Monday, July 11, 2011
Hawks, lemmings and being fair about the Democrats on Social Security and MedicareJamie Galbraith on the absurd debt-ceiling negotiations:
It is as though Lincoln in 1861 faced with the siege of Sumter had sat down with Confederate commissioners to see what could be worked out.That is from Hawk Nation: A Guide to the Catastrophic Debt Ceiling Debate New Deal 2.0 07/11/2011 -
Maybe it's unfair of me to use the lemming metaphor for what Obama and the Democrats are doing to themselves right now on Social Security and Medicare. Unfair to lemmings, I mean. Check out this YouTube video from Britannica:
Lemmings occasionally run off the cliff because their approach is when they meet a physical obstacle in a mass migration, they bunch together and then plunge ahead to get what they want, i.e., to get past the obstacle. If the obstacle turns out to be an ocean, then it gets more problematic.
But what the Dems are doing on Social Security and Medicare seems almost the opposite. This could be a new argument for Freud's "death instinct," which he couldn't convince even most of his orthodox followers was a sound concept. But maybe this is a sublimated version, with partisan political suicide substituting for the end of actual biological life.
Older people who won't be able to afford food or medical care, though, well, then the whole perishing thing gets a lot more biological. Because as Galbraith says of Social Security, "What it does, is provide insurance: it protects workers from poverty in old age, whether or not their families would otherwise be willing and able to support them." And, as he observes, absent the Social Security and Medicare programs, "of course many would die younger than they otherwise would."
And he rightly says of Obama's anti-Social Security, anti-Medicare and anti-Medicaid Grand Bargain: it "would be for millions of Americans the catastrophe itself."
Tags: james galbraith, medicaid, medicare, social security
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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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