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April 5, 2010
Distractions used to hide Obamacare's failures
It should have been predictable that the reaction to the passage of the health care bill was to focus on the tone rather than the substance.
Racial slurs, veiled and unveiled threats, a litany of name calling, and the level of hysteria have all been useful tools for the proponents of the bill who would rather discredit the opposition than face the defects of the bill, the campaign promises that have been become lies, and the general bribery and sleaze that surrounded the support of the bill.
The hysterical opposition does their side little good with their tone. It matters little that they amount to an insignificant fraction of a percentage of the opposition, or even that much of the most promiscuous reporting of racial slurs and behavior was blatantly false. While one can understand their frustration, it needs to be controlled and focused to be of any use. It takes a passionate rationalism to combat the moral supremacists, compassionate fools and intellectual idiots.
But public outbursts fit much better into 20 second news bites than pertinent analysis or clarification of the substance of the bill that is causing such concern. It's just too boring to report how adding a 3.8% tax to investment income on top of another 5% point increase in capital gains taxes may reduce the private investment incentive that is needed to create jobs. They did say that creating jobs was important didn't they?
They certainly don't want to wade into political philosophy and explain how one individual's need for something entails a claim on another citizen's assets. Is the Constitution supposed to insure liberty or enforce equality? Is the government supposed to be the problem solver of last resort? Can virtues in the hands of the individual become vices in the hand of the government?
Who cares that requiring health insurance while eliminating pre-existing conditions, requiring coverage for preventive care, and capping the cost on the elderly will by the process of elimination dramatically increase the cost on the young?
You may think that the irony of first demonizing the health insurance industry, and then watching their stock prices soar as the government forces thirty million uninsured citizens to buy their product would be an interesting news story.
But the news would rather report the lack of civility than the substance of the protests.
We know politicians lie, but rarely so blatantly and shamelessly. YouTube creates an accountability that few in the media will even attempt. Legislation may be like sausage making but the appetite for either is destroyed when the slaughter happens at the breakfast table.
We are expected to believe that the bill required seemingly endless bribes, secret meetings and deals, and extreme procedures because we just did not understand the true merits of the bill, and even that did not garner a single opposition vote.
The bill's supporters would certainly prefer to create the illusion that the protesters are all racists and whack jobs. Reporters do not have to actually study the bill and think very deeply when you have videos of shouting commoners.
The tragic flaw in modern communication is that our need to filter endless sources of information makes us more likely to read for confirmation than information. But while the noise is used to distract from the real issues, it will confirm the views of only the true believers. The voters and the protesters believe their own eyes and ears and they see a very different picture, and it is very clear.
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