The false dichotomy
If we watch the mainstream media, we are completely led astray. The above clip is one of the best examples that I’ve seen in a little while. The new census/poverty numbers came out yesterday. It should be no surprise to anyone that poverty increased in this country. The increase in poverty is a result of multiple different factors, not the least of which is our ongoing recession (technically it’s an economic slowdown , but it feels like a recession to me). Because of an unemployment rate of 9.1% and the huge burden of chronic unemployment, the number of Americans who are uninsured in the United States has risen to approximately 50 million.
CBS, in their infinite wisdom, decided talk about healthcare reform with Sen. Orrin Hatch, who believes that health care reform should be addressed by the states, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who believes that we should have a single-payer system. They approach the subject as if there are only two sides to the story. CBS does not give you the prerequisite background about the healthcare reform debate and subsequent legislation’s getting derailed early and never really getting back on track. The final piece of legislation was a watered-down piece of used tissue, little more than insurance reform.
There are several things to fault about this piece but I’ll focus on the fact that the moderator never asked Sen. Hatch how states that are strapped for cash can take on the additional burden of healthcare. That would seem to be a simple question which would directly address Sen. Hatch’s “plan.” A second and follow-up question, which was never asked, would be whether or not you should have the same benefits if you moved from one state to another. Why should moving from Texas to North Carolina change what is covered? If the answer is that your healthcare benefits should not change and your healthcare benefits should be able to move with you anywhere throughout these wonderful 50 United States, then the state solution is not possible. This is a simple nonconfrontational question which could easily been asked and then we could have seen how Sen. Hatch answered it.
Finally, one of the big problems I have is over the last 20 years all of these politicians have been schooled on how to “answer” questions on TV. I’ve been to these classes. The bottom line is you don’t ever answer the question. You walk into the interview with three things that you want to say. No matter what you are asked, you ignore the question and steer the answer back to one of your three points. This is one of the major problems with politics today. Nobody directly addresses the question that is asked. Instead, the politician throws out some gobbledygook before he/she can get back to one of the three points that they want to make. This has to stop. If we are ever going to get meaningful legislation out of Washington, our state capitals or anywhere else, we’re going to have to have a meaningful debate. We can never have a meaningful debate if we are simply talking past each other and racing towards our talking points.