Democrats Had Better Find Hiding Places

This post originally appeared at Open Left.
I said it the other day, and I feel the need to repeat it: the public does not yet understand that the government is about to order people to buy health insurance, with their own money. Yes, the government is about to order people to cough up hundreds of dollars a month each.
When the Republicans start using their toxic message-machine magic on this, and the public starts to understand that they are being ordered by the government to cough up a huge amount of money every month, Democrats had better have good hiding places, because things are going to get really bad out there.
This is the kind of policy that results when “centrist” Democrats give in to to the demands of Republicans and big corporations and the top 1% of the wealthy. Instead of just taxing the wealthy and corporations at reasonable rates and using the money to provide We, the People with health care — thereby vastly improving the economy for … the wealthy and big corporations — they instead come up with a scheme to order regular people to pay for health insurance because they don’t already have it because they can’t afford it.
This is how things work in the Post-Reagan era: The corporations and vastly wealthy get tax cuts. We, the People get service cutbacks, increases in the retirement age, jobs outsourced, the infrastructure deteriorates… When huge financial corporations get in trouble because they got too greedy the government salutes and says, “Yes, Sir!” and coughs up trillions in bailouts. But when regular people can’t afford insurance, the government as presently constituted comes up with a plan ordering them to buy it.
This fight over health care seems to be exposing the contradictions much more visibly than other policy battles we have had. Against the background of the vast sums spent on the bailouts we have people in power telling us that it wouldn’t be fair to insurance company profits to come up with a health care plan that provides great care to the public for a low price.
Who is our economy FOR, anyway? That is the question that my own blog asks. Just asking the question takes your thinking in new directions.
What can we do about this? We need to fight for meaningful health care subsidies so regular people who do not now have health insurance will not have to pay for health insurance. It is a simple tradeoff, really: every dollar in new taxes on corporations and the top 1% can be applied to a dollar of subsidies covering health care. This will result in a more equitable, prosperous and healthier society — and happier voters.