Monday, August 24, 2009

Thought dot II

"When the only tool you have is a hammer, it is tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail."--Abraham Maslow, 1962 [Also known as "The Law of the Instrument"]

The trademark cry of fiscal conservatives and libertarians is "low taxes, small government" as the solution to each and every problem that comes before Congress. It is, in Maslow's vernacular, the only tool in their toolbox. In times of economic contraction, such as we are experiencing now, their response is to use a larger hammer.

Even in matters of life-and-death, such as health care reform, tight-wad true-believers will consistently pull out the same tool and pound on the problem with all the enthusiasm of a preschooler gleefully driving a square peg into a round hole--oblivious to the damage done to both peg and hole. Thus, we hear [USA Today, Monday, August 24, 2009, page 6A] the voices of Senators Lieberman and Conrad calling for delaying any further action on health insurance reform legislation "until the economy's out of recession".

Despite the fact that some economists are now saying the worst of the recession is likely over, in almost the same breath they caution us that employment may not return to normal levels for several years. Since our current health insurance system is joined at the (artificial) hip to employment, delaying action on reform--again!--after 50 years of dissembling and demurral by the same mindset that is calling for yet more delay will only mean more Americans suffering delayed treatment and premature death due to a lack of money to pay for sick care. These voices deserve to be ignored and, if necessary, bowled over before they can strike one more blow against sanity, humanity, and reality.


Detroit Dan said...

If I add your thought dots together, I come up with something like the following:

Special interests + myopic conservatism (can't see past tax cuts) yields opposition to effective national health care.

A third factor I see is false national pride. The opponents of health care reform seem to insist that the United States has the best health care system in the world, in spite of abundant evidence to the contrary. It's another form of myopia, I guess.

To summarize, various special interests have learned to manipulate a large portion of the citizenry so that they fixate on a few nearby shiny objects (tax cuts and national pride). Both the manipulators and the manipulated are conservative Republicans. It's a movement built on myopia.

legacyguy said...

Your addition skills are honed to a fine state, indeed. I agree with you completely that the concept of American exceptionalism plays a major part in the health insurance reform debate, just as it does in discussions about foreign interventionism, free trade, foreign aid, cultural and religious clashes, and nearly everything else. It is much like the "not invented here" syndrome and is rooted in tribalism--the root of most of the pain and suffering in the world.