Coyne v. Wells on Obamacare - Macleans.ca
 

Coyne v. Wells on Obamacare

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Coyne v. Wells on Obamacare

  1. Ads? We have ads?

  2. Please tell me neither of you have Dell laptops.

    • I expect mine by tomorrow, dammit!

  3. Coyne, you confuse me.

    You get all upset by the budgeting by Harper's folks in Ottawa — not the most responsible, I'll agree, but when they tried to push an austerity budget through the start of the recession, they almost got turfed by the Coalition — and then speak admiringly of Obama's budgeting in Washington, which is about ten times worse.

    What gives?

    I get where Wells is coming from. But I don't see what the GOP could do to satisfy you. I mean, they don't like President Obama's proposals, and so they are voting against them. They picked this as their hill to make their stand on.

    So why is it that when conservatives are mushy, like in Canada, they're wrong, but when they have a backbone, like in the States right now, they're also wrong? (Of course, my left-wing friends would say that that's because conservatives are just plain wrong all the time. But I didn't think that was your take on it.)

    • A few months ago, I may have agreed with you Ben. However, I would posit that the Republican strategy is to stall Obama. They just got bit in the butt because of their various blunders. Time and time again, they screwed up on the end game with regards to any issues that they had a sensible position. If anything, they are trying to force Obama into the gutter. Make the other look worse then you and then you become the best of the worst. Of course, this is just my own wild theory and I don't have the time to dig through any peer reviewed documentation to support my claim. I would suspect that any objective information is most likely a good decade away anyways.
      The answer to your last question is very long, drawn out and boring. Well, interesting to political philosophers I suppose, but boring to everyone else with a touch of sanity :D Terry Eagleton, In Defense of History, has a good essay on explaining why the conservative right got painted as "always wrong". Interestingly enough, Eagleton started out as a marxist theorist (what you would most likely auto-magically label as a leftist liberal) His explanation takes more of a historical narrative approach.

      • No, no, you've got it. And I don't see how that goes against anything I said.

        Of course the Republicans are trying to stall Obama — there's a Congress right now that is much more left-wing than the country at large. They're trying to get to the midterms with as little done as possible, because whatever gets passed will be much more to the left than what they would like, and what they think public opinion supports.

        Re "leftist liberal" — don't get me started on "liberal". I'm a classical liberal, and it drives me nuts that I have to call myself a conservative. Drives me nuts to see illiberal Marxists called "ultra-liberals", but that's where the language takes us, now.

        • Republicans are trying to stall Obama because they think it is good politics for them, period. Congress is NOT more left-wing than the country at large.

          Repeated studies show that at least since WWII, Americans elect congressional members more conservative than themselves (i.e. more conservative than their district average). There are a few reasons, but certainly the incoherence of the Democrats and discipline of the Republicans has helped. Plus, Senate seat distributions provides a huge boost to the more rural, more conservative party. So although the House is somewhat more conservative than the population, the Senate is much more conservative.

          Do not confuse this with a chronic inability by both parties to reign in spending, cut entitlements or raise taxes to balance budgets. Neither party is fiscally conservative.

  4. Very good commenting by Coyne. He catches the dynamics. Indeed, every thing is connected (how will Canadian opinon of the States alter, how will the healthcare debate continue, etc) and every end is as beginning. That is the dynamic.

    I wish Coyne could be as clear visioned and constructive most of the time.

  5. I'm glad the cost of American health care was pointed out. Canadians persistently complain about the cost of our system – and of course now the aging population is seen as a "problem" so do you think that Harper will want to introduce more two tier health care – a bigger role for private / corporate health care?

    • I hope not. The formula that determines the quality and delivery of my health care services should not be completely based on a profit schema. You want your people to be healthy and smart. Thus, a priority should be that the health care institutions and the educational institutions are properly funded in manner that promotes the effective delivery of their services. I have no problems paying taxes with the knowledge that people who work for minimum wage (and sometimes less) can still go to the hospital and receive the same health care as someone who owns their means of wealth generation. Ditto goes for education. Albeit, my personal opinion is that tuition levels are a bit high for the average student, however all things beings equal, tuition could be a much higher figure. (One could also argue that the various protests surrounding tuition rates in Canada are more about young people angry at their first real bill payment)

  6. I would disagree with Coyne on two points.

    Firstly, I think Obama has tried extremely, extremely hard to be bipartisan on the issue of health care reform. That's why it's taken so long, because he and the Democrats in Congress have spent endless amounts of time consulting Republicans, trying to deal with their objections, and modifying the bill to make it less liberal. Hence the absence of the public option. But you can't make a bipartisan deal with a group that has no interest in deal-making: the Republican position has been from the start that they will oppose the health care bill, regardless of any modifications made to it. Their decision to take that position is a political calculation of their own, and no fault of the Democrats.

    Secondly, on the importance of the cost of US health care to American deficits. The overriding reason for the massive US debt is the out-of-control military spending that has been occurring since the presidency of Ronald Reagan. When Reagan took office, the US debt was around $1 trillion and 33% of GDP. Thanks to the combination, by Republicans, of massive tax cuts for the wealthy and enormous military spending, by the end of George W. Bush's second term the debt was at nearly $10 trillion and 67% of GDP. The problem in the US is not the cost of health care, but Republican fiscal irresponsibility. Until we recognize that Reaganite conservatism is inherently fiscally irresponsible, there can't be a fact-based debate on government debt and spending.

    • Your mistake here was using logic.  Humans hate logic.  Me smash facts!

  7. You guys really need to make these available in audio-only on iTunes.

    • That could be a possibility, anyone else interested in this?

      • Here here. Audio version would be great. But at the moment, the video version doesn't even work on my computer!!!

      • YES! Podcasts and online news is typically how I get my day 2 day information. Unfortunately, my line of work does not permit the luxury of being able to enjoy periodical at home. Once in a while I'll by a Macleans or Forbes off the shelf (I still have some old school blood left – there is a certain charm to print media) Podcasts via iTunes would rock as the subscription would automatically update and download itself to my iPod during my next sync. I would prefer you kept the videos of Coyne vs Wells, however if it was just audio I would still be happy :)

      • How about putting them up on your Youtube channel?

        I really like these debates, but my computer doesn't do well with the player here.

        I'm subscribed to your youtube channel, but notice that it's been inactive for some time.

        As far as the iTunes audio, go for it.

      • As an example, I had to give up on this one, after an hour or so wasn't enough, to allow it to play.

        I've had to do this many times in the past, even thou the Coyne/Wells flavour of Macleans, is one of my favourite things.

        : (

        Getting these out on Youtube, may attract a few more hits to your website also.

        Just a thought.

      • Audio-only would be a big improvement. But forget iTunes.

    • Not sure, but I think we're being insulted, Paul. Or at any rate I'm hearing he could do without seeing our faces.

  8. I didn't realise Maclean's took requests. Personally, I was a little disappointed when you two stopped talking about Sondheim.