It’s been a while since I talked about politics here


I never even commented on Daschele’s withdrawal from the health care reform fight, even though the scandals he was facing seemed fairly minor and his loss hurt our chances of seeing decent health care reform in this country.

But I do want to post about two things, quickly. First, I hope everyone takes a couple minutes to read this op-ed in the Washington Post. It’s co-written by Nouriel Roubini, one of the few economists in recent years who publicly warned of the financial crash that hit us months ago.

He’s calling for the government to nationalize the banks put failing banks into receivorship. It’s worked in the past, and if the government acquires and then sells troubled assets after they aren’t so troubled any more, it would not be such a financial hardship on the tax payers.

It would also free up credit for businesses who are struggling to replace capital and reduce the size of institutions that are “too big to fail.” We really shouldn’t have those any more, and a little breathing space to let us regulate those would be welcome.

Check it out.

Next, I have leap frog over the Republican refusal to join Obama and the Dems on the stimulus package, bipartisanship, GOP discipline (message- and otherwise) enforced by hardcore conservative interests willing to put up ambitious conservative politicians in the upcoming primaries and talk about Betsy McCaughey.

In 1994, McCaughey was part of the political hit job against the Clinton health care reform plan. She wrote an article in which she said she read the whole thing and gave her thoughts–and stated that the plan would allow the federal government to block you from seeing a doctor of your choice.

This was reported widely by Republican opponents and in the press, and helped fuel public opposition to the bill. Nevermind that it was an outright lie. Clinton’s plan stated exactly the opposite. Explicitly.

Now she’s back, claiming that the stimulus bill has secret provisions that allow the federal government to decide what treatments you can get.

It’s all BS, but it’s all over Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the other usual suspects. See here for a small link farm (really more of a pea patch) of bloggers pointing out the outright deceptions in her remarks.

How does that rate a comment when the whole stimulus bill fight didn’t? Her lies this time around are an attempt to stifle means testing for medical treatment. What works? What doesn’t? What works best? What’s uselessly expensive? See, McCaughey is on the board of a medical device company, and works for a think tank funded by the pharmaceutical industry. She knows that one in five dollars in this country is spent on health care, and that a frightening percentage of that money is wasted on unnecessary treatments and name-brand drugs.

Very profitable unnecessary treatments and name-brand drugs.

It sounds crazy to say it, but some people think that gathering data on what treatments work best–saving lives–and which don’t is controversial. They’re afraid that letting Americans see the numbers will cut into their profits. And they’re right.

Watch out.

In happier news, I met my daily goal again today. I have a book to give my wife for VDay, and when I leave to write in the morning, I plan to have it waiting on the table for her along with a nice, fresh scone.