiations, which should logically have been accompanied by a reduction in military spending. Data from http://www.truthandpolitics.org/military-US-world.php seems however to indicate that spending continued to grow gradually to 1990, dropped slightly in 1991, jumped significantly in 1992 (the last year of Bush Snr, and a year *after* the USSR collapsed – not sure what the explanation here is), and, as JC noted above, dropped or remained flat through the Clinton Administration.

Patrick
Patrick(@patrick)
13 years ago

NPOV, my claim was leaving Reagan aside. No-one credibly suggests that Clinton’s budgetary restraint was not largely dependent on his legislative restraint (because he didn’t control the legislative) and the lack of any major conflicts. He presided over, in all, a remarkably benign period in American recent history (too benign perhaps, because God knows I would have liked more intervention in eg Rwanda) and reaped the benefits. Fine, I don’t begrudge him that!

However, it is likely on the polls that Obama would control a Democratic Congress (and in any case the Republicans don’t have a lot of obvious Gringrich’s). Clinton’s example tells us very little about what would happen then, except to the extent that things like Hillarycare probably would have gone ahead, and cost trillions up till now. Oh wait, in fact, Obama is publicly committed to Obamacare – oops,

there seems to be minimal massive grounds for assuming that another Democrat President would preside over significant increase of government programs

.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Why on earth do you think that a single-payer health insurance program would cost trillions, when the evidence fairly clearly indiciates that such programs invariably cost less than private-payer insurance systems?

Patrick
Patrick(@patrick)
13 years ago

Don’t think it does, frankly.

And ok, I’m sorry, it might be only a few hundred billions for now.

Noting that the Krugman piece suggests $124bn a year for Obama, which is trillions in less than ten years, and given the track record of large government entitlement programs (or indeed any other kind of program), I might stick with trillions, actually.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Don’t “think” it does? That’s not good enough – show me one example of a private-payer health insurance system that costs less than a single-payer system.

Patrick
Patrick(@patrick)
13 years ago

I can play that game, too, show me one that’s more expensive.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Um, the U.S. has by far the most expensive health system in the world, due in large part to the huge administrative overheard involved in having multiple private insurers that individuals and employers need to deal with.

Personally I’d be happy to argue in favour of a single-payer system on various other grounds, but from an economically conservative POV it seems a no brainer.

Patrick
Patrick(@patrick)
13 years ago

But also, ‘AIUI’, the most innovative and the most developed.

Incidentally, I don’t believe that the current American system is especially good, just that I strongly doubt that a single-payer system will save any great amount of money. Overall, perhaps unsuprisingly, I see healthcare as generally a stultified, over-protected and crappy industry not much better than aviation.

So not a surprise that my personal favorite is medical tourism, which I see as the most exciting (and promising) trade frontier at the moment. There are staggering potential cost savings from that.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Just like the U.S.’s finance industry is the “most innovative”? ;-)

It certainly doesn’t strike me that universal coverage for basic medical needs should have much impact on the degree to which medical technology and techniques remain “innovative”. Relatively few of the dollars swallowed up by the U.S. health “system” are going to those who develop such technologies/techniques.