Monday, September 21, 2009

Words used to mean what they meant

When words lose meaning it becomes impossible to communicate. We New Liberal Democrats, more than anything else, believe in transparency. Transparency as in Occam's razor, as in simpler is better. A simple tax is better than a convoluted tax. Giving people money is better than insanely complicated schemes to help people. Being the skeptics we are, we find complication fishy. Who benefits from this complication and why aren't they willing to just say what they mean?

Words are misused to deceive. If you're argument is superior it is imperative that other's don't change the meaning of your words. The Republicans have made a strategic error in the health care debate. There is no such thing as insurance for people with pre-existing conditions. Below we have two Republicans arguing for their version of health care:
In 2006, the Republican Congress and President Bush passed legislation encouraging states to create "high-risk" pools where those with pre-existing conditions could receive coverage at roughly the same rates as healthy Americans. State-based high-risk pools spread the cost of care for those with chronic diseases among all insurers in the market. The additional cost of their care is subsidized by the government.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. If you read between the lines, they are not providing insurance at all. They are promoting that private insurers provide a subsidy. They'll charge everyone else a bit more making up the rest with what...a subsidy from the government. Why propose a backdoor subsidy through the private insurance market instead of a direct subsidy to people with pre-existing conditions? You got me, but it accomplishes one thing: it makes it sound reasonable that you can insure something that is un-insurable. Brilliant!

Next we have our fearless leader talking about the healthcare penalty on George Stephanopoulos's show:
Mr. Obama: "No. That's not true, George. The—for us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it's saying is, is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore . . ." In other words, like parents talking to their children, this levy—don't call it a tax—is for your own good.

Mr. Stephanopoulos tried again: "But it may be fair, it may be good public policy—"

Mr. Obama: "No, but—but, George, you—you can't just make up that language and decide that that's called a tax increase."

"I don't think I'm making it up," Mr. Stephanopoulos said. He then had the temerity to challenge the Philologist in Chief, with an assist from Merriam-Webster. He cited that dictionary's definition of "tax"—"a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes."
Why wouldn't Mr. Obama want to call this a tax? The answer is obvious, taxes have a negative connotation. Liberals should be outraged by this but I doubt anyone is losing sleep.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, the New Liberal Democrats will call it a duck


Geoff said...


Post a Comment