Monday, March 22, 2010

Obama's Legacy Assured

This is why we elected him. If President Obama does nothing else during his time in office, the passage of health care reform will stand as a major, lasting achievement. Within the first year of his presidency, Obama has realized the decades-long, primary domestic goal of the Democratic Party: to make health care more affordable and available for the American people. This bill stands with civil rights legislation, Social Security and Medicare as a landmark advance that will affect every American for the better. Rare is the president who makes such a difference.

Special mention must be made of the determination and perseverance of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who refused to give up after the victory of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, rebuffed Rahm Emanuel's idea of limited reform, exchanged assurances with the president that they would stand together and rounded up the votes.

After seeming at times detached from the battle and vague about his vision, Obama rallied the party when it mattered, especially in the face of total Republican obstruction, and courageously put his entire political capital on the line. He came back from the brink and proved completely worthy of his campaign slogan "Yes We Can."


mjmand said...

I am delighted that a health care reform bill finally passed mostly because what it says about the leadership abilities of President Obama. It also speaks highly negatively of our political system and of our representatives in Congress. I'm appalled that it requires "horse trading" and "arm twisting" to enact essential legislation in the United States. What's in it for me? It's disgusting! Either a bill is worthwhile or it isn't. I certainly hope that it was not necessary to "bribe" my representative into supporting a bill he (in my case) may have opposed originally. I don't know, but I intend to find out.

I don't share in complete optimism, however. My skepticism about this bill is that it really doesn't address the issue of rising costs even if it was sold otherwise. Rising health costs as well as other services such as education and live music, just to name two, will always, always rise faster than the rate of inflation simply because these are services that, for the most part, cannot gain in productivity as technology improves. Rising costs have always been offset by increasing the productivity of the average worker. An auto worker today can be responsible to produce more than twice as many cars for his/her company than twenty years ago. We now have two sanitation workers per truck rather than the three that used to be. But it still takes 40 musicians and one hour to play a Stravinsky symphony and no amount of technology can change that. The price of a ticket to the concert must rise to keep up.

The only way to control health care costs absolutely is, I'm afraid ...oh! I'm going to get into a whole lotta trouble here... complete socialization, that is, government takeover as in Medicare. Does this make me a communist or a fascist, Glenn Beck?

Jeff Tone said...

mjm: The bill, while not perfect, is a vast improvement over what we have now. I agree that single payer, universal coverage would be the best. The fact that that would be anathema to Glenn Beck only strengthens the case for it.