Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday Musings

Health care is solved! Let's muse.

Reconnected with some long-time friends at Houlihan's this weekend, and enjoyed my free birthday entree. The "free" part negates my principle objection to the place, which is the absurd price point. I believe them when they say they cook from scratch, as though this fact is worthy of commendation, but these recipes were conjured in a test kitchen, with volume sourcing and cheap ingredients.

The results taste fine, but does "fine" justify $15 for a pot roast? Does it justify spending $40 on a dinner, when any number of chefs (not cooks) are producing better outcomes with better ingredients at the same price within a five mile radius? Is it worth setting aside a portion of your dining dollars to pay for marketing and birthday dinners?


Excerpts from a fund-raising letter I received from faithwhores Sojourners.

You may not know Sam, Amy, or Joshua. But they’re just a few of people who spurred Sojourners on as we fought for health-care reform... As we reflect together, will you consider: Isn't now the perfect moment to support Sojourners?

Yes, thank you for providing religious cover to one of the most absurd pieces of legislation in history. It would be the perfect time for me to pad Jim Wallis' bank account. Also, Sojo correctly asserts that I do not know these people.

P.S. For your gift of $100 or more, we’ll send you a copy of Donald Miller’s newest book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

Just for fun, I found an excerpt:

It’s like this when you live a story. The first part happens fast. You throw yourself into the narrative and you’re caught in the water, the shore is pushing back behind you and the trees are getting smaller. The other shore is inches away and you can feel the resolution coming, the feeling of getting out of you’re boat and walking the distant shore, looking back to see where you came from. The first part of a story happens fast, and you think the thing is going to be over soon. But it isn’t going to be over soon.

Yeah, that's the sort of writing you find in books that are given out for free.


Just did.


Jay Cost has an excellent analysis of the health care reform bill. He argues that, among other things, the bill brought influence-peddling into the mainstream. Instead of a shady backdoor deal with a lobbyist, we have the open-air purchase of Senate votes. He cites the following from the AP:

Nebraska, Louisiana, Vermont and Massachusetts. These states are getting more federal help with Medicaid than other states. In the case of Nebraska -- represented by Sen. Ben Nelson, who's providing the critical 60th vote for the legislation to pass -- the federal government is picking up 100 percent of the tab of a planned expansion of the program, in perpetuity.

Read the whole thing.


I'll add my own observation. Irrespective of political ebbs and flows, there have been two issues on which Democrats have reliably drawn support from moderates and conservatives. The first is health care, and the second is the environment.

On health care, even conservatives concede that the present system is broken, which, by definition, plays into the hands of progressives. Conservatives are standing athwart history, yelling "stop!", while the health care roulette wheel has us stuck on 00. Environmental reform appeals to a common sense of decency and a theoretical return to the way things were.

On health care, the Dems have squandered their appeal through their administrative tendency to overreach. The sheer volume of reform, at a federal level, required an untenable morass of payouts to various interests, the sum of which largely offset any benefit to the legislation. Broken as it is, our system can and will get worse. This legislation guarantees it, which accrues advantage to conservatives.

As a likely result of the health care bill, the cap and trade proposal currently floating around congress is almost certainly dead in the water. Largely because it is itself an overreach, with payoffs to favored industries built into its framework, it is unlikely to generate much interest among vulnerable congressmen. As such, the left loses an opportunity to leverage an issue on which they are popular, especially with young people.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:07 PM  
Anonymous HMS said...

Kevin, aside from the minimalist words you left on contact, I need some evidence we are successfully communicating about your newly established role in Alexandria.

If the email address you provided is not one you check and respond to with regularity, please provide me with one which you do.

7:04 AM  

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