Clean Energy Climate Change Economics

I Want Vermont's Health Care System and Scotland's Power Grid

It can be done. The world we want is available. Vermont has enacted a single payer medical care system. Right here in the US, a state has established the medical system that would fix so much that is wrong with our health care system. I think we can count on the free market medical care and corporate insurance interests to do everything in their power to make this system fail. There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. Is this the time? I hope so.

Some links to read more about this experiment:

This experiment and push toward socialized medicine is a david and goliath battle. Enacting legislation like this is radical. What does it mean to be radical? A couple of bits to consider:

  • (esp. of change or action) Relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough
  • A person who advocates thorough or complete political or social reform; a member of a political party or part of a party pursuing such aims
  • Of or relating to the root of something, in particular

Maintaining the roots of health care in the free market capitalism of health insurance profits, flattened tax rates, and annual CEO bonuses is not a reasonable formula for improving the health care system of the United States. The change that is needed is radical.

Talking about commitment to a robust public option and failing to actually enact any public option is a capitulation to a health care system rooted in free market capitalism, a system that arguably profits from misery. I want radical change. I want a health care system rooted in an idea like Medicare for All. Pose it as a pro-life scheme if you like. I want fetuses to have Medicare coverage.

Is that radical? If it is, I guess I am feeling a little radical these days.

On to power generation:

Earth Times reports that Scotland has committed to 100% renewable energy grid by 2020. That’s daring, courageous, and radical. I am down with that.

The Beeb is covering the story that Angela Merkel has decided that nuclear power is not the future for Germany. There is a strong environmental movement in Germany that has opposed nuclear energy. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster gave that movement a lot of energy. The recent failure of planning and engineering at Fukushima has turned up the heat. Merkel’s party lost recent elections and I think Merkel is making a politically wise and calculated decision. The position that Merkel has staked out would look radical in the US today.

What are the chances that the US could make these kind of radical decisions regarding power generation? I make them slim to none. American radicals live in the heart of the beast.

Che said he envied our position: “I envy you. You North Americans are very lucky. You are fighting the most important fight of all – you live in the heart of the beast.” – Che Guevara

The fight does not have to be violent, unlawful, but it will be radical if it has any chance of producing meaningful change. Thank you, Che, for reminding us why the struggle for radical politics is important.

One more quote from one of my heroes:

I. F. Stone– “The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins. In order for somebody to win an important major fight 100 years hence, a lot of other people have got to be willing—for the sheer fun and joy of it—to go right ahead and fight, knowing you’re going to lose. You mustn’t feel like a martyr. You’ve got to enjoy it.”



4 Replies to “I Want Vermont's Health Care System and Scotland's Power Grid

  1. Great post, Mike. Keep up the good work.

    I guess there are multiple nuances to “radical.” The ones you mention are good.

  2. I had/have lots of second thoughts. Like quoting Che, though he is one of my heroes. But I think that we north americans need to consider the dark role that we have played in the politics of all the countries to the south of us. I think if you look at the history of US intervention and assassination of folks like Allende, you have to consider that the violence that we decry in the political movements of other countries, we export readily. It’s still happening today if you think about the use of US drone attacks in countries that we are not at war with. Maybe we simply are at war with anyone who opposes our economic policies, our transparent imperialism?

    Voters, non-voters, americans are spun by lies and misinformation spread so effectively by the flash and sizzle television, by Fox News, are distracted and misled by stuff like 24 and Lost.

    Meanwhile, even politically active folks like the group that reads here clings to a very badly flawed health care program like Obamacare as a step in the right direction as the republicans and plutocrats launch a very serious attack on Medicare, the most viable model for health care reform. If we can’t afford Medicare, if Medicare is going broke, then how would we get to Medicare for All? (question – can we afford the war in Af-Pak-Iraqistan? does that question ever arise?)

    Don’t even get me started on the degradation of the environment, the free market commodification of the natural world (patents on living things?) and the impending disaster of global warming that is the price tag. Privatized profit and socialized loss. You want to oppose that? Remember that somebody is paying folks like Breitbart to smear the opponents of privatized profit and socialized loss. So how much difference is there really between an opportunist like Breitbart and an opportunist like Geitner?

    Real change, radical change, will require that the folks who want that change tolerate differences in tactics and opinions, the means to bring about change. We can argue about tactics, the militancy of those to our left. We can form circular firing squads when the occasional window gets broken by the black block, but we might be better served to remember that there are agent provocateurs at work in the black block as well as just dumb folks who want to break something as street theater. Money, big money, is speech in elections and can’t be limited, but political action and theater that breaks a hundred dollar window is a crime. Our justice system and courts are clear about these distinctions.

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