Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Chupacabra Files

-From the Chronicle’s lead editorial today:


Americans pay the most in the world for health care — but we get a rotten deal

To be blunt, our health care system is a racket. We spend $230 million every hour on it — more per capita than any other country. Yet the rewards for this huge outlay are shabby.

Eleven other countries score better on health indices established by the United Nations Development Program. Especially damning is our infant mortality rate, the measure of life expectancy for children 1 year old and younger.

Lamentably, the current administration has had nearly eight years to prove its disinterest in making Americans a better deal. But as the presidential election nears, the closely linked findings from the studies should be addressed concretely by each candidate.

-And from Froma Harrop’s column about Fannie & Freddie:

Since Ronald Reagan, Republicans have demonized government oversight as a liberal plot to dampen the animal spirits of America's entrepreneurs. Let the market do the regulating, conservatives said. The market will punish those who make bad choices.

But guess what. Republicans are not letting the market bring the housing bubble to its bloody finale. The Bush administration is working feverishly to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in addition to investment banks.

Were the officials true free-marketeers, they would have let Bear Stearns go splat. They'd have stayed aloof to the panic surrounding Fannie and Freddie. They'd just let market forces do their job — and then usher in another Great Depression.

On the Republican side, John McCain's economic adviser, former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, pushed through a bill in 2000 that forbade federal agencies to regulate the financial derivatives that greased the skids for passing along risky mortgage-backed securities to investors.

What about regulating the dodgy mortgages themselves? Banning complicated and abusive loan terms would seem an obvious job for Democrats.

But did Democrats rise up during the bubble's thrill ride to demand stricter consumer protections? They did not.

There's no ideology here. Just politicians taking care of the monied interests. Conservatives, liberals — everyone was in on creating the conditions that led to the mortgage collapse. The bill for it all now goes to the taxpayers, party affiliation unimportant.


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