Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Liars Keep Lying

I borrowed that title, yes I did. From legally challenged yet now Minnesota Senator Al Franken actually, but it's relevant to today and one of the guys that Franken picked on in his book: Rush Limbaugh. Rush, ever the elitist, oh, you don't think so? Are you aware that last year Limbaugh's bonus was $100 Million? And that he was flown to Britain so he could legally do an interview for Cigar Aficionado and give his opinion on Cuban cigars? Limbaugh is about as regular guy as Limburger cheeses is an orange. Remember that when you listen to him call auto workers stooges. Back to the point though.

Today on CNN they aired a clip about Limbaugh prattling on about wanting Obama to fail. Limbaugh's rant included the statements that he doesn't want government in charge of the banks, medical care, this that and the other thing. And my point is this: The conservative media is still lying. They are still willing to tell lies to deceive people and create division in our country. They are still unwilling to admit that they are wrong in their policies.

Let's parse Limbaugh's statements. For example, Rush is worried that Obama will take over the banks, and they will fail. Here's a classic case of missing the train, because the Republican/conservative administration he so staunchly supported and lied for for 8 years beat Obama to the punch on this one and with the TARP money already took over share of banks and mortgage companies late last year. The Republicans began the socialization of the American investment banking industry. Another factor plays in here. Part of that is Limbaugh's listening audience. it isn't young. It's big, and demographically on the edge closer to leaving this place rather than joining it. It seems he can play fast and loose with the facts because either no one of his audience notices, or they don't care. They overlook the facts to hang onto their ideology.

Now just imagine for a second if the Bushies had privatized Social Security. It would have been wiped out in the deregulated market the Bushies helped create to sell the stupid things they created that were not based on anything tangible. Then think where many seniors would be right now. But Mr. Limbaugh would want it that way. He supports the unregulated free market that has twice crashed under Republican oversight. But never mind that, he gets his bonus for telling his audience otherwise.

Let's look at the amazing success of health care in America. You know, the health care system that had more people uninsured in 2008 than in 2000. You know that system. It's the free market system which is supposed to correct all these problems if we deregulate it and let the free market do it. If you want to hear particular horror stories, well, just start reading some foreign news sources. The Guardian for example tells a story once in a while. For now though, I'll just skip the heart rending stories. Let's just look at some of the facts. Like the fact mentioned above and the one that reveals that our health care cost per capita is the highest on any industrial nation. I suppose industrial is starting to be a bit of a stretch for America. It only makes up about 12% of our economy. But that's for another day. Look at it this way; has your insurance coverage expanded to cover more procedures at a lower cost, or has it reduced coverage at a higher cost? Ours at work has. If nothing else, the coverage doesn't change, but a double digit price jump occurs every year.

Meanwhile, profits in the health care industry, particularly among insurers, have jumped, and CEO pay packages certainly aren't shrinking. But we'll look at capitalism another day. So with all this money coming in, how is it that this free market system has produced such a failure of coverage, let alone health? It's well known that even something like infant mortality, America isn't even in the top ten of the nations of this planet. Childhood obesity is an epidemic. Type 2 diabetes is escalating rapidly. Heart disease isn't slowing down because rescue worker technology is able to catch some of those that would be statistics sooner, and saving their lives. Profit in the health care system is predicated on keeping costs low. Costs are payouts for surgeries, procedures, and recovery. And long term recovery from diseases like cancer are really costly. So how do you keep the costs low? Well, I'll let you imagine how. On the other hand, sickness allows the pharmaceuticals to keep pumping their industry into your bloodstream. So there isn't enough incentive for them to promote your total heath. it's best for them if you are sick enough to require their services and products, but stay away from the catastrophes that really cost them money.

Since we've seen how ineffective the free market system is in providing health care, why not expand on a government program that already exists? It's called Medicare. Every worker, a shrinking pool in this country, pays into it, just like Social Security. Make it a single payer universal care program. Utilize some insurance industry truths to work for Americans. Like the truth that a bigger risk pool reduces premium levels. Imagine a risk pool of 300 million! And take the profit factor out of health care. Under a single payer program, the incentive then would be to promote health as a way to reduce costs. But Rush wouldn't like that. He would probably rather see the free market provide care, as it has allegedly done for many decades. After all Rush would say, it's the best health care system in the world. And I'm sure the million or so laid off last November and December would heartily agree. And under a universal single payer system, they could. But not now.

None of this matters to Rush and the other conservative media pundits. They will continue to misrepresent the truth because they are Machiavellians, admittedly or not. They think the end justifies the means, and that it is better to govern by fear rather than by love. And that is how professed believers in traditional family values and the God that supposedly is the source of them can act so shamelessly contrary to their own morals.

The liars will keep on lying.