Saturday, November 22, 2008

Healthcare Debate: So This is Why Conservatives Hate Social Security

Michael Cannon of Cato comes out against Obama’s health care plan – no surprise there. James Pethokouskis makes it explicit as to Cannon’s real concern:

Passage would be a political gamechanger. Recently, I stumbled across this analysis of how nationalized healthcare in Great Britain affected the political environment there. As Norman Markowitz in Political Affairs, a journal of "Marxist thought," puts it: "After the Labor Party established the National Health Service after World War II, supposedly conservative workers and low-income people under religious and other influences who tended to support the Conservatives were much more likely to vote for the Labor Party when health care, social welfare, education and pro-working class policies were enacted by labor-supported governments."

As Hilzoy notes:

An honest conservative might accept this claim and say: well, I guess our ideas are unpopular, so we'll just have to make our case more persuasively. But that's not the conclusion they draw. Pethokoukis and Cannon say: because people will like health care reform, if we do not block it, our party will lose support. So precisely because people would like it if they tried it, we need to make sure that it fails. At least they're honest about it.

Truth be told – this is a major reason why conservatives want to undermine the Social Security program. Yes – they do try to tell us it’s some sort of Ponzi scheme, which of course, is just blatant dishonesty. But the real reason that they hate Social Security is that it is popular – as well as good policy from the perspective of those who care at least as much about the working class as the investor class.

Update: Steve Benen takes us back to late 1993 and the Kristol memo:

Leading conservative operative William Kristol privately circulates a strategy document to Republicans in Congress. Kristol writes that congressional Republicans should work to "kill" - not amend - the Clinton plan because it presents a real danger to the Republican future: Its passage will give the Democrats a lock on the crucial middle-class vote and revive the reputation of the party. Nearly a full year before Republicans will unite behind the "Contract With America," Kristol has provided the rationale and the steel for them to achieve their aims of winning control of Congress and becoming America's majority party. Killing health care will serve both ends. The timing of the memo dovetails with a growing private consensus among Republicans that all-out opposition to the Clinton plan is in their best political interest.

Kristol does belong to the wing of the Republican where good policy and good politics have been at war for years.


Shag from Brookline said...

Another GOP example of "Party before country."

Anonymous said...

If one simply recognizes that the Republican Party is only the bad guy side of the good guy/ bad guy routine that the two parties play out it becomes a little easier to understand the entire game. They both represent the interests of the wealthiest segment of the population. They are both funded by what is often referred to as the corporate elite. That segment espouses the me before country ideology. The parties are little more than the operative aspect of that ideology.

Obama did represent himself as a difference, and was able to pull in significant contributions and support from multiple segments of the population. Is change about to happen? The good guys are now in charge so there will appear to be a change for the better, but that change is a reflection of the worst eight years of bad guys governing. It's beginning to look like where back to 1992 when Sheriff Bill came to town with his
posey. We got eight years of globalization for our money, a war in the middle east and the dot com bubble. Now the new Sheriff has come in with the same old posey. Is real change on the way? Not from a longer term view. If and when someone, or some group, is actually held responsible for the repeated devastation of the middle class will we begin to experience a change of intention and direction.

Sandwichman said...

A word to the wise: tumbrels. Bring 'em on!

Bruce Webb said...

I was going to comment at length here but instead just linked back from a new front page post at AB. But let me just make a new twist on Jack's good guy/bad guy argument.

The main mistake supporters of Social Security and Universal Health Care make is to imagine that they are engaged in a policy debate that is fundamentally informed by numbers and data. Instead as Cannon shows this is fundamentally a political debate fundamentally informed by ideology and political outcomes.

Which is why I am always to some degree being cynical when I point to a data table. Nothing in Table VI.F7 is going to convert a Randian or miraculously transform a Rovian into a New Dealer, at best my goal is to admininister a quick jolt of STFU to people making allegedly data-backed arguments. The chances of actually changing most people's world view simply using Reality Based arguments are often vanishingly small, they know what they believe and believe what they know. That the actual source of that 'knowledge' may be tainted by knowing deception on the lines of 'There is a sucker born every minute' never seems to penetrate. Almost everyone agrees in general, hardly anyone believes the maxim applies to them.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, and the Committee on Public Safety will know best how to deal with the scoundrels. The only question is, who will lead the way nd not lose his head in the process? Jacobins United For A Better America.

TheTrucker said...

All of this stuff is merely an argument to strike while the iron is hot. It is something that should be leaned from the Republicans and from the Shock Doctrine. Do not pussy-foot around with a health care plan that is a compromise with Republicans and the same with a tax code. Leading and moving from the middle is very far away from the latter day Republican Party. Meeting them half way is still much too far to the right. And they did not win the elections; we did.

Care must be taken with "Moral" issues and "Gays in the military" should be "off the table". The same for "same sex marriage" and abortion. "Open Borders" is another moonbat issue that must be left until earliest 2011. These things may be important, but the economy and health care are about 100 miles in front and 100 stories taller than that stuff. It is like in the background noise. So STFU about it.

The only moonbat issue that apples is Iraq and it is an economic issue as well.