Oh, the outrage. People who can afford coverage being required to pay a modest penalty if they elect not to buy it, and therefore willingly leave themselves vulnerable to catastrophic economic collapse--and dependency on emergency rooms and other publicly-subsidized care--if they become seriously ill. Please pardon me if I don't bother to fuss and fume over this governmental 'intrusion' any more than I do over the requirement that I buy private auto insurance if I drive a car.
Please excuse me if I instead hail the largest expansion of health care coverage of Americans since the creation of Medicaid and Medicare. Unlike many of those outraged over the 'intrusion' of the individual mandate, I have seen too many cases of real people in desperate health and financial straits because they couldn't pay for preventive or ongoing health care. I care a great deal more about reducing the numbers of those cases, by tens of millions of people, than about the score in the latest round of philosophical purity politics on the right or the left.
We've had a continuous struggle over the influence of elite financial interests over politics and the economy ever since our republic was founded, and that struggle is sure to continue as long as that republic survives. Yes, it matters, but treating the philosophical marker of private insurance mandates as a horror so large it overtops the value of huge gains in health care access is cold-hearted and foolish in my view.
"All of the big SUVs and big trucks won't qualify for this. The day of the F 250, the farm truck, the truck that pulls your boat [will be] over. You just won't be able to get them."
As Harry Truman would say, horse manure. The key word is "average" mileage. How many people own farms, or boats big enough to have to be pulled by a truck? Darn few. The domestic auto industry has got to wise up and stop trying to market huge guzzlers to the rest of us, or it's going the way of the wooly mammoth--killed off by smaller, more agile hunters. Sadly, it's almost there now. One...last...chance, friends.
Bob, I enjoy your writing and was a bit disappointed today to see your comments on the lieutenant governor race. I've congratulated Hampton on running an unusually strong campaign for a first-time candidate, and won't get excessively involved in who-shoulda-dropped-out arguments now after the fact. I will, however, point out that it's a bit hard to swallow being told that a serving elected official with a twenty-year record of progressive public service should quit a race because a first-time candidate wants the same post. While I didn't start with large buckets of family cash, I had realistic hopes of drawing a far stronger contribution base--had the progressive groups that split between Hampton and myself come in uniformly on my side. That was in fact my strategy. So your argument about "ain't it a shame that Besse supporters didn't back Dellinger instead" works the other way just as well. Instead, why don't we agree that it was great that both Hampton and I were in the contest drawing North Carolina's policy debate toward the progressive side of issues? We will have many more opportunities to build on that start in the future, if we all stay involved and avoid useless finger-pointing after the fact. Thanks.
Sen. Kinnaird's "no" vote is on the money in this case. Requiring the utilities to include a meaningful percentage of energy efficiency investment and renewable energy production in their generation mix is important and necessary. Unfortunately, the addition of provisions to transfer all the risk of new power plant construction from utility stockholders to utility customers (the public) is unacceptable. Those provisions will promote the construction of unnecessary, polluting plants no matter what more is done with efficiency and renewables. It is a self-defeating "compromise" which would make the resulting overall bill a big net step backward. For the sake of our energy and environmental future, those provisions must be stripped out or neutralized when the bill hits the House side.
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor
I'll try to keep the length of my post down, and just thank you for giving our interplanetary friend the scoop on the Lieutenant Governor contest.
I will say that I'll be very happy if our fellow progressive Democrats make their calls on the basis of which candidates "walk the walk" of showing commitment to our ideals through our work in the real world:
--On stewardship of our environment, I've spent 30 years working with citizen conservation groups in North Carolina, and provided over 20 years of public service on state policy-making boards like the Environmental Management Commission, the Coastal Resources Commission, and the Climate Action Plan Advisory Group. I've been personally involved in the fights to protect our air, water, and land.
--On equal opportunity, I spent most of a decade as a Legal Aid attorney for poor families in rural eastern North Carolina, and have worked for years with Planned Parenthood. I've worked to help those without the money to pay fancy firms still get access to jobs, housing, education, and health care.
--In dealing with the challenges of growth in our state, I also bring the experience of serving since 2001 in elected local office (Winston-Salem's City Council), and working with local elected officials around our state.
There's more detail at www.danbesse2008.org.
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor
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