Wednesday, May 20, 2009

No Shame

The Republicans have put forth their talking points against the Democrats’ public option in their health care proposal:

The federal government would run a health care system — or a public plan option — with the compassion of the IRS, the efficiency of the post office, and the incompetence of Katrina.

Steve Benen does a nice job of pointing out the inanity and laziness of such a statement, but I thought I’d take a whack at it, too.

First, the IRS is tasked by the Congress to collect the taxes and enforce the tax laws passed by the United States Congress. So knocking their lack of compassion is the same thing as knocking the police for doing their job. Just because the Republicans don’t like to pay taxes isn’t any reason to accuse the IRS of being dispassionate and forceful in enforcing the law.

Second, accusing the United States Post Office of inefficiency is weak. Being able to send a letter from Miami to Seattle door to door in two days and for less than fifty cents sounds pretty efficient to me, not to mention the countless services like on-line postage services and on-line package tracking, all for a lot less than the private companies.

Third, aside from the fact that “the incompetence of Katrina” is a nonsense phrase — as hurricanes go, Katrina was more than competent in doing its job (trust me, I lived through it when it hit Florida before it went on to the Gulf Coast) — if they are talking about the incompetence of the response to Katrina, then I really don’t think the Republicans should be bringing that one up; they’re the ones who did a heckuva job in the response to the hurricane.

Fourth, the Democratic proposal is not for a government-run health care system, it’s a public option for health insurance, which — duh — is not the same thing. And besides, if they want to see how well the government does run a health care system, let them look at how the Veterans Administration does their job.

Finally, the Republicans are very quick to slam government entities like the IRS and the Postal Service, but they’re forgetting that there are thousands of men and women who work very hard and very competently at their jobs for those agencies. For a party that claims they are the protectors of the average American worker with a mortgage, car payments, and kids to raise, they sure know how to slander a lot of them for doing their jobs.

Oh, and one more thing: when was the last time any of these Republicans who are so shamelessly repeating this talking point had to make a choice between paying their health insurance premium or buying groceries, or went without any health insurance at all?