The War of the Whoppersby Stephen Gordon
For some time, it looked like Republicans were more persuasive liars than their counterparts in DC. After all, they (with the assistance of Judith Miller and The New York Times) convinced a great deal of Americans that aluminum tubes had been intercepted which were to be used to create nuclear bombs. Visions of Islamic terrorists flooding across our southern border with truckloads of nukes provided the rest of the political support necessary for us to begin military operations in Iraq.
Of course, these so-called weapons of mass destruction were never found, which forced President Bush to state that he “fully understood that the intelligence was wrong, and [he was] just as disappointed as everybody else” about it.
Now it seems the Democrats have been caught with their pants down. Already dubbed ClimateGate, it seems that the data which has been used by the left to push for tighter environmental regulations is at least partially based on junk science — and they’ve been covering this up for some time. It will take some time to determine the impact of the revelation of hacked e-mails and other files, but I’d expect to see at least a few reversals in environmental policy over the next few years.
Currently, the War of the Whoopers is playing out on another front: health care. Megan McArdle has a pretty good take on the fecal matter being spewed by both sides. We’ll start with the red team:
- This bill uses accounting gimmicks to front load the taxes and back load the spending, which is the only reason it’s deficit neutral over the ten year window.
- The Democrats are refusing to let cuts to doctor payments stand, and also, doctors don’t get paid enough.
- Millions of people are going to be added to Medicaid, which is a terrible program because providers don’t get paid enough. Also, it would be too expensive to add people to Medicaid.
- Medicare costs too much, and also, shouldn’t be cut.
- The Republicans favor “real reform” which mostly seems to consist of liability caps.
Now for the blues:
- Insurance companies are evil institutions which deny everyone any care that costs more than a pack of Freedent gum. Also, they cannot control health care costs without substantial government intervention, because they spend far too much on expensive procedures.
- Ted Kennedy sure was a swell guy, wasn’t he? He’d be proud of every dang one of us today. (It is impossible to exaggerate how great a role this point played. There was a five minute stretch which consisted largely of people telling Ted Kennedy’s replacement that Teddy would be awfully proud of him, and him saying, “No, really, Ted would be proud of you.”)
- Small- and medium-sized businesses are groaning under the weight of their health care costs. Also, starting next year, we’re going to force them to give you much more generous coverage from your employer, such as coverage for non-dependent “children” up to the age of 26.
- This problem is incredibly urgent, which is why we have to pass this bill, which now takes effect in 2014, RIGHT NOW.
She covered it pretty well, but seemed to miss one piece of GOP excrement the left frequently observes: ties between Republicans and the health insurance industry.
I’ve made this point before and I’ll make it again: So long as the Republican leadership doesn’t try in earnest to remove the legislative ties between employment and health insurance, they are leaving themselves wide open to accusations of hypocrisy.
The Democrats are trying to convince the American public that they can increase regulations, insure everyone, and still cut costs without running up the deficit. And don’t forget President Obama’s pledge not to increase taxes. I’m sure even Joseph Goebbels would be impressed with this one.
But Republicans can’t say squat about deficit spending. To listen to the typical GOP incumbent on the campaign trail, deficit spending is some new evil Democratic invention. Although these Republicans voted for one bloated budget after another, somehow they are managing to convince the voters in their districts that they are the voice of fiscal responsibility. I felt as if I needed hip waders at the last congressional town hall meeting I visited.
Troops are lined up on both sides of the battle line shooting outright lies and hurling bullshit grenades at each other. It wouldn’t bother me if they fought to the last man and took each other out. Of paramount concern, however, is that the American people are the ones suffering the collateral damage.