Forward into the Past


Watching the debate last night, one hesitates to call it ‘Presidential’, I was struck by what a mess the US has become. Rereading the Federalist Papers brings back the founding fathers exhortations against partisan politics and yet here we are.

We have the current office holder, tired after fighting the party of No for four years, trying to defend the results of congressional sausage-making. And his hopeful and I thought overly aggressive opponent arguing that in order for the US to prosper we need to bring back the robber barons and roll back the results of the civil war… and likely start more wars as those are good for business.

Living in Canada one can see the benefit of a single payer healthcare system — and some of the flaws. Having 10 healthcare systems means 10 massive bureaucracies and 10 different sets of practice guidelines. And endless squabbling over money and access.  Keeping the insurance companies at the center of the ‘system’ and eliminating the single payer option went a long way towards keeping the costs (and profits) of US healthcare up. Surveys show that the complexity of working with insurance companies is one of the largest single costs. The idea of 50 different systems run by state governments (many of whom have statutory limits on deficits) and profit-driven insurance companies suggests that the costs of healthcare administration will soon look like the space program — soaring without limits. The idea that the magic of the market will drive costs down is a right wing myth — it only works for some things and human enterprises are not one of them.

One would really have to be blind and deaf to miss the degree to which the party of Ryan and Romney has focused on blocking and destroying the president and letting the country go to ruin. There would not have been the need for the huge bailouts if the regulations had not been whittled away by those same folks. One only has to look at the folks funding that campaign to guess at what sort of world THEY want…

On the other hand, looking at the TSA and the vast, hidden bureaucracy of Homeland Insecurity there does seem to be some substance to the persistent pessimism and paranoia of the ‘X-Files’.

Oh, I think we could get to a better place under the leadership of ‘Spock’ — but not with the current crop in opposition. And if those boys get power my fear is that the US is in for a very dark and nasty period.

Since bureaucracies tend to be self-perpetuating (Parkinsons Law, anyone?) and expand independent of any responsibilities the likelihood of the system healing itself seems dim. I do hope, however, that it does not take another Revolution to heal things. But I suspect my relatives in the Militias are expecting otherwise.

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