You're Right, I'm Wrong, Washington Is Venal

On July 27, 2010, I wrote here that people in Congress and the White House were magical thinkers. Readers commented that I was wrong, saying that Washington knows exactly what it is doing. I now agree: you are right and I was wrong. Washington is just plain venal.

The derivation of the word venal -- susceptible to bribery -- is noteworthy. It comes from Latin venalis, the possessive form of venum, meaning a "thing for sale." Recall the definition of an honest Chicago politician: one who stays bought.

In quotes below is a sampling of what you wrote followed by (my) supporting evidence.

"It may SOUND like magical thinking coming out of Washington, but I suspect the liberals know EXACTLY what they're doing."

"They LIE because a 'win' justifies any means!" Best evidence of this would be the obscene buying of congressional votes for Obamacare (H.R. 3590) by the White House using exceptions (to the law) for certain States and a meaningless executive order against abortion funding.

"The ruling class in Washington are not magical thinkers at all. They are just liars, cheats and con artists." For evidence, consider the Pelosi and Reid pronouncements that Obamacare would be good for the economy. AT&T and Deere Farm Machinery calculated how much H.R. 3590 would add to their cost basis. This forced them to begin layoffs. Is people losing their jobs what Congress calls good for the economy?!

"If the regime [in Washington] really believed the nonsense they spewed during the healthcare 'debate' they would not have intentionally withheld the data...showing a far greater cost than had been projected." In a blog post elsewhere, I described a new WMD called WMDc (weapons of mass deception). People in Washington use WMDc all the time.

"The magical thinkers are the DEM voters...DEM politicians are venal, self-serving, corrupt...socialists." "Evidence shows that 'magical thinking' is not involved at all...It is a simple power grab! This regime is bent on bringing this country to its knees."

The authors are probably referring to the Cloward-Piven strategy. Cloward and Piven were politically active Professors of Sociology at Columbia University, where Mr. Obama was an undergraduate. The strategy named for them advances a radical socialist agenda by overwhelming a capitalist society with an unsustainable burden of entitlements and promises. Many have written that President Obama is pursuing this strategy -- socialism to supersede capitalism -- and offer Obamacare as proof.

In a debate about tax policy on "Hardball with Chris Matthews," Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) said, "America is the greatest and most successful nation on earth." And what economic system produced "the greatest and most successful nation"? Answer: capitalism. So why is the president, abetted by Congress, trying to change us into a socialist system that has been proven not to work in Europe? 

If you need evidence that socialism does not work, look no further than Great Britain and Greece. Each is currently commencing severe austerity programs, drastically cutting back on entitlements they promised their people. Each is trying to avert economic collapse caused by spending OPM (other people's money) it does not have.

(For those who might not remember, it was Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970-1990, who famously said, "The only problem with socialism is that you run out other people's money to spend.")

Next, consider the President's Director-designate of Medicare, Dr. Don Berwick. He spoke glowingly of the NICE system within the British National Health Service. NICE is a government institute that decides what medical care will be available to the public and what will not. If you need what is deemed "not cost effective," that is just too bad for you. Now observe that Obamacare funds almost $1 billion for "Cost Cutting Commissions." These are the same as NICE and will effectively be the "Death Panels" that the Republicans warned us about.

Remember Hillary Clinton excoriating the "vast right-wing conspiracy" arrayed against her candidate husband? Whether the charge was true or false then, clearly, there is now an unrepentant, widespread left-wing conspiracy that dominates Washington and the media. Republicans have hinted at it, but because they behave in such an overtly partisan manner, their warnings have little credibility.

The USA did not evolve like other nations. It started with intent as an act of rebellion against an unresponsive, tyrannical government (sound familiar?) and was based on a set of principles. The first principle was the rule of law: everyone is equal before the law, but not necessarily equal in talent or property. It is not the responsibility of the government to try to equalize people, only to establish a level playing field for inherently unequal people to compete on.

Our culture -- capitalist, competitive, free market, winners and losers -- is why we are the economic engine of the planet. Make no mistake. They mess with that (our culture and competitive economic system) at our national peril.

I was in error: Washington is not composed of magical thinkers. You are right: they are venal people with only their self-interest in mind pursuing a change agenda that will destroy what made us great. Are we going to be lemmings and simply accept this, or will we do what is necessary: throw them out and repeal H.R. 3590?

Deane Waldman, M.D., MBA, is the author of "Uproot U.S. Healthcare," a practicing physician, and Professor of Pediatrics, Pathology and Decision Science at the University of New Mexico.
On July 27, 2010, I wrote here that people in Congress and the White House were magical thinkers. Readers commented that I was wrong, saying that Washington knows exactly what it is doing. I now agree: you are right and I was wrong. Washington is just plain venal.

The derivation of the word venal -- susceptible to bribery -- is noteworthy. It comes from Latin venalis, the possessive form of venum, meaning a "thing for sale." Recall the definition of an honest Chicago politician: one who stays bought.

In quotes below is a sampling of what you wrote followed by (my) supporting evidence.

"It may SOUND like magical thinking coming out of Washington, but I suspect the liberals know EXACTLY what they're doing."

"They LIE because a 'win' justifies any means!" Best evidence of this would be the obscene buying of congressional votes for Obamacare (H.R. 3590) by the White House using exceptions (to the law) for certain States and a meaningless executive order against abortion funding.

"The ruling class in Washington are not magical thinkers at all. They are just liars, cheats and con artists." For evidence, consider the Pelosi and Reid pronouncements that Obamacare would be good for the economy. AT&T and Deere Farm Machinery calculated how much H.R. 3590 would add to their cost basis. This forced them to begin layoffs. Is people losing their jobs what Congress calls good for the economy?!

"If the regime [in Washington] really believed the nonsense they spewed during the healthcare 'debate' they would not have intentionally withheld the data...showing a far greater cost than had been projected." In a blog post elsewhere, I described a new WMD called WMDc (weapons of mass deception). People in Washington use WMDc all the time.

"The magical thinkers are the DEM voters...DEM politicians are venal, self-serving, corrupt...socialists." "Evidence shows that 'magical thinking' is not involved at all...It is a simple power grab! This regime is bent on bringing this country to its knees."

The authors are probably referring to the Cloward-Piven strategy. Cloward and Piven were politically active Professors of Sociology at Columbia University, where Mr. Obama was an undergraduate. The strategy named for them advances a radical socialist agenda by overwhelming a capitalist society with an unsustainable burden of entitlements and promises. Many have written that President Obama is pursuing this strategy -- socialism to supersede capitalism -- and offer Obamacare as proof.

In a debate about tax policy on "Hardball with Chris Matthews," Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) said, "America is the greatest and most successful nation on earth." And what economic system produced "the greatest and most successful nation"? Answer: capitalism. So why is the president, abetted by Congress, trying to change us into a socialist system that has been proven not to work in Europe? 

If you need evidence that socialism does not work, look no further than Great Britain and Greece. Each is currently commencing severe austerity programs, drastically cutting back on entitlements they promised their people. Each is trying to avert economic collapse caused by spending OPM (other people's money) it does not have.

(For those who might not remember, it was Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970-1990, who famously said, "The only problem with socialism is that you run out other people's money to spend.")

Next, consider the President's Director-designate of Medicare, Dr. Don Berwick. He spoke glowingly of the NICE system within the British National Health Service. NICE is a government institute that decides what medical care will be available to the public and what will not. If you need what is deemed "not cost effective," that is just too bad for you. Now observe that Obamacare funds almost $1 billion for "Cost Cutting Commissions." These are the same as NICE and will effectively be the "Death Panels" that the Republicans warned us about.

Remember Hillary Clinton excoriating the "vast right-wing conspiracy" arrayed against her candidate husband? Whether the charge was true or false then, clearly, there is now an unrepentant, widespread left-wing conspiracy that dominates Washington and the media. Republicans have hinted at it, but because they behave in such an overtly partisan manner, their warnings have little credibility.

The USA did not evolve like other nations. It started with intent as an act of rebellion against an unresponsive, tyrannical government (sound familiar?) and was based on a set of principles. The first principle was the rule of law: everyone is equal before the law, but not necessarily equal in talent or property. It is not the responsibility of the government to try to equalize people, only to establish a level playing field for inherently unequal people to compete on.

Our culture -- capitalist, competitive, free market, winners and losers -- is why we are the economic engine of the planet. Make no mistake. They mess with that (our culture and competitive economic system) at our national peril.

I was in error: Washington is not composed of magical thinkers. You are right: they are venal people with only their self-interest in mind pursuing a change agenda that will destroy what made us great. Are we going to be lemmings and simply accept this, or will we do what is necessary: throw them out and repeal H.R. 3590?

Deane Waldman, M.D., MBA, is the author of "Uproot U.S. Healthcare," a practicing physician, and Professor of Pediatrics, Pathology and Decision Science at the University of New Mexico.