Sunday, August 23, 2009

Quotes of the Day: Paul Krugman and Robert Reich

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Krugman, today on This Week:

The argument against the public option is sheer nonsense, we know that, it's nothing except the insurance lobby.

Reich, at his blog on Friday:

Why has it come down to these six? Who anointed them? Apparently, the White House. At least that's what I'm repeatedly being told by sources both on the Hill and in the Administration.

They're both right, of course, and Reich asks the key question: Why are six "centrist" senators -- the Gang of Six on the Finance Committee, three from each party -- essentially being allowed to determine the fate of health-care reform, and hence the future of health care for all Americans?

And what makes it worse is that the senior Republican, Charles Grassley, isn't even negotiating in good faith. He has no interest in meaningful reform, remains a partisan before all else, and has been one of the loudest purveyors of the "death panel" lie.

Here's some common sense from Reich:

I really don't get it. We have a Democratic president in the White House. Democrats control sixty votes in the Senate, enough to overcome a filibuster. It is possible to pass health care legislation through the Senate with 51 votes (that's what George W. Bush did with his tax cut plan). Democrats control the House. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is a tough lady. She has said there will be no health care reform bill without a public option.

So why does the fate of health care rest in Grassley's hands?

It's not even as if the gang represents America. The three Dems on the gang are from Montana, New Mexico, and North Dakota -- states that together account for just over 1 percent of Americans. The three Republicans are from Maine, Wyoming, and Iowa, which together account for 1.6 percent of the American population.

That's right, millions and millions and millions of Americans either don't have health insurance or have inadequate coverage and these six senators, including three gullible Democrats, are telling them their situation won't improve, that they will defeat any effort to extend coverage through a "public option."

This is American "democracy," I suppose, which has never been majoritarian, but it's nonetheless disgusting.

I expect such ideological obstructionism from Republicans. As for the Democrats -- including those in the White House (if in fact they're seriously going along with the Gang of Six) -- they should be ashamed of themselves.

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