Monday, December 28, 2009


I'm so glad this decade is over. When you look back at it, there's nothing great to remember. First, there was the "election" of George W. Bush which absolutely polarized the country. Everyone hated each other, during the 2000 election, it seemed like there was just some nerd who claimed he invented the internet, and then another guy you may have wanted to have a beer with. It wasn't really a question of who you liked more, it was really about who you hated less. The majority of the people weren't all that passionate about one candidate or the other, and no matter who won, Gore or W, neither would have had any true mandate to get any of their policy objectives accomplished. Then came September 11th 2001.

As in past crises, American's ran straight to the flag, and W's popularity soared. The election was left behind, it didn't matter anymore. Recently, and to my great enjoyment, there have been many people who have been making fun of Glenn Beck. One skit that has had many people laughing was his coalition for 9/10, where Beck wants everyone to feel the way they did before that awful day in September. But what I remember most about that time is actually the day after. Having grown up in New York City, I have always had to explain to people who are not accustomed to a big city that I knew everyone on my block. NYC is made up of small communities, and on 9/12, they were extremely important to getting things back on track. Schools were canceled and people were outside. My family and I went to Central Park where we saw a ton of people out with their dogs talking, exercising, reading, and yes the park is always crowded on nice days (which this was) but this time there was a bigger reason for it.

You had to be with someone. You couldn't be alone because the only way to get through what happened the day before was to be together. Karl Rove's strategy of there being two ideologues in American politics might be true, but where he and the Bush administration fell short wasn't the two wars, or the spending, it was leadership. We'll never know if Al Gore would have been a better President, but President Bush lost a great opportunity to bring people together. No one likes politics (trust me, I know) but the reason President Obama won this year wasn't because the majority of the people were absolutely in love with him. It was because of what he represented. While George W. Bush let September 11th define his Presidency, he should have defined September 11th. I'm 23 now, and when Barak Obama ran for President, he wanted to bring America together. That's why he won. Change was not just a slogan. It was a word that represented the ideals of why people came together on 9/12. Even during this financial crisis and what has been dubbed the great recession, everyone (Republicans and Democrats) looked to their government to do something.

I'm glad this decade is over because it means there is a chance Americans can feel exuberant again. And maybe this time even humble. Personally, I'm confident the economy will turn around next year, and hopefully there will be many people (including me) who can find a job. But as we go forward, it's important we do not forget how we felt on 9/12/2001, because that is the true America. Hopefully even Glenn Beck can remember that.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Thought This Was The Time For Giving

At 8:46pm tonight I received a news alert from the New York Times that read "Senate Democrats Likely to Drop Medicare Expansion." I thought I read it wrong, or the Times was mistaken, or maybe the headline was just misleading/catchy so people would read the article which would result in more revenue in advertisements. Unfortunately, it was none of these scenarios.

The article quotes Senator Baucus saying he thinks that the headline is what is going to happen, and Senator Reid didn't even want to answer any questions when the Democrats came out of a meeting. I was willing to live with the proposal of people being able to buy into Medicare at 55. At least it was something. When Social Security was first created the average for people to live was 58 for a male and 61 if you were a female, but individuals couldn't receive benefits until they were 65. Maybe I was fooling myself, but the Social Security program has grown a lot since then. So I thought it was like that, baby steps.

But there's not steps being taken here. Insurance companies dominate the states they are in. There is no market, you either can afford insurance or you can't and that's that. President Obama has stated many times that we need to lower prices or no one in the country will be insured. Without any sort of public option, expansion of Medicare, buy in clause people to buy into the insurance plans federally employees (including members of Congress) get, insurance coverage will either stay the same or more likely be raised. Which means that by 2019 health care costs will raise more then all other domestic programs, including defense.

In my very first blog entry I tried to explain how health insurance works. The supply demand equation does not work. Especially if providers are more worried about making a profit and not spending money on the people who pay into their fees.

Even if there was a clause in the bill that allowed insurance companies to compete across state borders (a Republican idea) it would lower costs because it gives people more options. If insurance companies want people to pay them anything, they'll give them the best deal possible based on what other companies are offering. But if there are no other companies (and in most states there are little to sometimes none) companies can charge as much as they want and make huge profits. There is now nothing being offered in the Senate version of health care that will fix this prolem.

During the holiday season I always hear the phrase that this is the time for giving. Democrats wanted to pass health care legislation before Christmas, but now even if something does pass, it won't give anything to the 50 million American's who are uninsured.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Weekend Votes

As far as I'm concerned weekends are for doing nothing. Saturday and Sunday my job is to be as lazy as possible and no one can tell me otherwise. But as we all know the Senate is in session this weekend voting on their health care bill. As I'm watching C-SPAN 2 I saw Senator McConnell begrudgingly asked Reid when the votes were going to be held on Saturday and Sunday. He clearly, by the way he asked the question and the sound of his voice, did not want to be there this weekend.

Speaker Pelosi did the same thing. I went around the Capitol the weekend the House was voting on their health care bill and no one was there. Even watching the news cable broadcasts, I remember thinking there were only a few people actually on top of the situation. Speaking of which, Wolf Blitzer wasn't even on the air!

I know there is a lot of talk out there about whether or not the Democrats have the votes to pass their final legislation. But if I was a betting man I would I'd put my money on yes.

Senators are people too and they, just like everyone else, hate working on the weekends. On top of that, it's snowing here in DC. It's disgusting out, everyone wants to just stay inside in their sweats and watch football. But Senator Reid has all the Senators in their suits working. Their going to vote yes (even Senator Lieberman) just to get out of there.

Not to mention the fact President Obama is once again going to make one final push tomorrow and they wouldn't have him do that if they weren't confident it wouldn't have a positive effect.

I'm not saying the votes aren't going to be close, in fact when the House voted for health care the only thing that was truly bipartisan was the vote to adjourn. All sides agree this needs to get done and if any of them want a chance at reelection they'll vote for something that the majority of Americans are in favor of.