Does the string “Michael Kinsley” correspond to a sentient being? I think not…
…and here’s the evidence, from “Michael Kinsley’s” presumably machine-generated column in today’s Washington Post:
The fiscal stimulus was, of necessity, a numbingly huge number, and almost nobody has said it was unneeded or not urgent or too big.
Well, no….unless you include the entire Congressional Republican delegation, Fox News, the radio wasteland that is right-wing talk, not to mention those millions thousands of devotees of a sexual practice illegal in Georgia until quite recently.
So — where on earth did Kinsley…I’m sorry, that’s “Kinsley” get his claim? Or this one:
As several conservative commentators have pointed out, Obama has pulled a sleight of hand in which the items on his agenda long before the economic emergency — items such as health-care reform — have taken on a sense of great urgency merely from their association with truly urgent measures like the stimulus package.
Leave aside whether or not conservative commentators can be trusted to characterize accurately anything Obama has done (easy answer: they can’t), last time I checked, American health care was in crisis, with almost 50 million uninsured, costs steadily rising to clearly unsustainable pressure, businesses in dire trouble because of legacy health care obligations, and for all that cash, medical care and outcomes no better than, and by many measures clearly worse than those of other nations, despite enormously greater per capita outlays.
So, unless your definition of urgency requires a gun to your head with the hammer cocked, to believe that dealing with a problem that has grown steadily worse, is unsustainable in cost, and is killing people before their time is not urgent requires a certain Olympian disdain for grubby reality that I just can’t muster.
Not to mention that the charge of sleight of hand is simply false. Here’s the top-level promise on health care as articulated at Change.gov, the website used during the transition between the November 4 and January 20. It’s listed as number three on the agenda for the new administration, after responding to the economic crisis and ending the war in Iraq. It is not conflated with anything; it is presented as a top priority in its own terms — which is how it was offered up during the campaign as well.
In other words, “Kinsley” seems to be complaining that an urgent national problem identified before another urgent concern somehow be down graded because all we can handle is one crisis at a time. Well, sorry, fella, that ain’t the way it works. If there is a crisis in health care in the US — and there is, one that has both life-and-death consequences for individuals and long term destructive potential for the economy– then we don’t get to give it up because it’s just too tiring for the delicate souls in WaPo land to keep up.
To channel my man Brad DeLong…why oh why…….?
Image: Giovanni Bellini and Vecellio Tiziano (Titian) “The Feast of the Gods,” 1514-1515.