Friday, August 21, 2009

Health Care for Clunkers.

This silly line, If our government can't even run Cash for Clunkers, how do you expect them to run health care?, is getting around. I first heard it from my acquaintances in Atlanta about a month ago when we were spatting online about things like reform, white privilege, entitlements, and killing old people.

Sure enough, it's coming around again, this time in US News and World Report. And it's getting sillier by the day.

The government has been providing health care to gazillions of Americans for ages, to pretty good reviews (though everybody claims they're both nearly broke, that's from poor Republican management). The Clunkers program was brand new, launched in the midst of an economic slump, dependent on the antiquated and stodgy auto industry, and hard to predict. And by the way, the Cash for Clunkers program didn't "run out of" cash. It was so wildly successful that it used up it's budget faster than anticipated. Big difference. I don't think the Clunkers administrators will have much to do with health care anyway, ahem. Two separate beasts. What's the corrolation?

Incompetence. Waste. Bureaucracies. You know. A fine narrative with no facts.

I guess the main line that I get from my southern conservative posse is that the government just can't do anything right and that liberals shouldn't just be giving things to people who don't deserve them, like, you know, the poor and the lazy and the brown or black. They may be all for sex education (with limits) and teaching something other than creationism in schools (meaning they consider themselves fiscal conservatives, not social conservatives), but they just can't seem to get it that helping a woman get off welfare helps not just her and her kids (future generations) but the immediate community and the local economy.

In other words, all that bootstraps talk really means: yes, the poor or disadvantaged should have it harder. They deserve their disadvantages cause their ancestors didn't do the work that mine did. Let them consider it a challenge. I got mine, let them work for theirs.

Ugly, isn't it? But I digress. Why all the anti-government sentiment? Government is after all by the people and for the people. If the only alternative to orchestration of large services in our country is capitalism, private corporations, haven't we seen over the past 20 years that corporations fail even more miserably than governments do? Which is why we are where we are with health care. And if a government is properly managed, overruns, defecits, corruption and excess can be managed. I don't know what alternative my southern friends would recommend. Seems they're still stuck in the antiquated "free market is the best market" trope.

I wonder, perhaps cultural narrative is stronger than history or fact?


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