Donald Andrew Henson II

Healthcare Hypocrisy

In American Economy, American Society, Current events, The Trump Administration on May 5, 2017 at 11:44 pm
Botticelli's Canto XVIII

Botticelli’s depiction of the 8th circle of Hell – place of punishment for hypocrites

If you are a reader of this blog, and have not been off the grid for some reason, then you already know that the House GOP have finally passed a bill meant to repeal and replace the Affordable Healthcare Act, aka Obamacare. While it is considered a win for Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and GOP Congressmen, it is unlikely, in its current form, to ever become law. So I’m not going to cry wolf or tell you that the sky is falling just yet, because it isn’t. In a political season of big surprises, it’s best not to make predictions; however, I would be very surprised if anything similar to this bill ever becomes the law of the land.

What I would like to address is the astounding level of hypocrisy that surrounds any discussion of healthcare in the US these days. Even as a person accustomed to Beltway doublespeak, alternative facts, and FOX News hyperbole, I often find myself speechless at the audacity of the claims politicians are willing to make about ACA, AHCA, high-risk pools, deductibles, and anything else having to do with the role and provision of healthcare in America.

Before I address a few of the major hypocrisies (for there is not time enough to address them all), I think it’s important that I share with you my own healthcare status – this site proclaims the importance governing by the most rational course, meaning that pre-conceived ideas, creeds, religion, political viewpoints, etc., should have little bearing on the nature and construct of the laws of our great nation. If I had a heart condition that made me a huge beneficiary of ACA, for example, and would cost me thousands more under AHCA – that would of course color my view of the entire discourse. To be clear, I do not.

I have never benefited from Obamacare in any way, shape, or form. I have lived abroad for 14 of the last 18 years. Many of you may not know this, but Americans working abroad for a non-US entity do not face the same mandatory healthcare requirement that other Americans do – we are NOT required to have healthcare, and there is NO tax penalty for failing to acquire it. In fact, even if I wanted to enroll in Obamacare, I would not be allowed to do so. Assuming that AHCA does not add a requirement for expatriates – and I have seen no language to suggest that it will – whatever healthcare law is in force in the US effects no change in my status whatsoever. Whether I am subject to the healthcare mandates of my current country of residence depends completely on which country I live in.

Therefore, I feel I am in a unique position to look at healthcare objectively; I have no dog in the race, at least while I live abroad. I do, however, hope to return to the US at some point – and I’d certainly like to see something fair and affordable in place there when I return.

Now – on to the loathsome hypocrisy.

Before Obamacare, healthcare hypocrisy was already very much alive. When healthcare costs began increasing exponentially in the 1990s, conservative politicians explained that there was nothing that could be done – market forces. This of course, was BS. Government often steps in to re-direct market forces, subsidizing everything from farm products to big oil – and conservative politicians often vote in favor of these moves. The GOP has said for decades that we can’t afford government-sponsored healthcare, can’t afford to give ‘free stuff’ to everyone. This again is disingenuous. There are dozens of countries poorer than the US – using a variety of measurements of wealth – that provide universal healthcare to their citizens. So, it’s not a matter of whether or not we can afford it so much as it is whether it is a priority. Those countries that do provide healthcare don’t spend money on out-sized military commitments, corporate subsidies, or corporate bailouts. Most of them also have much more progressive individual tax rates – the citizenry of those countries have agreed that the general welfare of the nation is more important than producing or enriching a few more billionaires.

This is the classic conservative hypocritical argument, and it’s used for education, healthcare, climate change – anything that provides no benefit to the super-rich. First, say there’s not a problem. When that becomes untenable, say there’s a problem, but there’s really nothing that can be done about it. When sound solutions are offered, showing that something can indeed be done, claim that it would be wildly expensive, lower salaries, slow job growth – whatever. Finally, if necessary, proclaim that it’s too late, that it’s the new normal, the new status quo – grow up and stop being a snowflake. Repeat ad nauseum on FOX News and other conservative outlets.

Unfortunately, the Demos fought hypocrisy with hypocrisy when they finally got their chance to make what they felt were positive changes to healthcare. (And I do believe, unlike the alt-right, that progressives and liberals are trying to make peoples’ lives better. Agree or disagree with how they go about it, to say the end goal is more government control of our lives is just detached from reality. Do you really think Michelle Obama wants to grab the family-sized bag of Doritos out of your hands and replace it with a kale salad? Your own wife can’t be bothered.) Nancy Pelosi told us we’d have to approve it before we could see it. Barack Obama swore we’d be able to keep the doctors and coverage we had if that’s what we liked. We were told ACA would drive costs down. These were all lies – and if the politicians who told them knew they weren’t true, then they truly belong in the Hypocrite Hall of Infamy – illustrated above.

Yet, the GOP weren’t content to sit on the hypocrisy sidelines from 2008 to 2010. There was talk of ACA bankrupting us, crashing the economy (quite ironic actually), of national debts that would leave us a lackey to the Chinese. There were ‘death panel’ scares, cries of socialism. All of this was hyperbole at best, hypocrisy at worst. The truth is that the entire, top estimate for Obamacare, for a decade, is lower than the bottom estimate for the 2008 bailout.

Let that sink in for a moment. The estimates for the 2008 Wall Street bailout range from 1.7 trillion USD to in excess of 29 trillion USD. A one-time bailout. The total cost of Obamacare – for a decade – ranges from a low of actually saving 143 billion USD, through the Obama administration estimate of costing 940 billion, to a CBO cost estimate of 1.7 trillion.

Do you think your average FOX News-watching, Trump-voting American knows that the highest estimate we have for a decade of ACA healthcare coverage is equal to the lowest estimated cost of the bailout? Which would you choose – giving Wall Street a 2 trillion dollar, one-time Christmas present? Or spending the same amount for a decade of healthcare for everyone?

March 21-23, 2010 was the beginning of the GOP’s 7-year-long healthcare hypocrisy extravaganza – the astounding orgy of partisan posturing, fear-mongering, grand-standing, and outright misrepresentation of the facts that have occurred since ACA was passed is unparalleled in our legislative history. The final reconciliation bill cleared the House on March 21, and then-President Obama signed it into law on March 23. The first GOP push to repeal was March 22. GOP Republicans voted more than 60 times to shut down Obamacare – pure political posturing, as they knew they’d never get the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto. At least one smug, equivocating GOP face has appeared on FOX News to spread healthcare misinformation every single day for the past decade.

What is it that Republicans don’t like about it? Well, of course the rich don’t like paying extra taxes to fund it – big surprise. But why do lower and middle class Americans dislike it? Is it the fact that people with existing conditions can get insurance? That poor people are subsidized? The under-25s can stay on their parents’ insurance? No – these are aspects of the plan that a majority of all Americans clearly support.

It seems that the individual mandate bothers the libertarian wing (and I have a few problems with that as well), but for the vast majority of Republicans, what they hate most about Obamacare is – Obama.

Jerry Seinfeld once joked about how we go to a baseball game and cheer for a uniform. We don’t cheer for the individuals on the team, or cheer because our guys are better than the other guys – we cheer for the uniform. If Jose Conseco is wearing a Yankees uniform, I cheer him, because I’m a Yankees fan. If he’s wearing an Oakland uniform, I boo – I hate the A’s. This is a perfect description of American politics today – as it applies to us plebes, at least – the rich always support lower taxes and de-regulation, even if the Clintons are wearing the uniform.

If you are for the current House legislation simply because it’s a win for your team, a loss for the Demos, a slap in the face for Obama – welcome to the Hypocrite Hall of Infamy.

  1. What you are doing is calling anyone who doesn’t think Socialism works a hypocrite.

    Our government was designed and founded upon the principle that government exists to protect our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There is nothing in the Constitution that permits the Federal Government to set up social welfare programs, and it is plain silly to say otherwise. The Constitution is not that ambiguous. Just because politicians can get away with and have gotten away setting up social welfare programs does change that fact. It just says something about the nature of man. Some of us are quite capable of ruthlessly scheming to get what we want.

    Here is the problem. Do you value your rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Do you care whether your family, friends and neighbors have the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Then you must oppose Socialism. Socialism is not based upon the notion that government protects our rights. Socialism is based upon the notion that government is the source of our rights. That is, Socialism is based upon the notion that men and women, politicians, give the People their rights.

    Think about that. Politicians give us our rights? Who in his right mind trusts a politician to give him anything? Who in his right mind trusts a politician? Even politicians know better.

    Government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have. — Gerald R. Ford (=>

    This is why the politicians who designed our government with so many checks and balances. This is why the politicians who designed our government worked so diligently to avoid giving any single man or even a body of men more authority than was absolutely necessary.

    • Tom, I’m not sure that you understand the word ‘socialism’. There are many countries that provide universal healthcare that are not socialist. There are countries that claim to be socialist that do not provide universal healthcare. Universal healthcare and socialism are two separate issues.

      I did not say that people who don’t believe in socialism are hypocrites. What I did say is that people who say we can’t afford universal healthcare are hypocrites – or maybe they are just lying or operating under a set of ‘alternative facts’.

      The truth is that a number of countries – Australia and the UK included, have found a way to afford it. I’ve lived abroad for the past couple of decades, and have visited many of these countries. I’ve got a lot of close friends from places that I think you would consider to be socialist – New Zealand, Australia, France, Denmark, etc. None of these people lie awake at night worrying about ‘lost liberty’. They rather appreciate the fact that their tax dollars go towards better education, healthcare, and retirement for themselves and their neighbors. They are happy that their government protects them from corporations that would have them work for a pittance with no healthcare and no pension. Even the wealthier members of those societies are happy that they have healthier, better educated workers, and that their businesses are competitive internationally because they are not burdened with the cost of insurance and retirement for their employees.

      Believe it or not, paying for healthcare does not seem to have a negative effect on their economies, nor does it negatively effect how happy the people living there are. I see from your posts that you’re a fan of googling facts – have a google if you will at the fastest growing economies in the world, the healthiest economies in the world, the healthiest people in the world, and the happiest people in the world. If you find the USA in the top 10 of any of those descriptions, you’re looking at an anomalous year, at least since Reagan.

      I’m not sure you understand the word hypocrisy either. Hypocrisy means to preach one thing while doing another. Kinda like GOP House members passing AHCA but exempting themselves from it. Kinda like giving Wall Street 1.7 trillion in one go, or paying 2.7 trillion for the Iraq war, all the while saying we can’t afford healthcare, which costs 1.7 trillion over 10 years.

      You say, “who in his right mind trusts a politician”, but you are annoyed at people who do not take Donald Trump at his word. This would be another form of hypocrisy – saying that politicians in general are untrustworthy, while claiming the one you voted for is beyond reproach.

      I refer back to your reference to the Declaration of Independence – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These are the three ‘unalienable’ rights – we gloss over that, but we assume it to mean the ones that cannot be taken away from us. Notice that life is first – if there is no life, there cannot be liberty or the pursuit of happiness. We pay billions of dollars to the Defense Department every year to protect our ‘lives’ – in reality, we’re less likely to be killed by a terrorist than by a lightning strike. We are exponentially more likely to die of cancer or hear disease.

      If the Constitution can be construed in such a way that it’s lawful to invade other countries in order to protect our right to ‘life and liberty’, then surely there is legal precedent that allows the government to raise the tax rates by a few percentage points in order to keep people from dying needlessly from cancer and heart disease.

      • When I get the time, I will check out your blog some more.

        Do I take Donald Trump at his word? No. I am sort of surprised he seems to be trying to keep his promises.

        I try to follow Ronald Reagan’s dictum: “Trust, but verify.” When Obama already tried to find evidence, illegally, why are we still worried that Trump might be colluding with the Russians. What is there to suggest that he ever did? What did he agree to do for them that Obama/Clinton have not already done?

        I see no reason to believe Trump colluded with the Russians. H. Clinton? Obama? Maybe. If anything, I think you want the wrong people investigated.

        So what about my understanding of Socialism? Nations usually don’t suddenly socialize their entire economic system. What have been popular targets? Transportation infrastructure. Education systems. Health care.

        Some people would call our military a socialist institution. It is not. Since our military is inherently part of the government, calling the military a Socialist institution is like calling the government a socialist institution. Amusing, but sort pointless.

        Back to the point. We have turned large parts of our economy into socialist endeavors. Until the Obama administration, our health care system straddled the fence. Government did not own much of it, but it funded much of it and regulated it with such intensity that there was not much room for negotiations between the providers and the customers.

        In a private enterprise, we have a three legs supporting the deal: the provider, the customer, and the government. The provider contracts with the customer and provides a service or product for a fee. The customer accepts the provider’s offer and pays the fee. The government provides a legal infrastructure and regulates business, ensuring proper contractual commitments are kept. Effectively the government protects against fraud.

        In a Socialist environment only one or two legs support the deal. We are at a stage in health care where the government has become the customer. That is, the government negotiates on behalf of the customer and pays the bill. The problem with that is that the customer may not get what he wants. When somebody else is spending your money for you, you lose your choice. That is the sort of thing that makes Socialism, universal health care included, unaffordable.

        How would we get to a situation where only one leg supports the deal. Our transportation infrastructure and public school system illustrate this. These are systems where the government provides the service, pays for the service, and regulates itself. Of course, lots of politicians think they do a great job, but the people who use these system often have a differing opinion. The problem is the government has their money. When government has a monopoly, customers cannot take that money and go another provider. Generally, government owned and operated monopolies only grow more contemptuous of their customers with time. Thus, a government monopoly that may at first seem to be working soon becomes a corrupt mess.

        Now as to what you said about the Defense Dept.

        Notice that life is first – if there is no life, there cannot be liberty or the pursuit of happiness. We pay billions of dollars to the Defense Department every year to protect our ‘lives’ – in reality, we’re less likely to be killed by a terrorist than by a lightning strike. We are exponentially more likely to die of cancer or hear disease.

        What you just said is that our military is still doing a good job.

        Consider. Our military exists to kill our enemies and break our enemies’ things. When our enemies sufficiently fear us, they leave us in peace, and they do not bother our allies. When our enemies don’t fear us, they kill us and break our things. That fear, a competitive factor, generally keeps military forces from becoming to complacent.

        If the Constitution can be construed in such a way that it’s lawful to invade other countries in order to protect our right to ‘life and liberty’, then surely there is legal precedent that allows the government to raise the tax rates by a few percentage points in order to keep people from dying needlessly from cancer and heart disease.

        What good is a Constitution if we can read into it anything we want?

        The Constitution exists to restrain government officials, to define the limits of their authority. We don’t have to construe the Constitution in such a way that that is lawful to take military action. The president is the commander-in-chief. The Constitution gives him the job of protecting our country.

        On the other hand, the Constitution says nothing about setting up a welfare state. Therefore, to get what they wanted judges have found things in the Constitution that simply are not there. Honest people call it lying.

        • Hi Tom – sorry for the delay posting your comment. Unfortunately I’ve found I need to let things sit in moderation when I’m away from the computer. If I don’t, I often find profanity-laced rants in the comments section.

        • Tom, I’m going to respond to your last comment here, then close out this particular discussion – I think we’ve both put enough words on the page to try to get our points across.

          I’m glad you agree with me that the Trump-Russian connection needs further investigation – haha – of course you don’t agree. But to me, this would be wholly consistent with the ‘trust but verify’ dictum you use above.

          Your rambling dissertation about ‘socialism’ and healthcare is just a long, drawn out way of saying that universal coverage can’t work because it’s socialism. Please explain to me then why it works in dozens of countries, many of which have greater economic freedom than we have. (The ‘please explain to me’ part is of course rhetorical, and requires no explanation. Rational thought would conclude that if it works in societies such as the UK and Australia with similar cultures and institutions to our own, then it could certainly work in the US as well).

          My comment on the military was meant to illustrate the insane amount of money we spend ‘keeping Americans safe from terrorists’ vs the reality of how many Americans might die that way.The chances that an American will die of either heart disease or cancer are 1 in 3. The chances that an American might be killed by a foreign terrorist are 1 in 45,000. I’m not arguing that we should spend 15,000 times more on healthcare than we do on defense – but the fact that conservatives like yourself would prefer that we spend billions more on the military than we already do, and preferably absolutely nothing on healthcare – preposterous and absurd.

          The Constitution is a framework for our government. We’ve amended and re-interpreted it many times in our history to better serve the people. The Constitution emanates from the will of the people, not the other way round. You may be familiar with the fact that Thomas Jefferson found himself in a dilemma when he was offered the Louisiana Purchase by Napoleon. Jefferson had been one of those strict interpretation of the Constitution guys, and now he was faced with an opportunity to do something that would be undoubtedly in the best interests of the country, but contrary to his rhetoric. He wisely chose to do what was best for the country.

          Would to god more politicians today could do the same.

  2. BTW. The stupidity of the bailout does not justify the stupidity of Obamacare. Try focusing on one subject at a time.

    Obamacare is failing. If you think government-run healthcare is inexpensive, then you obviously have not looked at the federal budget.

    • Hi Tom. First of all, thanks for commenting on my site. Take the time to read a few more of my posts when you get a chance (as I did yours) – reading only one or two might give you the false impression that I’m just spouting Demo talking points. If you read a few more, you’ll see that I have plenty of criticism to go around.

      I’ve got to say that it’s kind of rich that a guy who responds to my comment about Trump banning American media from his meeting with a Russian diplomats with cries that Hillary needs to be locked up thinks I need to ‘focus’. Apparently you see a logical connection between these two issues that I just don’t see – happy to have you explain to me either on your site or mine.

      However, I thought the connection between healthcare and corporate bailouts was obvious, as both pertain to how we choose to spend our tax dollars. Or rather how our representatives choose to spend our tax dollars for us. I’ve got a few problems with Obamacare myself. I don’t like the individual mandate. I don’t like the fact that insurance companies and big pharma make millions off of the program. These are the main reasons that ACA is in peril – perhaps, like the AHCA bill just passed by Congress, it was meant to be the first step of many? Perhaps legislators naively thought that the opposition would assist in making ACA more workable instead of scoring political points by voting to repeal it more than 60 times?

      I never said that government healthcare is inexpensive. What I said is that there are a number of countries much poorer than the US that provide better healthcare for their citizens. I mean, the Philippines does a better job. Thailand and Malaysia have better healthcare at lower prices, for crying out loud. These are what we consider to be undeveloped nations. We are the only ‘developed’ nation that does not provide universal healthcare. These countries don’t do it because it’s cheap – they do it because it’s the right thing to do. They don’t think that being sick means you’re a ‘bad person’, as Mo Brooks does. They understand, as Matthew 5:45 states, that the rain falls on both the just and the unjust.

      • The reason our health care is so expensive is because the government won’t do its job. Instead of regulating our healthcare system, it is trying to run it.

        Look at the Federal Budget. Consider all the regulations.

        The higher medical costs are generally driven by the government. Government literally pours money into our health care system. Look at the Federal Budget (=> With so much money pouring into the system, we have an artificially huge demand. So the prices skyrocket.

        Now you might think that the prices would eventually stabilize. So why don’t they? Here are just a couple of examples. Healthcare has intense regulation. That’s a a costly barrier to entry. Small players have a difficult time dealing with so many administrative headaches. Only so many doctors and nurses get trained every year. These people have licensing requirements. Nobody can just walk in off the street. What happens instead is doctors come here from other parts of the world so that they can earn some of that money.

        My bottom line is that the vast majority of that spending has no constitutional authorization, none whatsoever. The reason we cannot effectively control it is that we should not be doing it at all. Most of that spending is just legalized theft. We are just robbing our own treasury. We cannot control it because we refuse to stop stealing. We refuse to admit we are stealing.

        We do not have a health care problem. We have an ethical problem.

        • Tom, I’m gonna have to end our conversation, as I feel you’re just cutting and pasting comments you’ve made elsewhere into our discussion. How else can I explain the fact that you don’t directly address any of my questions or points? It would be nice if a conservative could tell me why the Philippines can afford better healthcare than the US can – or why spending on healthcare is unconstitutional but corporate subsidies are not, why we should lock Hillary up but shouldn’t even investigate Trump.

          Best of luck to you and your pals on your blog.

          • What you want to debate is how to set up a universal health care system. I want to debate whether one should be set up. The latter debate is the one our country skipped when Democrat Liberals forced Obamacare upon us.

          • I think if you read my posts, Tom, you’ll find that I am indeed arguing in favor of universal healthcare – I am not debating how to set one up.

          • Interesting. You are leaving some of my comments in moderation, and with such a flimsy justification.

            Anyway, if you are indeed arguing in favor of universal healthcare, then my comments are appropriate. I have specifically addressed your arguments.

            What you call universal healthcare, I call government-run healthcare, a Socialist program.

            I have stated government-run health care makes no sense according to our Constitution, and I have addressed ethical concerns. I also explained why the cost of health care is rising.

            Did I talk about health care in the Philippines? No. I am not planning on seeing a doctor in the Philippines.

            Generally, the advocates for government-run health point to some country and say: “See. They don’t pay as much for their health care, and they get good health care.” What is the counter to that? Ever heard of the VA? We don’t have to go to the Philippines to see how government-run health care works. In those foreign countries with government-run health care, those who can afford it supposedly get tired of waiting in line to see their government-run health care doctors, and they come here.

            But do I have all sorts of statistics on that? No. When we bring up universal health care in other countries, it is all anecdotal evidence. So I have focused on presenting an argument based upon logic and the plain fact that any Socialist system eventually becomes self-serving for the people who run it. Where there is no competition, and government gives people their “rights”, eventually the People lose their rights.

            Our right to vote is secondary. Our real power — the choice that matters — is our power to spend the resources we earn our own way. If another man tells you how you have to make your living and how to spend what you earn, you are that man’s slave.

            You say you are just talking health care? If health care is a right, then so is food, cloth, shelter, education, transportation, and so on. Once we say we have the right to things given to us by the government, where does it stop?

          • Well Tom, I don’t know how ‘flimsy’ my justifications are – it does seem that after I thought I had ended the conversation you are at least now addressing specific points that I brought up.

          • Tom, just labeling things ‘socialism’ doesn’t change how useful they are – we both know it’s just a neat little trick that causes non-thinkers to say ‘well, golly gee if it’s socialism I guess it must be bad’. So, it doesn’t really matter what you call it. The fact is that 30+ countries provide healthcare to their citizens, and it works. Government-provided healthcare does not destroy economic freedom in those countries, and it wouldn’t destroy our economic freedom either.

            I mention the Philippines because it’s a country much poorer than ours that manages to provide better healthcare than we do at a lower price. I can assure you that no one besides the ultra-rich in other countries go to the US for healthcare. I have never met, heard about, read, or otherwise come across a single person from a developed country with government healthcare who’d be willing to trade their system for ours – in 20 years of living abroad.

            Your other arguments about people losing their rights – well, that’s just hyperbole. My Australian and British friends are no less ‘free’ than I am.

          • Yeah! Cuba provides better healthcare than we do.

            Socialism is a word that does what any other word does. It symbolizes something. Socialism has a definition. Because the two phrases have different connotations, people like to call “socialized medicine” “universal health care”. Yet “universal health care” “socialized medicine”.

            Does government-provided healthcare destroy economic freedom? Of course, it does. It flies in the face of commonsense to suggest otherwise. When someone takes money out of your pocket and spends that money for you, you have lost the freedom to spend your own money.

            What is amazing is how easily people believe big lies, but that thought has driven me to examine my own assumptions. I is one of those people, too.

          • Tom your worldview colors everything you look at – a guy wearing rose colored glasses never drinks white wine. You obviously did not read the article I linked to. A CONSERVATIVE think tank has decided – measured, done the math, run the numbers, you know, scientific stuff, not religious fluff – that there are 11 countries that have more economic freedom than America has. 10 of those countries have universal healthcare – or socialized medicine – doesn’t matter to me what you call it, as long as people aren’t dying unnecessarily.

            If you did read the article, perhaps you didn’t understand it. In any event, unless you can point to other scientific studies that support your point of view, you MUST stop saying that universal healthcare impedes economic freedom. It doesn’t matter how strongly you believe it, how much you want it to be true, or how long you’ve been saying it. You have no evidence. To continue saying so is to be a) lying b) ignorant c) willfully misleading. Please don’t waffle on with sophomoric history explanations or how you feel about it – show me some data that proves universal healthcare destroys economic freedom. Trust me I’ve searched, but have found nothing.

            My father, an evangelical minister, used to say of his religious beliefs that a man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with a theory. You have nothing but theories of why universal healthcare wouldn’t work – there are millions of people in dozens of countries whose experience would suggest otherwise.

            And yes, it is amazing how many people believe big lies – religion is the original big lie, and has billions of adherents.

          • BTW – just curious Tom; by no means do you have to answer. But I’m kinda ‘full disclosure’ on my site. You can see a real photo of me, taken just a few weeks ago. I’m posting under my real name. You can run a search on me on bing or google, and you’ll find my voting and license registrations, my former addresses in Ohio an Virginia, maybe as far back to my college days in Tennessee. You won’t find a criminal record, a judgement for non-payment, or anything negative on me. I’m addressing you as Tom, but I know that’s a pseudonym in deference to the great Thomas Paine – whose secularist ideas, by the way, were in much greater harmony with my opinion than with yours.

            I’ve also disclosed my healthcare status on my site, as I find it disingenuous to discuss what should apply to Americans in general without doing so. What’s your healthcare status? Did you have employer-provided insurance for most of your working life – something people in their 20s and 30s increasingly don’t have access to? Are you a recipient of Medicare or Medicaid? These are very personal questions, I know, and I understand if you don’t want to disclose. But I just want to make it clear that I am first of all, not a hypocrite or partisan, and secondly, that I’m not advocating for programs out of self-benefit. Much of what I support would raise my taxes considerably once I return to the US.

          • Don

            When Thomas Paine first started writing in support of the American Revolution, he did so anonymously. Since the British probably would have hung him, he had a much better reason than I for writing under a pseudonym. Nevertheless, part of the reason….well, this quote is on my About page.

            Who the Author of this Production is, is wholly unnecessary to the Public, as the Object for Attention is the DOCTRINE ITSELF, not the MAN. Yet it may not be unnecessary to say, That he is unconnected with any Party, and under no sort of Influence public or private, but the influence of reason and principle. — from the introduction to “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine

            Am I a member of the Republican Party? Am I a Conservative? Yes and yes. I don’t go to great lengths to hide my identity. Nevertheless, if what I say does not make sense, then no one has to attack me. They can revel in attacking the DOCTRINE ITSELF. If the DOCTRINE ITSELF does make sense, however, then no one has any reason to attack or make me the issue. Therefore, who I am does not matter.

            You see it differently. You make known who you are. You think it matters. Then I suppose you think personal experience very important. Sometimes it is, but with respect to issues of public policy, I don’t give the experience of one person much weight. Granted, some people take a political position just for personal gain, but I don’t read minds. I am not equipped to judge that sort of bias. Therefore, I try not to argue against the policy positions of ordinary citizens on that basis. So rest assured I will do my best, especially where we disagree, to focus on the DOCTRINE ITSELF, not the man. Rather than needlessly anger someone, I think it better to make a friend.

          • I think more direct to the point, Tom, is that there are people who argue against public healthcare when they are beneficiaries of such – Congress, for example – seems a bit hypocritical to me. It’s not my experience that matters – my experiences are important only to me – it’s my objectivity. If, for example, you were arguing against public healthcare for others, while receiving it yourself – I think that would be important for people to know. A lot of people out there preaching one thing while benefiting from another. The purity of the message can be diluted, even spoiled by the messenger.

          • Identity politics of some sort always seems to be something of an issue. Even if I cannot be objective, how about you? Why don’t you just pretend I am a black, transgendered, abused spouse? If that is not enough, you can add that I am a disabled, Muslim, short, refugee (illegal immigrant) woman from Haiti. Thus, I can appropriately as speak as a huge victim on almost any consequential issue of the day.

            Are you talking about a real problem? Yes. If a poor man robs a rich man, other poor men may tend to lack sympathy. Other rich men will, however, find the incident more disturbing. We see things from our own point-of-view, but our point-of-view does not change what is right or what is wrong. Robbery is wrong regardless of who robs who.

  3. Tom your last 2 answers are just a lot of dissembling – reading your comments helps me to understand the audience Kellyanne Conway actually makes sense to. My question was whether you were arguing against public healthcare for others while enjoying the benefits thereof yourself. I’d find that incredibly hypocritical if you were – more support for the title of this post.. But in all the verbiage above I find no answer – really yes, no, or none of your business is all that’s required.

    It has nothing to do with identity politics or ‘victims’ – it’s all about transparency and objectivity. The fact that I disclose who I am allows readers to judge both for themselves.

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