Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Voter revolt kills the bailout ...

There a few stories online noting that voters from all walks of life got organized and assisted in convincing their representatives to defeat this terrible bailout. Here is one from the Wall Street Journal: ["How Voter Fury Stopped Bailout"].
The subhead reads: "Left-Right Combo By Opponents Put Plan on the Ropes" ...
This reminds me a lot of the Halloween Coalition during the NAFTA debate, where both sides of the spectrum - Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader, Ross Perot and Jesse Jackson - came together in an attempt to stop that bad legislation. The difference is that we are just a few weeks away from an election this year and NAFTA was done in 1993, a year after the presidential election. However, it should be noted, that the Republicans swept into office a year later, in 1994, mostly due to Reagan lunchbucket Democrats abandoning their party and swinging right.after the Democrats abandoned them. After that, then-President Bill Clinton swung right too, agreeing with and approving eight of the 10 Republican "Contract with America" planks. The counter effect to that was the Republicans swinging even further right. This eventually led to a small revolt on the left, a serious Ralph Nader candidacy and the almost-establishment of a national Green Party via his campaign in 2000. It will be interesting to see what happens in the wake of all of this.

Sidebar: I was at a small gathering on Saturday night for a reporter source who has become a pretty good friend. At the event was a Democrat insider we all know and we started talking about the bailout. He, like many Dems, seemed to be reluctantly supporting the bailout. I passionately made the case against it. He countered with the possibility that the entire financial system and economy could go down. I said, "Well, let it ..." and then paused and started talking about health care. I said, You know, the best thing about all of this is that we could get a non-profit national health care system established. He looked at me a bit puzzled and I continued. Let's say the economy collapses, credit freezes up, things look bleak. What will happen? Companies will start cutting things to save jobs and find ways of getting more money to do business. One thing they will probably cut is health care stipends or maybe even eliminate plans entirely. What will happen if the private sector dumps insurance plans for workers? There would be 100 million people, maybe 200 million, screaming, the next day, about not having health care. There would be so many people screaming - not tens of millions without insurance now - but hundreds of millions who used to have it, that Congress would have to act. And act they would. They would have no choice but to implement a Canadian-style system with a 5 or 10 percent tax like Medicare is taxed and be done with it. Instant problem solved all because the economy is collapsing at the hands of the corrupt.
I added that administrators from cities and towns are already worrying about the high cost of health care now, and how they could better use the money for other things like cops, firefighters, teachers, if they didn't have to pay millions for private insurance. Since public health care would be a tax on paychecks, the physical public entity wouldn't have to pay it, the individual would. They would also get into the plan and renegotiate their contracts with unions and everyone would all be in the same boat instantly.
Again, problem solved all because we didn't save Wall Street. I said, And you know, that's just one thing that could be fixed if Wall Street collapses. Imagine all the other things that could be fixed ...
He seemed impressed that I had already thought of this idea. The fact is that we have to think about these things in a broader context. Solutions are out there which have nothing to do with bailing out these people.
I almost didn't think about writing my exchange about health care on Sunday. It looked like it was all a done deal. Well, I thought wrong, and the American people showed us that they still are boss and when prompted, they can galvanize themselves to stop incredibly bad things from happening. Let's hope they can now get together and start working on solutions to problems now.

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