Monday, December 21, 2009
Political theory digression: what should we call the current state of things in America?Marcy Wheeler and Glenn Greenwald have begung trying to analyze the style of governance represented by the Obama administration pro-Lieberman, anti-consumer stance on health care reform.
Marcy is calling it "neo-feudalism" for now. Her contributions on the subject at Emptywheel include Health Care on the Road to Neo-Feudalism 12/15/09 and Brainstorming Future American Neo-Feudalism Today 12/20/09.
Glennzila in The underlying divisions in the healthcare debate Salon 12/18/09 calls it "corporatism". His analysis is good, as usual, but I think he's fantasizing about in what he says about some new left-right coalition against it.
And the brilliant Digby has been working along the same lines, as in Clarifying Debate 12/19/09.
In that piece, she quotes a good explanation from Robert Kuttner on how the Obama-Lieberman-Nelson health bill fits the kind of situation that she, Marcy and Glenn are describing:
Think about it, the difference between social insurance and an individual mandate is this. Social insurance everybody pays for it through their taxes, so you don't think of Social Security as a compulsory individual mandate. You think of it as a benefit, as a protection that your government provides. But an individual mandate is an order to you to go out and buy some product from some private profit-making company, that in the case of a lot of moderate income people, you can't afford to buy. And the shell game here is that the affordable policies are either very high deductibles and co-pays, so you can afford the monthly premiums but then when you get sick, you have to pay a small fortune out of pocket before the coverage kicks in. Or if the coverage is decent, the premiums are unaffordable. And so here's the government doing the bidding of the private industry coercing people to buy profit-making products that maybe they can't afford and they call it health reform. [my emphasis]I'm going to stick with Jamie Galbraith's term "Predator State" governance for now. But I agree with both of them that after the Cheney-Bush Presidency now followed by a corporate, prowar, anti-consumer Democratic administration, some kind of qualitatively new stage in American democracy has established itself.
Tags: health care reform, predator state
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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