If Socialized Medicine Is So Bad, Why Do Republicans Use It?

If you have any doubts about my previous post regarding the power of simplicity in politics, Congressman Sanders from Vermont nails the point home. “If socialized medicine and single payer health care are so bad, why aren’t Republicans trying to get rid of it?

Dear Senator McCain,

My name is Bernie Sanders. I’m a Congressman from Vermont.

And I now own your soul

Signed

Congressman Bernie Sanders

I’d add one more point. If socialized medicine is so bad, why do conservative politicians use the government provided health care benefits given to all members of Congress?

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McCain: Being “Mean” To Reagan is Reason to Oppose Confirmation

Who cares if a deputy nominee for the Department of Interior is well qualified and capable of helping the country. He “insulted” Reagan. NO CONFIRMATION FOR HIM!

I’m eagerly await my conservative readers arguing “Well LIBERALS once did something sort of like this too!!!!!” *tear* *tear*

When Pork Isn’t Pork

One of the things that’s gotten lost in the current debate about earmarks are…well the earmarks themselves. Leading the effort to “curb government waste” is none other than our old buddy, pun intended, John McCain who recently released a who’s who’s list of pork in the proposed budget.

But unsurprisingly, most of the “pork” projects McCain and his Republican allies are criticizing either flat out don’t exist or are actually good projects:

Conservatives are hammering the House’s new $410 billion spending bill because it contains $200,000 for what they’re derisively referring to as “tattoo removal.” Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Drudge, and at least one GOP official on MSNBC, among others, have been all over this today.

But a little reporting reveals that that this “tattoo removal” program is an anti-crime program in the San Fernando Valley that re-integrates reformed gang members and makes it easier for them to find jobs. Two Los Angeles law enforcement officials I just spoke to — one who identified himself as a “conservative Republican” — swore by the program for reducing crime and saving lives.

Rep. Berman’s office also put me in touch with Harold Gold, a probation officer with a local specialized gang unit. “It can get the kids jobs — if you have gang tattoos, you can’t get a job,” Gold said. “This program is one of the best life-saving and life-changing programs out here. I am about as right wing a conservative as you would ever find

Of course, its perfectly acceptable to spend $1 million of taxpayer money to celebrate Ronald Reagan’s birthday. Perfectly acceptable.

Senate Republicans Were For Earmarks Before They Were Against Them

Earmarks, earmarks, earmarks.

Senate obstructionist republicans succeeded in stopping democrats from passing a budget, because of their objections that the bill included earmarks. But of course, staying in line with their typical hypocrisy several republicans voted against an amendment which would strip the budget bill of any earmarks.

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GOP Senators: Fuck it. Let The Banks Fail

Over the weekend Republican senators John McCain and Richard C. Shelby made headlines when they advocated that the government should let some big banks fail.

Close them down, get them out of business,” Mr. Shelby, the senior Republican on the Banking Committee, told ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” “If they’re dead, they ought to be buried.”

I’m not really sure what the economic reasoning is in that statement. Kind of sounds like knee jerk “jackassery” if you ask me. Or as Kevin Drum calls it the “fuck it” strategy:

Allowing Citi to fail would hardly cause them any more damage than they’ve already suffered. So why not just let them go under, as Shelby wants?

The answer is that we could do this. This was the gamble Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson took last September when they allowed Lehman Brothers to fail — dammit, it’s time to enforce some market discipline on these guys! — and their gamble failed spectacularly. The global financial system nearly collapsed even though Lehman wasn’t all that big.

But hey — maybe Lehman taught everyone a lesson. Maybe all of Citgroup’s creditors and counterparties have already priced in the possibility of default. You never know. And maybe if Citigroup fails, and they all end up with a bunch of worthless notes, they’ll just shrug and go about their business.

Then again, maybe not. Maybe Citigroup really is too big to fail. And maybe if they fail, and all their creditors and noteholders and counterparties are stiffed, maybe they’ll all fail too. And then all of their creditors and noteholders and counterparties will also fail. Etc. And then it’s back to the dark ages for all of us.

Which is it? I don’t know. All I can say is: Richard Shelby has way bigger balls than I do. Call me a wuss if you must, but I’m really not willing to gamble on nuclear meltdown, especially since I think the odds are pretty strongly in favor of Citigroup having the ability to take all the rest of us down with them if they collapse. Shelby, however, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Banking Committee, guardian of the nation’s financial health, is apparently willing to just say “fuck it,” roll the dice, and hope against hope for snake eyes.

Of course, this is precisely the kind of imbecilic, high-stakes gambling that got us into this mess in the first place. Maybe Shelby ought to think twice before deciding that the hair of the dog might get us out.

Count me down in the Kevin Drum column for now.

The Republican Party’s Tax Hypocrisy

So its not okay to mess up on your taxes if you’re seeking a cabinet level position, but its perfectly acceptable if you’re running to be the leader of the free world?:

When you’re poor, it can be hard to pay the bills. When you’re rich, it’s hard to keep track of all the bills that need paying. It’s a lesson Cindy McCain learned the hard way when NEWSWEEK raised questions about an overdue property-tax bill on a La Jolla, Calif., property owned by a trust that she oversees. Mrs. McCain is a beer heiress with an estimated $100 million fortune and, along with her husband, she owns at least seven properties, including condos in California and Arizona.