Thomas Friedman is a very slick writer who always promotes the interests of the political economy of the corporate elite while genuflecting to liberal causes. He has done it again in his latest opinion piece in the New York Times.
That’s why Friedman is so popular among Times readers, so many of whom are of the elite professional, financial, and managerial classes. His highest value remains US domination of the world via superior technological and industrial might, which he even expresses in his pseudo-environmentalist claims.
Redbaiting from the Right-field Bleachers
Of course, Friedman does raise some important points regarding how to beat Trump, who would certainly put big bucks into pummeling Bernie with old fashioned redbaiting. But in calling him a socialist (always excluding the democratic qualifier) Friedman redbaits Bernie himself, just like MSNBC pseudo-liberal Chris Mathews, who just can’t tolerate any candidate who is not a DNC corporatist.
Yet, the substance of what Bernie proposes is just to get back to the New Deal principles of protecting the people from the ravages of speculative exploitive capital, which the majority of Democrats and independents support.
These are principles of economic justice that the American people would vote for in an election not clouded by FAKE ISSUES. Unfortunately, both the economy and the political process are in the hands of a far more powerful financial elite than even before the Great Depression. They frame all ideas of progress in the imaginaries of perpetual economic growth (on a finite planet).
What’s So Mysterious About Universal Healthcare?
The idea that “medicare for all” would take away anyone’s private insurance always puzzled me. Here is where I think Bernie has failed. He did talk of banning private insurance if I recall correctly. I suppose it was out of a misplaced fear that it would compete with universal healthcare.
In fact, almost all private medical insurance would fade away due to the much more cost-effective approach of a system that is publicly funded and universally accessible. Go ahead; let the medical insurance companies continue offering their constricted coverage at inflated prices in competition with free healthcare, paid for by everyone who participates in the American economy, which of course, benefits from a healthy workforce.
Most European nations, and several in Latin America, have universal healthcare and also allow private insurance to offer for those who can afford it, somewhat special treatment. So what? That should not even be an issue when US insurance companies collect twice as much money to provide half-assed “coverage,” as those nations spend.
The Corporate Financial Connection
Why do so many forget or ignore the significantly worse US outcomes in actual health (infant deaths, longevity, etc.)? Too many Democratic candidates avoid addressing either the climate emergency or the healthcare crisis by arguing among themselves over how to pay for Medicare for All, or for climate mitigation, as if it would be some great big new expense, when in fact both would actually provide big savings of cost and vastly better outcomes. Bernie has not explained this well.
If in fact universal healthcare coverage was implemented—which means anyone can be treated for anything by merely going to the doctor or hospital—it would not prevent someone from going to a private doctor who only takes their private insurance. The fact is, most people would take advantage of universal healthcare because they could continue going to the same doctor or have a mandatory surgical procedure without having to worry about bankruptcy or losing their home.
In reality, losing one’s crappy existing corporate coverage is a moot point for all but a very few. Nevertheless, in politics, it becomes another ‘red herring’ fully exploitable by the apprentice-president who ought to be fired.
If the Nevada culinary workers union members want to keep their union-paid private insurance, so what? Everyone with an income would still pay their taxes—not counting Trump’s tax giveaways to the super-rich and mega-corporations, of course—so universal healthcare would be funded in any case.
The Bloomberg Conundrum
Now, Bloomberg is clearly a two-edged sword. On one hand, he espouses all the politically correct liberal causes and has the resources, both monetary and mental, to take on Trump. Bernie has the mental resources and can probably raise the financial resources from small popular donations. (Oh, no! a populist!)
Now, already various racist and oligarchic Bloomberg policies that protect the billionaire-class have hit the news cycle. Where will that sit with the majority of democratic and independent voters? Who knows, but the DNC (beholden to their biggest corporate donors) would surely be less enthusiastic with Bernie than if they had their corporatist candidate running.
But Bloomberg can mount a corporate level political juggernaut that just might stupify Trump (oh, too late for that). On the other hand, Bloomberg represents the nation’s corporate elite, who support all the correct social issues while they work diligently to continue plundering the planet for a favorable next quarterly report to drive up their stock prices and bonuses. His climate position is that of the typical environmentalist who thinks we can “fix these climate problems” by implementing one or more of the high-tech “solutions” in which they can get the government to invest, so long as it does not disturb their profits as the planet burns.
Sadly, even Bernie and AOC‘s Green New Deal, while it is light years ahead of the others, still is caught partly in the industrial-consumer culture that retains faith in the illusion that somehow economic growth will save us, when in fact it IS the problem. And if Bloomberg succeeds, we will not be much better off than with Trump, minus the sociopathic bombast. We just do not have time for all this BS, as the Earth System crumbles around us.
Worrisome, you say? You bet it is.