Up or Down

Damn the torpedoes!  We want an up or down vote on health care.

Thus spake our President as he bludgeoned, er, encouraged Congress to move forward on health care.  Part of me, perhaps the not-so-noble part, hopes that happens.  There are two possible outcomes in my view.  One is that it passes and the Democratic Party is sliced, diced, and served up on crackers in the next election.  The other is that it will fail and our President will learn that democracy does not mean cramming game-altering legislation down the throats of the American people.

Copyright Dean McCoy

OK, maybe number two is wishful thinking.  Number one is likely, but I am not particularly relieved that it may come to pass.  Republicans differ from Democrats in only one respect–occasionally, you can smack a Republican on the back of the head and get some sense. This may be one of those occasions.

To wit, Rep. Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin has some substantive things to say about health care.  First, that the President is lying.  Ryan has noted that the plan counts on assumptions that would make even a hardened cynic blush–double-counting, rosy economic projections, and using ten years of taxes to pay for six years of spending, for starters.  Second, that there are better alternatives that take into account how to pay for it.  (For the record, I support complete privatization, not Ryans’ plan in particular.)  Instructively, we do not hear a thoughtful rebuttal from supporters.  Why?

Because there is none.  Many of my dearest friends want badly for the sick to be cared for–a laudable inclination.  I do too, which is why I oppose this legislation.  The Republicans are many things, but they are not mindless naysayers in this potential fiasco.   At least two proposals have been offered as alternatives.  The President is not interested because they do not include an unprecedented expansion of government.

Which leaves Democrats in a pickle.  They must now sidestep the filibuster, a tool designed to keep government from doing something colossally stupid without garnering a strong consensus first.  Figuring that one more push from the back of the line will get this rotund piece of insanity through the door, they plan to hold an “up or down” vote–soon.  If they succeed, my friends’ good-hearted but misdirected compassion will be answered with chaos, confusion, and disease.  Up or down indeed.


Terry believes that the better part of wisdom is refraining from doing something stupid.

About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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