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Chelsea Green Blog

Modern Tyranny: Healthcare Reform Isn’t Really About the Majority

Healthcare, healthcare, healthcare. The one thing everyone needs, and the one thing the government withholds adamantly. How is it possible we can call ourselves a true democracy when our government can’t even figure out a way to heal the wounds of its sick? It’s sick. David Sirota speaks plainly about the issue, and lays it down hard in the San Francisco Chronicle (SF Gate) this week. He calls it tyranny:
“For those still clinging to quaint notions of the American ideal, these have been a faith-shaking 10 years. Just as evolutionary science once got in the way of Creationists’ catechism, so has politics now undermined patriots’ naive belief that the United States is a functioning democracy. The 21st century opened with a handful of Supreme Court puppets appointing George W. Bush president after he lost the popular vote — and we all know the costs in blood and treasure that insult wrought. Now, the decade closes with another cabal of stooges assaulting the “one person, one vote” principle — and potentially bringing about another disaster. Here we have a major congressional push to fix a health care system that leaves one-sixth of the country without coverage. Here we have 535 House and Senate delegates elected to give all 300 million of us a voice in the solution. And here we have just 13 of those delegates holding the initiative hostage. In the Senate, both parties have outsourced health care legislation to six Finance Committee lawmakers: Max Baucus, D-Mt.; Kent Conrad, D-N.D.; Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.; Mike Enzi, R-Wy.; Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine. The group recently announced it is rejecting essential provisions like a public insurance option that surveys show the public supports. Meanwhile, seven mostly southern House Democrats have been threatening to use their Commerce Committee votes to gut any health care bill, regardless of what the American majority wants. This, however, isn’t about the majority. These lawmakers, hailing mostly from small states and rural areas, together represent only 13 million people, meaning those speaking for just 4 percent of America are maneuvering to impose their health care will on the other 96 percent of us. Census figures show that the poverty rates are far higher and per-capita incomes far lower in the 13 legislators’ specific districts than in the nation as a whole. Put another way, these politicians represent exactly the kinds of districts whose constituents would most benefit from universal health care. So why are they leading the fight to stop — rather than pass — reform? Because when tyranny mixes with legalized bribery, constituents’ economic concerns stop mattering.” […]
Read the entire article here.


Enter to Win Your Copy of Nuclear Roulette

Seventy years ago, the city of Hiroshima was incinerated by an atomic bomb. Today, tens of thousands gather in Japan to mark the anniversary with silent ceremonies and somber reflections. In the United States, visitors to the National Air and Space Museum hear a narrative recounting that day as they view the Enola Gay, the […] Read More..

Bern Baby Bern!

Feel the Bern, now read the Bern. Chelsea Green is bringing out the first major book chronicling the issues being raised by US Senator Bernie Sanders in his campaign for president of the United States. The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America is the only book that outlines, in Sanders’ own words and […] Read More..

Economic Development is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It

Economic development today is completely broken. That’s the argument of author Michael Shuman in his new book, The Local Economy Solution. The singular focus on attracting global corporations is not just ineffective but counterproductive, Shuman argues, especially given the huge opportunity costs. Indeed, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way most communities can […] Read More..

5 Shareable Strategies for Creating Climate Action

Frustrated about climate change? You’re not alone. Most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of depressed about our climate situation to flat-out denying that it exists. In fact, the more information about global warming that piles up, the less we seem to do to combat it. What is the reason for this […] Read More..

A Mini-Festo for Earth Day – Rebuild the Foodshed

For the past month, author Philip Ackerman-Leist has been on a Twitter MiniFesto campaign – each day sending out a new tweet designed to spark conversation and pass along some lessons he learned whilst working on his last book, Rebuilding the Foodshed. You might also know Philip as the author of his memoir Up Tunket […] Read More..