Thursday, June 22, 2017


Avik Roy rejoices in the imminent deaths of thousands, but The Baffler used a curse word so I guess they're the uncivil ones.

Many tender-hearted types are wondering how the Republicans can possibly be going ahead with their absurd Obamacare repeal/Medicaid destruction plan. At the Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik seems to think they just don't realize the damage they're doing:
It’s proper to note that there’s a major disconnect between the way the Republicans consider Medicaid, which is as a program that largely benefits the expendable poor, and the reality: It’s the nation’s largest single health insurer. Of its 73 million enrollees, 43% are children and 13% blind and disabled persons. The program covers “more than 60% of all nursing home residents and 40% of costs for long-term care services and supports,” reports the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The program pays for half of all births in the U.S.--in some states, two-thirds. Plainly, cutting or capping Medicaid benefits will cause pain and suffering across a broad spectrum of Americans.
Is it uncharitable to laugh? I guess the only Republicans Hiltzik knows are sober, housebroken, come-let-us-reason-together types like Michael Bloomberg -- who, in the true spirit of No Labels, recently told everyone to unite behind the man he once called a demagogue and a con artist. (Maybe Trump promised him tickets on a spaceship that, when the time comes, will rescue select rich people from the heat death of this planet. That'll be his last and best grift -- the one that gives him some comfort and pleasure in his death throes, as he imagines his suckers, roasting as he is, but also realizing they've been duped.)

At least Hiltzik knows Republicans don't care about the poor, but he can't allow himself to see the enormity of their cold disdain -- that it isn't just the poor they don't care about. Nor is it just the disabled, the elderly, and children he mentions. Who can explain how their bill is good for any Americans except a small number of extraordinarily wealthy ones who stand to benefit from the defenselessness of the uninsured? No one can and no one bothers. Certainly no one believes Paul Ryan's blather about how voters will appreciate that this crippled Brundle-at-the-end-of-The-Fly monstrosity gives them more "freedom." That he didn't trouble to think of anything less ridiculous than that says a lot. The Republican concern for deficits is a widely-acknowledged fraud; the tax cuts for the rich that are an admitted goal of the legislation already start to roll out in the Senate bill. Their secretive deliberations notwithstanding, they're not even trying to hide it. This is as close to an act of depraved indifference as politics gets.

Some liberals cling to the hope that simple political expediency will deflect them in their course. Don't hold your breath. While the long start times of the new bill somewhat insulate their near-term electoral chances, I don't think they're worried about what will happen even when the punters catch on. In the past, they felt the need to play it cagey -- to pretend to care about bipartisanship, the neediest, morality, etc., because politics is volatile and any sign of disdain for the voter, however small and unconscious, might blow up on election day. But the victory of the id monster Trump has torn away all their pretense of decorum; Russian hacking, gerrymandering, and the simple depravity of the voting base have convinced them that they can do anything they want and get away with it. And while some people are made vicious by restraint, history shows us that politicians are made vicious by the lack of it.

I'm put in mind of the scene in Reversal of Fortune where Dershowitz tells Von Bulow that he's a very strange man, and Von Bulow responds, "You have no idea." With the Republicans we are starting to get a glimpse into that deep, dark pool.

No comments:

Post a Comment