Monday, June 1, 2009

Self Deception

If what we are doing is so good, how come we have to pretend it's something else?

This question could be asked about so many things: from stressless bank "stress tests", to collaboration with the health care industry for universal health coverage rather than a single payer (government) system, to spending 50 billion helping GM through bankruptcy and not wanting to talk about whether tax payers will ever get this money back.

Is it because you just can't say out loud that the decision was made for expediency in order to balance the interests of strong lobbying groups? (You could maybe apply this to several of the above).

Is it because the best long term strategy requires the taxpayers to take a hit, but we don't dare tell them?

Bill Moyers discussed the benefits of a single-payer health care system on a recent show and concluded that this was the only way to achieve large gains in efficiency and savings. But when people asked politicians why this was not on the table, they were told, "because it will never happen", and that we would be foolish to squander the opportunity for extended health coverage on a pipe dream like this.

Unfortunately there is such a thing as the "possible" and the "politically possible".

However, it would do us a lot of good to at least say what we're really doing, instead of lying to the group and to ourselves about it.

How about this: "We're giving 50 billion to GM because we need to have some manufacturing base in this country, and they are one of our few examples. You will never see this money again. In fact, they will probably start losing money again once they come out of bankruptcy, and at that time we will have to either let them go under for real, or give them more money."

I'm not particularly irate about the GM example, it just serves as a good demonstration of what I'm talking about. I'm much more concerned about the health care solution.

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