by Ben Cohen
A once militant Friedmanite, Andrew Sullivan now recognizes the inherent flaw in unfettered capitalism, particularly in the case of the nation's crumbling healthcare system. Sullivan is taking it to his fellow conservatives and hammering them for holding up reform in the name of ideological purity. In a scathing piece on the Daily Dish, Sullivan rips the WSJ's Peggy Noonan for referring to Obama's health care plan as 'A Huge New Entitlement', and professing the public is justifiably 'terrified' of the scare tactics used by the Government. Writes Sullivan:
Recall the Republicans' last major initiative on healthcare - the prescription drug benefit. That cost $32 trillion
over the long run, and there was not even a gesture toward actually
financing it. Much of the right was silent - as they were over all the
other fiscally reckless policies of the past eight years.
But only now is Peggy "terrified".
She is not terrified by massively escalating healthcare costs, which
are bankrupting the government and the private sector. She doesn't
mention these once in her know-nothing column. She just channels the
"feelings" of others and wants that to guide public policy.
Noonan's article is essentially a puff piece devoid of any serious argument, and seriously lacking in consistency. Noonan claims that the Democrats should not be attacking citizens worried about government intervention in healthcare, ignoring the fact that the latest spates of 'protests' have been paid for and organized by corporate interests, and consists of people already benefiting from socialized medicine. The opposition to Obama's public plan can be broken down fairly easily. Those who are against it either don't understand what the plan means, don't want to understand it, or simply hate the fact that a black man is in the Oval Office. Noonan clearly doesn't want to understand it, as she keeps referring to it as a 'National health-care plan' (it isn't), and uses inflammatory statements like, "A Democratic operative the other day called it “Hillary’s revenge.”" (Really Peggy? Can we have your source on that one?).
Sullivan points out that the system as it is is fundamentally broken, and will literally engulf the economy over the next decade if costs are not controlled. Noonan has no solutions herself, suggesting that:
The president should call in his troops and his Congress and announce a
rethinking. There are too many different bills, they’re all a thousand
pages long, no one has time to read them, no one knows what’s going to
be in the final one, the public is agitated, the nation’s in crisis,
the timing is wrong, we’ll turn to it again—but not now. We’ll take a
little longer, ponder every aspect, and make clear every complication.
The healthcare system in the U.S has been broken for a very long time. Certainly long enough for intellectuals like Noonan to have formulated some sort of opinion about it. If Noonan is content to sit by the sidelines as millions of people go uninsured and the levels of personal debt spiral out of control, that's fine. But don't expect anyone mildly serious about pulling the country out of its current hell hole to do the same.