Friday, June 19, 2009

blogging doggerel -FSB's (Foils, Strawmen, and Bogeymen), Into the Valley of Debt Rode the 600, Trillions To the Left and Trillions to Right of Them

Foils – Persons or things that set off and enhance something by contrast
Strawmen - A weak argument or opposing view set up by politicians so that they may attack it and gain an easy, showy victory
Bogeymen – An imaginary frightful being, especially one used as a threat

As we enter the make-or-break phase of the health debate, the Senate Finance Committee confronts four huge issues - how to cover the uninsured, whether to create a new public insurance plan, whether to impose new obligations on employers, and who to blame if health reform passes or arrives DOA.

Who to blame comes in the form of FSBs (Foils, Strawmen, or Bogeymen), sometimes referred to simply as SOBs (Sons of Bureaucrats).

Whomever you blame, the trick is to demonize your opponent or terrorize the public. There are FSBs to the left and right of us.

FSBs to the Right of Us

Private Health plans, especially those devilish Medicare Advantage Plans, who have the gall to charge more than traditional Medicare simply because they offer more benefits, try to cover their losses, increase their profits, satisfy their investors, and pay their executives.

Drug Companies - Imagine. These drug makers, who require $800 million to bring a single drug to market, charge more for brand name drugs than generics to cover their losses. There ought to be a law to cut their profits, even if profits are needed to stay in business.

Hospitals and Doctors - Everyone knows these providers over-treat and over-charge those with incurable diseases , those at the end of life because of age, , and for those who want death-defying life-enhancing treatments. Why don’t we just cut $300 billion off their Medicare fees and tell them what they can and cannot do, and let them scramble to make up the difference?

Consumer-Driven Marketers, Innovators, and Entrepreneurs - These profite-mongering folks and their ilk create technologies that cost more and drive up the cost of care. We need to restrain them through comparative outcome research that restricts their activities which produces fragmented niche care. These sons of niches to be disciplined.

Employers, large and small
- Large employers say they can pay rising premiums and stay globally competitive; small employers say they can't afford to cover employees and stay in business. Both of them are sacrificing employees in the name of profit and their own high flying lifestyles. We'll fix them. We'll make them pay or play, even if we don't have to pay as we go ahead with our debt-ridden plans.

FSBs to the Left of Us

Public Plan Socialists - It should be apparent that a public plan with lower premiums, a huge-built in constituency, and no business risk will crush private health plans and stamp out free health care enterprise. This is not only socialistic but pathogenistic and portends a European welfare state.

Health Plan Job Destroyers - Obama Democrats would cut $330 billion from Medicare budgets and $2 trillion from the medical-industrial complex, which makes up 1/6 of the U.S. economy and has created 4 million new jobs over the last 10 years, thereby undermining the only current growth sector of the U.S. economy, and in the process, cause millions of laid-off health care workers.

The Debt Creators - The U.S. already has $100 trillion worth of “unfunded liabilities” – Social Security, Medicare Medicaid, government pensions, U.S. military obligations. In his first 5 months, Obama has tripled the national debt and made it the highest compared to GDP in history. Now he proposes to add $1.2 trillion, probably closer to $2 trillion, over the next ten years to cover 16 million of the 46 million uninsured.

Bureaucratic Care, not Medical Care - Those pointy-headed policy wonks say only government can decide what care people should receive. They will decide through data-mongering computer algorithms to decide what works and what doesn’t work based on statistical averages rather than individuals needs and doctor decisions. Only government, based on collective data, has the wisdom to decide what’s best for the people.

Conclusion – Int the Valley of Debt Rode the 600, The Charge of the Political Light Brigade

Because the House and Senate contain 635 politicians of all partisan stripes and because the final bill may arrive DOA, I’m reminded of Alfred North Tennyson’s poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” which I have changed to The Charge of the Bureaucratic Brigade, and which not reads, in part,with apologies to Lord Tennyson,

Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Debt
Rode the six hundred thirty five:
'Forward and Upward, the Bureaucratic Brigade!
Charge future taxpayers' he said:
Into the valley of Debt
Rode the six thirty five.

Trillions to right of them,
Trillions to left of them,
Trillions in front of them
Rally'd & plunder'd;
Storm'd at with millions and billions,
Boldly they rode into the zillions
Into the jaws of Debt,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

'Forward and Upward, the Bureaucratic Brigade!'
Was there a man dismay'd ?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Some one had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to change the spending habit,
Theirs but to do another debit.
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs is to send the debt high.

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