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Joe Klein's Fatuous Fantasy

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Klein's argument about Iraq and the left is simply wrong. The public has serious problems trust those in power that create pervasive doubts about this legislation.

One key element in the distrust of the corporate media and the perpetual insiders who run our capitol concerns the Wall Street bailouts, a topic Klein avoids entirely. The intital bailout of 2008 was defeated after the most intense public outcry on any piece of legislation in memory. Wall Street mobilized quickly and with the help of both 2008 presidential candidates got the first of many bailouts. When administrations changed, the new president continued the tradition and opened up the full credit of the United States to the failed Wall Street enterprises to the tune of $23.7 trillion.

In the mean time, the people got virtually nothing. Facing record foreclosures, soaring unemployment (17% real unemployment, see "U-6"), and a constant fear of losing the ability to care for their families, health coverage included, many citizens have noticed a consistent pattern. We are always the last in line and there's nothing but scraps left over when it is our turn to use our own contributions to the Treasury to help the nation as a whole.

The bipartisan coalition in Washington, DC, representing the vested interests of the very wealthiest individuals and firms consistently neglects citizens while it rewards the perpetrators of our current economic collapse. That's why the people have little trust those who claim to represent them. The distrust is not limited to just "leftists." It is pervasive.

Klein brushes aside the real winners in health care reform, the nation's health insurance companies. The bill bails out an industry that adds no value to health care. However, the industry does take value from the health care consumer with a 12% to 30% overhead on the direct cost of insurance. In addition, companies extract huge added fees by their constant meddling with health care providers; something Medicare manages to avoid as evidenced by its low overhead. The "reform" proposal gives the insurance companies new customers by the millions, citizens will be forced to buy insurance with only the promise of cost containing regulations.

Klein avoids the key question -- why are health insurance companies placed at the center of citizen health care? He also avoids the consistent support of citizens, as high as 65%, for a program with the federal government as the payer of claims. It's called "single payer," "Medicare for all," etc. and has strong public support despite hardly any coverage by the mainstream media.

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"populist exaggeration -- the idea that Washington is controlled by crooks and sellouts" Joe Klein, Dec. 30

This isn't an essay about health care reform. It's an attack on those in the Democratic Party and others who dare to speak out against what they perceive as the poor performance and neglect of the majority by the president and Congress.

In his closing, Klein says "those of the left blogosphere consider themselves the Democratic base" then quickly points out that the base is really "African Americans, union members, Jews, women and Latinos." Klein's transparent and somewhat ugly divide-and-conquer ploy ignores the important fact that all of those groups are heavily represented on the same "blogosphere" that is providing such troubling criticism of an overly sensitive national government that promises much but delivers just about nothing.

The source of increasing criticism is not an irrational response to the alleged good our leaders offer us. It's the reality of getting nothing while those who created the problems reap untold rewards " every single day without any end in sight.


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