Chris, who has been posting strong and extended comments about my remarks, has run into some sort of weird html problem in posting a comment, so he emailed me, and I suggested that if he sent me his comment as an email, I could post it as a guest post, in effect.
Here it is:
First of all, I really do want to thank you for taking the time to hold this discussion. As a soon to graduate with a baccalaureate degree in political science, I'm glad to have: 1. A radical professor discussing his views in my presence, albeit online, and 2. a professor even willing to go to the degree of conversation I tend to aim towards regarding all things political.
I have to say, my life is the polar opposite of yours. Since high-school, my family and I have become poorer and poorer, as has my long-term (7 years this month) girlfriends. She works full-time and I am a full-time student on loans. We live in a 1 room studio apartment, in a 'okay' side of town - could be better - and are about as low class - fiscally - as is possible without seeking government aid. Yet I find myself, still taking a radical position, that according to you will not benefit me in the slightest, or my girlfriend, or those of my position. Well, I have to disagree.
I would like to start with your health care claims, which I found to be fundamentally, and factually false. Mind you, I've spent two semesters heavily researching the topic, so if you doubt what I say, I don't mind providing sources. For now, I shall just lay out my essential disagreements. You state, erroneously:
"You want a single-payer health care insurance system? In the absence of the Republican Party, it would have been part of the bill recently passed. "
No offense professor, but this is dead wrong. Only two members in the entire congress actually fought tooth and nail for such a thing, and only a very small handful - maybe fifteen - actually supported it openly initially. Barack Obama never once met with a single advocate of a single-payer or socialist system. As a matter of fact, the few public citizens who showed up at congress advocating the system were arrested. They were never given a voice with ANYONE in congress except Dennis Kucinich. And the man Obama put in charge of health-care overhaul in the senate, senator max baucus- had extensive ties to numerous private health companies, as did his aids. When he allowed 15 separate lobby groups to voice their opinion on the matter not one was a single payer advocate, and maybe one was a public option supported. This was Obama's pick. Moreover, Obama quailed on single payer right away, and never once even advocated for a single payer system. By doing so, he started the initial reform in the left-center, and it moved, unsurprisingly to the right. All the while he was negotiating back-room deals with pharmaceutical companies, and health insurance companies (check the white house record logs) that benefited them, not me and my girlfriend. Furthermore, the idea that we just needed no republicans is fatuous, as max baucus was a democrat! And even Rahm Emanuel was an active participant in squashing a single-payer system. Furthermore, congress was primarily democrats, and the handful of serious progressives were told single-payer was off the table for discussion, and even a public option was fuzzy at best. These were not republicans that killed a quality health-care bill, these were Democrats, working in tandem with big health industry groups, that helped to kill it; since they held the majority. And, since we all know single-payer would save the government hundreds of billions of dollars, they could passed a single payer bill with the democrat majority using reconciliation. So all excuses that the democrats had to negotiate with Republicans, is more Washington Orwellian showmanship, duping the public. Which, is understandable, most of them didn't spend the time I did researching the affair.
Now the actual bill is strongly going to hurt me. Keep in mind professor, you think your side, the well-to-do, well-off, retired, and socially conscience side, is struggling for the dirt-poor, abject student loan debt, one room living quarters, side. This simply is not the case. Now, somehow, I am forced, literally, into a health-care system I want absolutely nothing to do with since it's merely a handout to private industry and only delays the inevitable crash of our overall health-care system (I could elaborate on that more, using diabetes statistics, obesity, raising of drug prices, premiums, and bankruptcy, etc, but not now). In my present condition I have not a penny in my budget to garner health-care with. I will literally have to stop putting gas in may car, or eating quality healthy foods(which defeats the purpose). The fact of the matter is, this bill is an expenditure that is seriously going to hurt me, and I never wanted to imposed on me in the first place! And the Democrats bear more responsibility than the Republicans. Frankly, I wish the bill had been defeated by Republicans.
Your next major claim is that the Republicans are threatening social security. Well so are the Democrats. You seem to think the line between both parties is thicker than I. This is because I know the parties are no different, it's other institutions of power that do the serious motivation. The Republicans and Democrats merely serve as yes-men to whoever will back the party the most. And the people backing the destruction of Social Security will win-out, regardless of who is in power. Even Obama's former budget director Peter Orzag had serious intentions of scaling back social security. As do numerous other members in his cabinet, and advisory panels. Might I remind you of his State of the Union speech where he indicated he was going to cut social spending, not defense, to reign in the budget? This mad is a finance-capitalist wet dream come true. He rallies the left into going against their own politics!
Finally, outside of finance-capitalist institutional power threat, the next serious threat to social wealth fare is defense spending. Everyone, regardless of party, or politics, agrees the US budget is a disaster, and probably moribund. And there's no doubt a major problem of this is our outrageous defense spending, which equals the rest of the world combined. Not to mention our 860 military bases, occupying over 65 countries. And what does Obama do, with this, the mother of all budget hurdles? He expands bases in Europe, Latin America, the Middle-East, Pacific Islands, and Africa. He expands wars in the Middle-East, and clandestine drone operations in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle-East. Not surprisingly, he also expands the overall defense budget. And the only emergency expenditure him and congress ever pass, is defense – offense - related. Democrats too of course. This is unsurprising given his far-to-the-right defense team and personal analyst. If we want proper social spending, and we do, defense needs to be addressed asap, and the Democrats are AS BAD AS the Republicans in this regard.
Anyway professor, I'm glad your conscience is in the right place, I just disagree over the fundamental facts. I know you're an ally, not an enemy, of the people, so I appreciate the discussion. However, given the present political climate, I'm in favor of one thing only – revolution, because our system is set to destruct anyway. And sad to say, the left isn't offering it. And the tea party - the only viable revolutionary party - has solid grievances, but dreadful solutions.