The coup of corporations is convincing the public that private industry is inherently more efficient and less corrupt than government. The coup of Washington is convincing the public that government operates with the public’s best interest in mind.
Given the current health care reform climate I think it would be faster and easier for everyone to just wait until we develop advanced technology that allows us to transfer our consciousness into computers.
Honestly, it would probably just be simpler for the government to successfully requisition 100 billion dollars in research grants.
The CBO is probably my favorite government agency. It’s non-partisan and focused on empirical reality (hearts!!!). Noah just sent me this article about the CBO review of the latest Republican health care plan and I think it bears a bit more inspection than regular news hype.
Late last night, the Congressional Budget Office released its initial analysis of the health-care reform plan that Republican Minority Leader John Boehner offered as a substitute to the Democratic legislation. CBO begins with the baseline estimate that 17 percent of legal, non-elderly residents won’t have health-care insurance in 2010. In 2019, after 10 years of the Republican plan, CBO estimates that …17 percent of legal, non-elderly residents won’t have health-care insurance. The Republican alternative will have helped 3 million people secure coverage, which is barely keeping up with population growth. Compare that to the Democratic bill, which covers 36 million more people and cuts the uninsured population to 4 percent.
But maybe, you say, the Republican bill does a really good job cutting costs. According to CBO, the GOP’s alternative will shave $68 billion off the deficit in the next 10 years. The Democrats, CBO says, will slice $104 billion off the deficit.
The Democratic bill, in other words, covers 12 times as many people and saves $36 billion more than the Republican plan. And amazingly, the Democratic bill has already been through three committees and a merger process. It’s already been shown to interest groups and advocacy organizations and industry stakeholders.
::: Ezra Klien via email (thanks Noah!!) :::
In a new book, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge reveals new details on politicization under President Bush, reports US News & World Report’s Paul Bedard. Among other things, Ridge admits that he was pressured to raise the terror alert to help Bush win re-election in 2004.
Ridge was never invited to sit in on National Security Council meetings; was “blindsided” by the FBI in morning Oval Office meetings because the agency withheld critical information from him; found his urgings to block Michael Brown from being named head of the emergency agency blamed for the Hurricane Katrina disaster ignored; and was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush’s re-election, something he saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over.
Okay, I am a cynical person and it’s a very particular bitter cynicism born solely from working in politics. After 9 years, it still blows my mind how corrupt these people were.
There are two things I want to say about this, both of which are so deeply disappointing that I can barely even write about them.
1. This implies that the Bush Administration knew terror alerts raised the presidents standing in political polls and wasn’t afraid to use announcements as a political tool. There’s a graph which I find interesting but not fully conclusive which supports this conclusion. Ridge says he never actually gave in but that doesn’t appear to be the case:
Most notoriously, in an August news conference Ridge issued a terror warning for the New York City and Washington, D.C., financial districts. Ridge did not mention that most of the “new” intelligence he cited when he raised the threat level to orange actually pre-dated the 9/11 attacks. Shortly after the election the terror threat levels in New York City and Washington, D.C., were quietly lowered.
:: SeattlePI ::
JuliusBlog, the makers of that graph say that whenever approval ratings dipped as the result of particularly bad press there was a new terror alert announcement. Assuming that is actually the case, either Ridge was complicit or it happened and he didn’t mention anything…until someone offered him money to write a book!!! In other words, he’s just corrupt enough to reveal it all for cash. Disgusting.
2. According to Ridge, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft were the ones who wanted him to politicize the terror alerts in order to sway an election. As far as our current government is concerned this is not actionable election fraud. There will be no panels, no one brought before congress, no one fined, no one imprisoned. We live with a government so fraught with corruption that prosecuting someone for trying to betray the country with lies is not a viable use of political capital.
There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it’s only a hundred billion. It’s less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers. -Richard Feynman
This quote has long been bandied about by science-minded conservatives begging for an air of credibility in a backhanded critique of government. I cringe every time I hear it. Of course, it was an offhand joke by Feynman at the time, but it’s an obviously inept comparison that lacks even the legitimacy of apples to oranges. Armchair pundits ought to note that A DOLLAR BILL IS SUBSTANTIALLY SMALLER THAN A FUCKING STAR. Furthermore, new images from the Hubble Deep Field show that there are at least 100 billion galaxies in the universe and each galaxy containing around 1 trillion stars. That’s 1 x 10^23 or 100 sextillion stars in the universe.
My point here isn’t to rag on Feynman, but instead on people who use ham-fisted, inaccurate, and illogical comparisons about the size of the national deficit. There are a lot of valid critiques available about the depth, breadth and methodology of government spending, none of them are buttressed effectively by cross referencing the size of the universe.
Also, wallstats has some pretty cool visualizations about just how big 1 billion dollars is. There is also a cool visualization out there of the physical size of 1 billion dollars but I wasn’t able to successfully google for it. Also, consider checking out that Hubble Article I linked to earlier.
Mr. Atman Writes:
1 trillion stars per galaxy, 100 sextillion in the known universe
which would give us about 11 galaxies worth of national debt
which is still quite a bit fewer dollars than, say, the number of
kilograms of mass present in the Moon.
keep the faith!