Monday, August 24, 2009

The Difference Between Progressives and Everyone Else: They Still Trust the Government

I was reading Krugmans anti-Reaganomics article and came to the realization that the difference between Progressives and everyone else is they actually still trust the government after all the failure and incompetence exhibited by it in the past few decades.

The debate over the “public option” in health care has been dismaying in many ways. Perhaps the most depressing aspect for progressives, however, has been the extent to which opponents of greater choice in health care have gained traction — in Congress, if not with the broader public — simply by repeating, over and over again, that the public option would be, horrors, a government program.

Washington, it seems, is still ruled by Reaganism — by an ideology that says government intervention is always bad, and leaving the private sector to its own devices is always good.

Why Reaganism is so powerful is that he believed that a smaller government just didn't have the sheer weight of money and power to damage things too badly. He believed that government should stay out of people's lives most of the time and will only be there to reign in the worst things.

So a firm national defence can only be done by the government as well as firm regulation of the markets with entities like the SEC and the FED. There will be failures and bubbles so intervention will have to take place but in moderation. I can easily see Reagan bailing out the banks and doing something like TARP in order to prevent the meltdown of the entire world economy. (Taking over car companies will probably be where he would draw the line.)

The problem is that progressives, no matter what, believe that the government will make things right in the end. This is contrary to the fact that there has numerous failures of government in the last 20 years alone whether it is a GOP or Democrat administration in power. We are in record debt, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are all going to be broke in a few decades, the Post Office is a mess, and the two biggest mortgage companies in the world (Fannie and Freddie) both nearly died simultaneously and are still on life support.

The failures of government led us to the Vietnam War which was started due shenanigans by the LBJ White House. Then we had Watergate, Iran/Contra, a President lying about an affair with an intern in the Oval Office, letting Bin Laden escape from Sudan, the incompetence of extending the Iraq War for 6 years due to Bremer dismissing the Iraqi army, Katrina and its aftermath, and now the failed Stimulus. Even Cash for Clunkers ran out of money in a few days when it was supposed to take months. About the only government program that came in over budget and was generally well liked was the 50 State Quarter Program.

So that is where the rest of the population comes from when they hear about trillion dollar government program to "fix" their health care. They think of money wasted, corruption, lies told by Congressmen, giveaways to corporations, and their taxes going up to pay for some other guy's insurance. They are afraid that the same government that gave them Amtrak will be giving them health insurance as well.

A Progressive thinks that it is morally right to have the government provide health care for every American without thinking about costs or consequences. The progressive thinks that the government can run 1/5th of the economy without losing medical innovation, without rationing, or without the rich still buying gold plated insurance and the poor being stuck with Post Office-brand Health Insurance. The progressive thinks that government can still get things done even though its track record has been one dismal failure after another. Progressivism is simply the triumph of the heart over common sense.

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