David Brooks Is Concerned, You Guys! Medicare For All Is Hard & Stuff So F*ck It


New York Times columnist David Brooks has an opinion about Medicare for All. It's not a good or even all that interesting an opinion, but he's going to share it with us anyway.

See? Medicare for All is impossible. Health care expert and political genius David Brooks said so. We can all give up now and move on to more important matters, like carefully considering the feelings and bruised egos of bigots. Brooks also dismisses Medicare for All as just a big dream, like the one we often have where the New York Times hires decent columnists.

Brooks is a rich guy with reliable access to health care, but that doesn't mean he has no skin in this game. Maybe one of the valets at his club died from a preventable illness. It's not as though Brooks thinks universal coverage is a bad idea. His buddies in Britain and Canada, after all, all swear by their single-payer systems. He just doesn't understand how you could possibly make that work in the United States. And if Brooks -- a card-carrying white man -- can't figure it out, how on earth could Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris?

BROOKS: [Medicare for All] sounds good. But the trick is in the transition.

OK, then let's get some David Copperfields on the job. You can't just shout "American exceptionalism!" without ever actually being exceptional. Even if means pulling a muscle or two, we should at least try to fix our broken health care system.

Proponents of Medicare for all are saying: We're going to take away the insurance you have and are happy with, and we're going to replace it with a new system you haven't experienced yet because, trust us, we're the federal government!

The familiar conservative sentiment that the federal government is wholly incompetent and we shouldn't trust them to do anything other than control the world's most powerful military.

The insurance companies would have to transition. Lots of people work for and serve this industry. All-inclusive public health care would destroy this industry beyond recognition, and those people would have to find other work.

People opposed Amazon early on because of the online retailer's impact on independent bookstores. People weren't crazy about iTunes either because it (along with Amazon) put a lot of record stores out of business. We also have personal experience in an industry that's being slowly tortured on the rack. The free market crowd all claim that this is just how innovation rolls. There are short-term pain points but in the long term, there are new, better jobs and increased efficiency.

If we dare think similarly about health care, the same people gasp in horror. People must forever have their solid-paying 9 to 5s jobs denying health care claims from sick people. Meanwhile, the iPhone has killed the photojournalist. Yes, a drastic overhaul of how health care is administered in this country would require corresponding job training and career placement programs for most employees in the insurance industry. This happens all the time in the private sector. No board of directors has ever voted down a profitable merger -- or even a "rightsizing" -- because the secretarial staff might lose their jobs.

The American people would have to transition. Americans are more decentralized, diverse and individualistic than people in the nations with single-payer systems. They are more suspicious of centralized government and tend to dislike higher taxes.

We are so goddamn tired of conservatives claiming that "suspicion" of "centralized government" and an opposition to "higher taxes" are the average American's natural condition rather than the result of decades of right-wing propaganda. Maybe instead of promoting the sort of hollow patriotism that condemns Colin Kaepernick, our leaders could push the crazy notion that we are all in this together. GoFundMe demonstrates that not all Americans are selfish assholes.

This morning on Twitter, Brooks warned Democrats that their recent midterm victories could all be for naught if they dared do anything radical. Just lock Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez up in a closet and maintain the status quo. Seriously, what's the point of gaining power if you're so obsessed with keeping it that you don't even try to improve the lives of Americans?

It's astonishing that Brooks would invoke the electoral shellackin' of 2010. Here's the thing: People are alive now because Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act that year. Yes, we got our asses handed to us a few months later, thanks to a combination of Republican lies and liberal ennui. But it's not like we have nothing to show for our majority. The ACA is an overall net positive for Americans, so much so that the Republican attempts to repeal it failed because they had nothing better to offer. Nancy Pelosi was vindicated when she said that Democrats had to first pass the ACA before Americans could actually appreciate it. The ACA is what helped Democrats win back the House last year. It's not just why Pelosi lost her gavel. It's also how she got it back. We'd watch the hell out of that movie.

At this point, the easiest way to get to a single-payer system would probably be to go back to 1776 and undo that whole American Revolution thing.

Stop. You're not helping. Although, we imagine that was never the point.

[NYT / NPR / Vox]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Seattle. However, he's more reliable for food and drink recommendations in Portland, where he spends a lot of time for theatre work. His co-adaptation of "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins is playing NOW at Pioneer Square's Cafe Nordo. All Wonketters welcome.

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Hooray, it's time for yet another dispatch from Fox News's big fun week of failure. (No, we mean even more failure than usual.) While all of Twitter is being annoying and talking incessantly about nothing but Bran and Daenerys and Carl and Peg or whoever they are, we have been (ignoring it and) focusing on all Fox's sadness, starting with Pete Buttigieg's town hall, where he called Fox News a piece of shit to its face. Then we laughed and laughed at Fox News idiot Pete Hegseth, who is sending lots of begging to today's college graduates, that they might immediately get dropped on their heads and forget all their education, so they might grow up to be the Fox News viewers of the future.

Oh, and we haven't even had a chance to LOL at the epic hilarity of Steve Doocy trying to do man-on-the-street interviews in Midtown Manhattan, shoving the mic into the faces of New Yorkers who literally don't care if he goes and plays in traffic. That was fun!

But the point of this post is that we have finally learned what makes at least some Fox News viewers tick, and it is that Tucker Carlson "laughs like a girl." That is not us saying that, that is a Fox News fan lady telling the Washington Post's Erik Wemple why she loves Tucker Carlson so much.

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Old White Guys Try To Explain Abortion

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It's your Sunday show rundown!


Michael is out, so I'm taking over your Sunday Show Rundown. This week everyone was talking about those awful abortion laws worming their way through state legislatures. As usual, most of the men were tripping on their dicks while trying to talk about vag. Luckily, there's enough women around to ladysplain things.

Bernie Sanders went on Meet the Press for the first time in FOREVER and played his greatest hits for all the kids. Sanders criticized Joe Biden's environmental policy (which is literally just "beat Trump"), stating that it wasn't "good enough." Sanders is right! (NO FIGHTING.)

SANDERS: Beating Trump is not good enough. You have to beat the fossil fuel industry, you have to take on all the forces of the status quo who do not want to move this country to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

But then Chuck Todd asked Bernie a loaded question about women getting "sex-selective" abortions and the whole interview went off the rails. Bernie struggled to answer the dumbass question and came across looking stupid despite having spent the better part of the last week in Alabama railing against abortion bans.

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