Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oh, The Politics of It All

President Obama has posted his version of the healthcare bill and David Brooks is shocked, SHOCKED, to find politics going on here.

So we’ve sunk another level in our tawdry tale. The White House, to its enormous credit, has tried to think about the long term. But it has been dragged ever lower into the mire by Congressional special interests that are parochial in the extreme.

This bill may be deficit-neutral on paper. But it has just become a fiscal time bomb. The revenue will never come. Compromises have to be made to keep it (barely) alive. But responsibility ebbs. Politics wins.

Quick, bring me the fainting couch, the smelling salts, and a mint julep… in that order.

It never ceases to amaze me how someone who is supposed to be one of the marquee Villagers was expecting some kind of immaculate conception and untrammeled process of legislation that is not only a major change in the status quo of a fundamental element of life — literally — in America, but also has more lobbyists from every sector of the healthcare business — insurance, doctors, pharmaceuticals — than any other. And now he shakes his head and tut-tuts about how political it is.

This is how the system works. It has been since the founding; even before. And if it was about something that Mr. Brooks supported, he’d be praising the process as the way to get things done.