I usually stick to local and state issues, but, what the hell, let's wade into health care reform. Everyone else is.
A perfect piece of legislation, it isn't. Then again, that could be said about most of the bills passed in Washington. And Albany. And City Hall, for that matter.
That said, the big picture I take away from its passage of the health care reform bill is that it will save money and lives.
A study by the Harvard Medical School concluded last year that 45,000 Americans die annually because of a lack of health insurance, and thus, extending coverage to 32 million Americans is going save tens of thousands of lives every year.
Gee, that strikes me as pro-life.
Meanwhile, the bi-partisan Congressional Budget Office has calculated that the reform bill over the next decade would cut the federal deficit by an estimated $138 billion over the next decade.
You can argue whether the savings could or should have been greater, but $138 billion is not chump change.
There are a ton of details one can argue, but for me, the view from 10,000 feet isn't bad. Certainly better than the status quo, and let's face it, that's what we were looking at. The Republicans, when they in charge, never made a serious stab at health care reform. They were too busy starting wars, wire tapping and water boarding people, and turning Bill Clinton's surplus into a cavernous deficit.
There was room for honest disagreement over what health care reform should have entailed, but let's face it, the Republicans were never serious about an honest debate. It's been all about obstruction.
That's why I get a chuckle when I read Monday that John McCain - the flip-flopping fossil who gave us Sarah Palin -- said passage of health care reform means no cooperation from the GOP for at least the rest of this year.
To quote the song lyric -- you can't lose what you never had.
Tell us about it, Muddy.
I see one clear benefit from health care reform. Obama and the Democrats have stopped pussy footing around. Or are at least wisening up.
Already, there's talk about pressing ahead with reform of the regulations governing the nation's financial system. That reform enjoys widespread public support and which will likely result in the GOP digging in and siding the the bankers and Wall Street investment houses. That won't go over well with the public, which is why the Republicans would like to keep talking about health care reform.
They'll keep yelling about socialism and other such nonsense. I'm reading a biography of Franklin Roosevelt and it's striking how the rhetoric emanating from the right hasn't changed much over the years. Back then, social security equated socialism. Now, it's health care reform. Race baiting continues unabated. Etc.
But provide health insurance to Americans - hold on there, you've gone too far.
Honey, find me my concealed weapon, and fetch me a Budwieser while you're at it.
I don't expect it will quiet down any time soon. The Republicans have seen their rule-or-ruin strategy of the past year fail, adding insult to the injury of not only having a Democrat occupying the White House, but a black Democrat. Their defeat over the weekend makes them that much more desperate.