Friday, August 21, 2009

You Gotta Have Something

Rep. Tim Walz, during his teleconference earlier this week, on the urgency to enact the Obama health care reforms:

"We cannot afford to do nothing," Walz repeatedly said.
Reminds me of a classic MASH episode. The hospital was catching artillery fire from unknown combatants and Frank Burns was running around shrieking: "We need to do something! Anything!"

Hawkeye Pierce interjected: "I agree with Frank, let's do anything."

Of course, if Hawkeye, as played by Alan Alda, were around today, he'd be all for Obama Care and probably fronting a group called Doctors for Taxpayer Funded Abortions for Lesbian Illegal Aliens NOW.

But way back then during the fake Korean War, he had a good point. Problems are not solved by doing "anything". In fact, they can be exacerbated by doing the wrong thing, especially when the solution is not well thought-out, rushed, or clouded by misdirection and hyperbolic fear mongering.

As Thomas Sowell notes:

Is [the current system] ideal? Of course not. But nothing is going to be ideal, whether the current medical care legislation passes or not. The relevant question is: Are the problems created by the current situation worse than the problems that will be created by the pending legislation? That question never seems to get asked, much less answered.
That is the question that salesmen for Obama Care, like Tim Walz, need to be asked. Then again, the teleconference where he was repeating his mantra "We can't afford to do nothing" included only pre-screened questions. Good luck getting to any issues he'd rather not talk about in that format.

The myth serving as the foundation for Waltz's tap dance is that Republicans want to do nothing regarding the problems with the current health care system. Anyone paying attention and being intellectually honest knows that is false. Rep. Eric Cantor in the House and Jim DeMint in the Senate, among others, have prominently outlined plans that would be the basis for a conservative approach to reform.

But the truth is conservatives have precisely zero ability to enact these reforms at the Federal level. Democrats have absolute control of the Executive and Legislative branches and for all their happy talk of bi-partisanship, they have shown no interest in compromising toward a more free market based reform package. And they don't have to. The voters gave them all the power they need and they don't have to share it.

The catch is, that also gives the Democrats exclusive responsibility for effectively solving the problems they encounter. That doesn't mean doing "anything" and that doesn't mean doing something that makes things worse and that doesn't mean whining about your impotent opposition standing in your way. The floor is yours Democrats and Tim Walz to do it right. Don't choke.

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