Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 21, 2009

'GOVERNMENT' STILL NOT POPULAR.... The need for bold, government action probably hasn't been as strong in decades as it is now. The government needed to intervene to prevent an economic collapse. It needs to intervene to prevent an environmental catastrophe. Government is needed to repair a broken health care system, repair financial regulations, improve access to education, and combat terrorism.

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And yet, distrust of government is soaring, at precisely the worst time. After the excruciating failures of the Bush era, it was tempting to think the electorate might finally be prepared for an activist government , addressing crises that conservative policymakers preferred to ignore and neglect. That, alas, is not the case.

A new Gallup poll reports, "Americans are more likely today than in the recent past to believe that government is taking on too much responsibility for solving the nation's problems and is over-regulating business. New Gallup data show that 57% of Americans say the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to businesses and individuals, and 45% say there is too much government regulation of business. Both reflect the highest such readings in more than a decade."

The results are more than a little discouraging. In a time of widespread fires, a whole lot of Americans have been convinced not to trust the fire department. After deregulation helped create a global economic collapse, a plurality of Americans think "there is too much regulation of business." That's kind of nutty, but it's also the highest number on this question in a generation. The percentage of Americans who believe "government is trying to do too much" is the highest it's been since the days of Speaker Gingrich.

Reflecting on the Gallup data, Greg Sargent noted, "[A]ny chance President Obama may have had to permanently shift the paradigm against government-is-bad theology is fast passing him by."

Perhaps. But I'm not prepared to give up hope on a possible paradigm shift.

First, the poll's questions were fairly generic, and if you ask Americans about whether the government should be "doing more to solve the nation's problems," a generic opposition can kick in.

What matters more, however, are the specifics. Let's remember, much of the public doesn't even understand what is and isn't a government program. It's been surprisingly common of late to hear people say they hate government but love their Medicare. Americans say they want government to do less, but if pressed on the details, these same Americans look to policymakers to do more -- indeed, far more -- on everything from health care to education, infrastructure to energy policy.

Note, for example, that despite all of the ferocious attacks against health care reform in recent months, the public option still polls very, very well. People who claim they want government to do less are the same people who like the idea of a government-run plan that competes with private insurers. That's a fundamentally liberal idea that challenges the government-is-bad paradigm, and conservative criticisms aren't working.

This is especially true as it relates to the economic crisis. Are American really hoping that the finance and banking sector are regulated even less? Maybe some see a value in that, but they're hopelessly confused.

Second, the best way to change public perceptions is to prove their fears wrong. The White House and its allies in Congress are using government to intervene in a variety of areas at a time of considerable unrest and near-panic. Resistance to change and bold government action is almost reflexive. Real, meaningful change is hard.

But those numbers can shift back with proof. If policymakers can use government to improve the economy, fix the broken health care system, prevent terrorism, make college more accessible and affordable, restore some common sense oversight on Wall Street, Americans' attitudes will change.

And third, the president deserves at least some credit for, during his first eight months in office, challenging the prevailing paradigm. Bill Clinton famously said the "era of big government is over," but Barack Obama has deliberately tried to move the needle in the other direction.

* In January, Obama offered a rather explicit defense of government: "It is true that we cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or long-term growth, but at this particular moment, only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe. Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy...."

* In February, in his first address to Congress, Obama did the same thing. E. J. Dionne Jr. noted at the time, "President Obama's message to the nation Tuesday night was plain and unequivocal: The era of bashing government is over.... [Obama] has sought, subtly but unmistakably, to alter the nation's political assumptions, its attitudes toward collective action and its view of government. Obama's rhetoric is soothing and his approach is inclusive. But he is proposing nothing less than an ideological transformation."

* In his joint-session speech on health care, Obama again defended the very idea of government action, standing up for the "belief that in this country, hard work and responsibility should be rewarded by some measure of security and fair play; and an acknowledgment that sometimes government has to step in to help deliver on that promise." He warned against the "perils" of government doing "too little."

Changing attitudes about government is even more difficult than changing a dysfunctional health care system. But President Obama is making a deliberate effort, despite the headwinds.

Steve Benen 1:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (47)

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Comments

"...numbers can shift back with proof..."

The result of this survey is "keep the government's hands off my Medicare" on steroids. The cognitive dissonence among Americans is alarming. In fact, we already have more than enough proof that government, which is an extension of "we the people", can and usually does work to our benefit.

Posted by: Chris on September 21, 2009 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

It would be nice if we had a functioning press firmly rooted in reality and facts rather than one trying hopelessly to fend off the liberal media bias baloney.

Posted by: gyma on September 21, 2009 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

How about...

Many people think the government needs to step up and do more to solve the everyday problems of regular people. Some others think that CEOs of large corporations and wealthy individuals should continue to set the rules. Which comes closer to your own view?

Posted by: converse on September 21, 2009 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Those who think this way can show their dedication to the idea by refusing to use/take any part of what government provides.
These are the same people who sat silent over the last 8 years, and the same ones who in a whole lot of instances are quick to ask, "Why doesn't the government do something?"
I noticed that a lot of the tea party crowd are probably on medcare, but want the government to,"keep your hands off my medicare," not realizing that they are contributing to the growth of government at the same time as they are trying to limit its' size. They don't seem to be capable of understanding that government plays a useful role in all of our lives. A prime example of this was the complaint from the tea partiers who went to DC on September 12. They don't want the governnment to upgrade and/or spend money to expand public transportation systems, they have their politicians vote against the improvement and/or expansion of transportation services, then they and the politicians they support complain about the efficiency of the (DC) transit system. This is cognitive dissonance in action.

Posted by: majii on September 21, 2009 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

First, the poll's questions were fairly generic, and if you ask Americans about whether the government should be "doing more to solve the nation's problems," a generic opposition can kick in.

I think this is similar to the fact that while the popularity of "Congress" is perennially abysmal, most individual congresspersons have positive ratings from their constituents. People are skeptical about vague government action (and more to the point, are easily stampeded into being suspicious without specifics), but are rarely opposed to specific programs that work of that look like they'll work, especially when there's a serious problem to be addressed.

Posted by: Redshift on September 21, 2009 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Who are these people going to trust? Private insurance companies? The financial industry?

This "free market Darwinism as panacea" delusion fails to recognize that a lot people and institutions are going to be eliminated before any "market" correction. Conservatives are seriously deluded concerning the societal role of corporations and their own personal ability to influence the market.

Government is the ONLY institution whose sole purpose is to serve the interests of its constituents. Corporations only serve their shareholders.

With proper representation, government can accomplish much, much more for this country than any private person or organization. But proper represenation requires an informed public, and we are running on empty in that department.

You get the government you deserve.

Posted by: bdop4 on September 21, 2009 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

What a lame comment from Sgt. Sargent...

The major task for the Obama Presidency is to breathe life into government, so that the Ronnie Rayguns legacy of "guvimint-is-yer-enemy" is as dead as Ronnie himself...

This country has not had a functioning government since Jimmy Carter's administration.

Ya think there might be crises that continue to grow out of control since Jimmy last wore a cardigan in front of a White House fireplace?

Posted by: neill on September 21, 2009 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

The thing that always amazes me is how smart progressive commentators like Steve repeatedly fail to recognize a simple truth--that the vast majority of Americans are f**king stupid.

It's really as simple as that.

Posted by: WyldPirate on September 21, 2009 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not giving up hope either.

Posted by: fourlegsgood on September 21, 2009 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Government and Corporate America have been in bed with each other for decades, at least since the Reagan years, arguably going back further than that. We've had corporate lobbyists writing Congressional legislation for a long time; both parties have caved in to big business on a lot of issues.

So for most Americans there is little distinction left between them.

Posted by: Speed on September 21, 2009 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Wyldpirate-The Republicans know this and take advantage of it, they are then winning the propaganda war.

Posted by: edr on September 21, 2009 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

The major task for the Obama Presidency is to breathe life into government, so that the Ronnie Rayguns legacy of "guvimint-is-yer-enemy" is as dead as Ronnie himself...

It takes time - years probably - to bring about the kind of paradigm shift mentioned in the blog post. The November 2010 elections will be crucial in this regard. If the Republicans continue to act as a regional fringe party and lose even more seats from non-Southern states, their anti-government message will be seen by the rest of us as increasingly hollow. So progressives everywhere should probably start working NOW to get your people elected in 2010!

Posted by: Jack Lindahl on September 21, 2009 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Well if my principle experience with government was the past 9 months...

I'd see bankers getting billions a slap on the wrist and a smile. I'd see a totally dysfunctional government has been stuck on one thing (health care) for MONTHS with no end in sight, and a political process that should best be avoided.

In other words, all I am seeing from Pro-Gov Obama is suck.

So if Pro-Gov = suck and Anti-Gov = suck then all things being equal, anti-gov!

Posted by: MNPundit on September 21, 2009 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

It's hard to see the break points on the above graph but it appears they are the bank bailout (that's about when the "doing too much" line started heading down) and the stimulus bill, which is when the trend reversed and started heading up.

It's possible the public is skeptical of trying to save GM with taxpayer money, and attempting to restart the economy with public works spending (a problematic strategy because no matter how much you search for "shovel ready projects," the money is slow to get into circulation.

You can also trace the second break point to Obama's inauguration which provided a high visibility target for conservatives who, no matter how much they thought "W" was a pinko, just couldn't make the charge stick.

Posted by: Art Hackett on September 21, 2009 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Don't kid yourselves most people are smart enough to know that the Federal Government, especially the Congress, is wholly owned by America's top corporations. That the government would do anything to help real people is all but accidental. Don't believe me, look at the Bankruptcy Bill, the lack of coherent environmental policy, the oil industry' subsidies, Medicare D, the Baucus Health Care Bill and just about everything that government has done since 2000. People don't think they have any friend in the Government. The notion that people are generally stupid is misplaced. They aren't and they can see what has happened over the last decade.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 21, 2009 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

"a simple truth--that the vast majority of Americans are f**king stupid"

A-fucking-men

Posted by: rbe1 on September 21, 2009 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Category 5

But President Obama is making a deliberate effort, despite the headwinds.

Headwinds? You mean the homegrown hurricane called Stupid?
If that video doesn't blow away whatever remaining optimism you have for America, I envy you your faith...


Posted by: koreyel on September 21, 2009 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers sez:

"The notion that people are generally stupid is misplaced. They aren't and they can see what has happened over the last decade.

Look Ron, corporations running government is not an invention of the last ten years. IT is a feature of capitalism, not a bug. Furthermore history shows that there have been few departures from this trend in the US for at least the last 120 years.

I don't disagree with you that many Americans realize that corporations buy off the government. Those that do and tolerate it are, in my mind, even more stupid for tolerating this situation.

Posted by: WyldPirate on September 21, 2009 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody who refers to the American people as "f**king" anything is saying more about himself than Americans in general.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 21, 2009 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

With the exception of only one real blip 2001 or so, in The percentage of people answering "too much" has fluctated back and forth between the low 50s to the high 50s since

That's actually an incredibly small degree of variation (considering we've lived under Clinton, Bush, and Obama - 3 very different presidents) and probably shows more that the American public has fairly entrenched and "gut" reactions to this sort of generic question.

I think the poster above referencing the disparity between approval for "Congress" and individual congressman is on the right track.

This data probably has more interesting things to say about the odd ways that humans often respond to surveys than it does about attitudes toward gov't. "Americans, by a slight plurality, are and have been generically wary of the government for 2 decades". That's the only meaningful take home here. I'd take issue with the claim that anything is "soaring" in any direction.

Posted by: horatio on September 21, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Don't confuse tea-baggers with Americans in general. Obama won the last election by a wide margin. Just don't think we don't have to address the widespread belief that the American government, both parties, is all about government by the corporations and for the corporations. The burden is on the Obama Administration and the Democratic party to prove that some how they are different. The bank bailout, the stimulus package and the Baucus Bill make that burden very difficult.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 21, 2009 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

ron byers sez:

"Anybody who refers to the American people as "f**king" anything is saying more about himself than Americans in general."

in other words, you've got nothin'.

so, i suppose you need to get the fuck over yourself, ron, and stop being the language nanny.

Posted by: WyldPirate on September 21, 2009 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

The process known as "Government" has been superseded over the last several months by the phony process known as "Bipartisanship."

As we've seen, focusing on the latter as a goal in and of itself precludes any progress with the former.

No wonder the public is soured on Government; our representatives are not producing any.

Posted by: kevmo on September 21, 2009 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Does this mean liberals can just do what they want as long as they scream "Smaller government!"???

Is conservatism such a hollow shell?

Not to say that I endorse lying... It's just ironic that this seems to be precisely what America wants.

Thinking for yourself is hard.
Parroting back bumper sticker truisms is comforting regardless of whether you actually believe them

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on September 21, 2009 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe some better poll questions to ask would be-
1. Do you want private corps to run the road system.
2.Do you want private corps to run the water systems.
3. Do you want private corps to run the armed forces.
4. Do you want private corps to run social security and medicare.
5. Do you want private corps to run the EPA.
6. Do you want private corps to run FEMA.
7. Do you want private corps to run the natinal park system.
School system,Post Office,Dept. of Immigration,etc.,etc., etc.

Posted by: Gandalf on September 21, 2009 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Emergent Becksterism: Neo fundamentalism...

Ron Byers: Don't confuse tea-baggers with Americans in general.

I understand the point. The video that has so profoundly blown me away is unfairly steeped. It is highly concentrated tea. The baddest of the brew...

But right now we are on the edge of something emergent: Becksterism. We don't know where Murdoch's puppet is taking America. And we don't what his top-end is.

One thing we do know however: Human beings don't like complexity. They like simple explanations for all things... like: Heaven and hell. Or the priest that says "Don't eat pig on Saturday." Or the pope that says: "Don't shave on Friday."

Simple answers.
And simple certainty.
People like those together better than chocolate and peanut butter. That's a fundamentalism about fundamentalism. And Murdoch's Beck is a new type of fundamentalism.

I can see this new-fundamentalism winning. Especially as the planet decays under the tides of global warming.

And decay it will...
As sure as cap-and-trade will falter-and-fade...

Posted by: koreyel on September 21, 2009 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Keep in mind there isn't a publicly displayed index showing how much or how little gov't is regulating business. But, now that there's talk of regulating it people think we're going from a decent amount of regulation to OVER-regulation.

Isn't so. There was a long period of slow gradual de-regulation which ended in the crescendo of destruction last Fall. The public didn't notice how we got there. They hardly know to blame Republicans for it. The MSM weren't doing their job and the public was NOT informed.

That's one reason Dem efforts to regulate must be sparing and right on target. Excess (in the public's view) will be punished at the polls.


Posted by: MarkH on September 21, 2009 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

just look at how low the "mixed/depends" number is driven by stupidity (or at least not giving it any thought)

How can you be asked "should gov do more/less?" without asking "more/less of what?"

Posted by: jefft452 on September 21, 2009 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry
"just look at how low the "mixed/depends" number is driven by stupidity (or at least not giving it any thought)"

sould read "just look at how low the "mixed/depends" number is shows that this poll is driven by stupidity (or at least not giving it any thought)"

Posted by: jefft452 on September 21, 2009 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

There are two issues here I think. The first is the abstract ideological question of whether government, defined as some sort of centralized authority with the ability to enforce laws, collect taxes, etc., has a useful role to play in organizing society in a way that benefits it members. Conservatives would tend to say no and thus seek to limit the size and scope of gorenmaent; liberals tend to say yes and hope to expand public services.

The other issue is that of the concrete political reality with which we are faced today. Even if we more or less agree with the liberal ideology above, we have to wonder whether the democratic party in its present incarnation is even capable, in an on the ground political sense, of achieving legislation that promotes those ends. I was reading "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72" the other day by Hunter Thompson. He was wondering the same thing 35 years ago, and speculating that the demise of the democratic party was a necessary step in the promotion of progressive values. I find myself consistently impressed and sometimes even moved by Barack Obama's speeches and rhetoric. However, I am increasingly concerned that two years from now, we will look back and see that nothing meaningful has been accomplished. We shouldn't give up yet, and I believe that Obama is, by the standards of professional politicians, an honest man trying to accomplish some good things. But I do believe we should spend more time pressuring democratic policy makers, and less time criticizing republicans who aren't making serious arguments to begin with. We have to convince democratic party leaders that not only their political careers are on the line, but the future of the democratic party as a viable political entity is in jeopardy. This begs the question, if not the democratic party then who? Obviously there is no one else and by refusing to support the democratic party, we will transfer power to the republicans. Our job, then, is to convince the democratic leadership that this state of affairs, a return to republican domination of government, is one we prefer to supporting their half-assed endeavors on our behalf. Without exerting pressure of this sort, we will see no change at all.

Posted by: Jason on September 21, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Anybody who refers to the American people as "f**king" anything is saying more about himself than Americans in general."

I just don't see much evidence that large segments of the american populace have demonstrated clear thinking and analysis when it comes to the big political issues. For example, 911 killed around 3000 people and the americans got solidly behind invading an entire country and knocking over its government as a way of apprehending the "evil-doers" (who are stll at large by the way), or how about remaining quiet while their government spied on them and tortured its prisoners. Anyway, aside from electing Obama, where the verdict is still out ... but I forget, only slightly over 50% elected him, in preference over a dottering elster and his nutcase vice-presidential candidate.
In my experience, people think in slogans a lot of the time (perhaps because they don't have a lot of time or perhaps because they just don't give a shit), and he who controls the slogans, controls the people. The Germans were a pretty well educated lot in the thirties, and look at how well the nazi slogan machine did with them.

Posted by: rbe1 on September 21, 2009 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Here is a radical thought. Why not assume your critics are asking honest questions to which they want genuine answers instead of calling them stupid? Why not knock them off their pins by answering their questions with facts and logic instead of rejecting their questions and answering with rhetoric?

This is an imaginary sales conversation between a potential buyer and seller of an expensive automobile, let's say an Audi A8.

"Look at the lines of this car.."
"Looks expensive, how much is it?"
"Did you know the frame is made of airframe quality aluminum?"
"Sounds great, how am I going to pay for it? How much is it?"
"Look at the quality of the stitching in this leather interior"
"I am, it looks very expensive. I don't think I can afford it."
"Nonsense, you have an unlimited credit line, and any initial expenses will be more than made up for by long term savings"
"How exactly?"
"Well, we will write into the contract that you stop paying for your other obligations if this car gets too expensive." -Salesman smirks here.
"The car I have now is not perfect, but.."
"The car you have now is a disaster. If you don't buy this car you will be dead in a week!"
"So how much is it?"
"Not only will you be dead, but your children will die, as well as many strangers..."
"So, what is the downside?"
"There are no downsides! The time for debate and bickering is over, now sign ze papers!"

I am probably wrong, maybe you guys can tell me where I am, but this is what Obama's sales approach sounds like to me. Including the smirk.

Posted by: tool on September 21, 2009 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

"[Govt]has a useful role to play in organizing society in a way that benefits it members. Conservatives would tend to say no"

Really? ReeaallY?? Sorry for Beckian histrionics, but REEAAAALLY???!? Do yo believe that statement? Do you know a single conservative? My bet is no. I know lots of them, and I don't know any who would disagree that govt is needed and often useful. Not one. I suppose that somewhere on the web you can find a couple, its a big interweb, but seriously. You guys have to stop arguing with straw men, because Americans, as shown by your own post, are moving on.

Posted by: tool on September 21, 2009 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Polls, like the daily close on the markets, are only useful to a point and in this country we long ago passed that point. Many of our major business organizations drove off the road because they confused quarterly earnings, and resulting short term share values, with a long term business plan. Our national government, particularly the Congress, has for too long been guided by the 'weathervane' definition of leadership. The poll results being discussed in this blog are of a piece with all of that: transient and of no lasting importance.

Posted by: robert on September 21, 2009 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

People simply don't believe that Government can do anything right. And the evidence from the health-care fiasco is that it can't. Democrats have a HUGE majority nearing 60 Senators, and they can't even pass simple health care reform that works for the average American.

Mexico can pass universal health care and now will have it in place by 2012. The US? We'll be arguing about it for the next 20 years.

People have the attitude that government is bought and paid for by special interests and it clearly is -- both parties.

People are cynical and confused about what is happening, and even the best informed can't be sure exactly what is happening.

And you add to this that since the 1940's that opinion surveys show the following:

A small percentage, less than 10% know a lot about politics, and are generally informed.

A larger percentage, about 1/2 know a tiny amount about politics, like that there IS a health care debate, perhaps the name of one Senator, and can describe the basic system of government (name the three branches of government, etc.).

And about 40% know absolutely NOTHING. They might know the name of the President, but don't bother to vote or pay any attention to current events. They have ZERO historical knowledge, they don't know who their congresspersons are, and they don't care.

The more involved from this group are sometimes called "Independents" because they might show up and vote, if the mood strikes them.

They are easily fooled because they have no real basis of knowledge to begin with. So, if they hear "John Kerry is a traitor and a flip-flopper" they tend to believe it. They don't know much else.

If they hear over and over from right-wing talk shows that "Obama-care" is going to put grandma out on the ice-flow, they tend to believe it because they don't know any different. And it sounds like something the "government" would do! They're always screwing up, why wouldn't they come up with a scheme to put Grandma on an ice-flow?

That's really what's being measured by that survey.

Posted by: Cugel on September 21, 2009 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

So if Obama's people are not planning to send grandma off on an "ice flow[sic]" what was Obama talking about in his NYT interview with decisions that would involve a panel of doctors and ethicists?

And what was Ezekiel Emanuel, Obama's medical ethicist, talking about in his article in The Lancet of January of this year?

And what is the UK doing today?

You guys are so ignorant of the arguments of the other side that it is just too much work debating with you. Finding links, etc, and for what? Things seem to be going our way as you guys stick to your guns. Why should I try to change that? I shouldn't. As you were.

Posted by: tool on September 21, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

"You guys are so ignorant of the arguments of the other side that it is just too much work debating with you"
And you are conflating a public option in a mix with existing private health insurance with the government-run system in England. For shame. As to Grandma's fate, tell me that private insurance wouldn't be doing everything possible to help grandma out the door if it meant improving the bottom line of the share-holders, or do you think we are stupid ?

Posted by: rbe1 on September 21, 2009 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Tool, while many on this list are ignorant on a number of topics we do pay an inordinate amount of attention to conservative arguments. Thankfully most of them don't fact check really well.

You guys aren't winning because you aren't really in the game. Carping from the sideline without proposing any reasonable, realistic alternatives is not playing, so I can't say "thanks for playing." All I can say is come back when you are prepared for a serious discussion.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 21, 2009 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

"And you are conflating a public option in a mix with existing private health insurance with the government-run system in England"

Have you seen the youtube of Obama speaking before the SEIU in 2004? Well, if you haven't, lots of other people have, and in it he says that getting to single payer is a process that will take years of undermining private insurance.

Canada started out as one option among many too. I know you guys are so knowledgeable, maybe you should look into the history of how private insurance for anything important, not talking about ambulance rides, became outlawed in Canada.

Posted by: tool on September 21, 2009 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

I will give you one more chance, Ron. What was Ezekiel Emanuel talking about in The Lancet? Here is the link:

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)60137-9/fulltext

What is the "instrumental value" of my Grandma?

Posted by: tool on September 21, 2009 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Tool,

Yep, I have seen the 2004 speech before the SEIU. This is what, 2009. Politics is the art of the possible right now. Like a lot of your ilk, you lack the judgment that comes with perspective and a basic understanding of politics.

By the way, I am in favor of Medicare for all with private insurance available to pay for extras. Medicare works pretty well for our seniors. I bet it would work well for the rest of us. Sadly that approach is off the table. Question, why do you love insurance company profits more than you do members of your own family? Second question, why do you hate competition? Anyway when has an insurance company ever done anything for you?

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 21, 2009 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Ezekiel Emanuel,MD's article discussed the various moral considerations when allocating scarce medical resources. What he didn't really discuss was discuss the predominate consideration of an insurance companies when it decides to deny coverage to a seriously ill patient because he didn't cross a "t" or dot an irrelevant "i" on an application years ago--the profit consideration. You understand the basic profit consideration employed by health insurance companies don't you tool--collect premiums and don't pay out. I have actually seen that consideration in play. It ain't pretty, and it doesn't involve a doctor/patient discussion at any point.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 21, 2009 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Government is needed to repair a broken health care system, repair financial regulations, improve access to education, and combat terrorism."

Huh? There's an urgent crisis in.. access.. to education?

=darwin

Posted by: darwin on September 21, 2009 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK
What was Ezekiel Emanuel talking about in The Lancet?

Free clue: not even remotely what you think he was talking about. What's hilarious is that every one of your examples has been widely and thoroughly debunked, and yet, here you are, moronically presenting the same old crap that we've seen countless times before, all smug about how clever you're being. And, in the meantime, we're giggling away at the stupidity and mindlessness of it all.

Posted by: PaulB on September 21, 2009 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't 57% about the same percentage of Americans who think creationism is a better explanation for the origins and evolution of mankind than the theory of evolution?

So I interpret this Gallup poll data as further evidence that ~57% of the population are very slow learners, the slow adapters. Reality just has to keep knock, knock, knocking on their thick skulls before the message gets through. In an earlier era, they would would have been eaten by saber-tooth tigers.

Posted by: PTate in MN on September 21, 2009 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, we are having a paradigm shift --- though it doesn't "officially" start until the middle of next year. And then continue for 32.5 years.

May sound silly, but I've spent years writing a book that discovers this pattern in history. It is now time for big government --- and big brother. And the working classes making out well.
www.PredictingHistory.com

Posted by: catherineD on September 22, 2009 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

The reason for this result is blindingly obvious:

Some who say the government is doing too much have an ideological opposition to the concept, though they don't realize how much the State has actually done up to this point to maintain a fraudulent, unsustainable system. Others hear the question and think of all the government intervention that's been for the benefit of big business (primarily the banks), concluding rationally that this is the type of intervention most likely to happen vs anything remotely designed to help the average person. The rest who say the government is doing too much are partisan Republicans who actually swallow the "Obama is drastically changing the U.S." garbage.

The 2nd group has a point, ya think?

Posted by: whatever dogg on September 22, 2009 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK
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