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Friday, March 15, 2019

Medicare for All is Doable; Most Americans Want It [feedly]

So says Dean: Medicare for All is Doable; Most Americans Want It

Dean Baker's arguments for progress are always tinged with a rouge of tongue and cheek, or, as Springsteen says about the Jersey Shore, a tint of fraud. They combine an often ironic literary wit and very competent economics to deliver paradoxes in appealing wrappers.

Example: Dean says: Medicare for all is doable (other countries do it, and save money). Most americans believe in universal coverage for modern society. 

However, Dean also says Medicare for All will put a big part of the insurance industry out of business.  In addition, he notes, the Higher paid US doctors and health professionals, plus (I would add) dislocated employees and patients vulnerable to changes in coverage, will all become enemies. These are powerful interests, so.....the changes will have to be incremental.  

However (again...turtles all the way down)...Recent history  shows that billionaires -- esp those in the insurance and energy spheres -- view incremental socialization of their property the same as taking the whole thing. Green New Deal will play the same, in may respects, as MFA. They will exert ALL their power to crush both, and appeal to billionaires in other economic sectors that if the state can take health and energy property, it can take yours too. They will act as if both are existential threats to the class structure of US society, which in their mind, equates completely with their "freedom".

So Dean says we got to have it, and its doable, but can't get past the the class structure of US society that is the obstacle. In other words, he won't be betting any money on it REALLY getting done. There is the wit, if a bit harsh for me.

Further, most of the countries that have socialized medicine established it BEFORE the global private insurance industry became huge and deeply integrated with financial and industrial capital, as they are in the US. The establishment of these health systems in Europe was also the direct result of socialist, labor and social democratic parties and coalitions (including Communists) coming to power between and after the wars. 

Both MFA and the GND imply a general social-democratic revolution and restructuring of US class and political power to realize. If that is correct, every struggle going forward for progress will embody degrees of the tensions now reflected  among Democrats along the axes between Bernie/AOC social democrat (aka Democratic Socialists) and Biden-O'Rourke liberal approaches to ending the conditions of growing oppression, poverty, insecurity, institutional failures, and violence arising from corrupt, increasingly fascist, authoritarian Republican rule. I submit the tension among Democrats is a reflection of a natural (and healthy, fundamentally) aversion to revolutionary upheavals until all other paths are closed. Baker's wit plays on this dilemma 

I think the two tendencies will continue to regard each other as potential adversaries, pressed again and again into alliance by both reason and necessity to resist the advancing corruption and decay of the billionaire regime. I think of Frederick Douglas, or Thaddeus Stevens, and William Henry Seward. All opposed slavery, but could not agree on how it should pass on. The confederacy decided the matter for them. 

Another version of an analogous dilemma. In an old Vietnamese proverb I learned from a speech by Madame Binh,  the block of wood and the nail are adversaries  -- "The job of one inflicts pain on the other. The block of wood sees no end to conflict. The job of revolutionary is to explain to both: the problem is the hammer."

If our past history is any teacher, the billionaires themselves will hammer together the building that will become their own reckoning and imprisonment.

 -- via my feedly newsfeed

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