Dispatches From Fantasyland

In my nine to five job of representing injured workers and those hurt through the negligence of others, I continuously play the same game with insurance companies. To illustrate what I mean, let’s provide a quick example. If I have a client who has suffered $20,000 in damages from an injury, I can never just come out and say, “Mr. Jones has sustained $20,000 in damages; therefore, Mr. Insurance Company, please cut us a check for that amount.” Instead, I have to throw out a ridiculously inflated number (e.g., $60,000) because I know the insurance companies will come back with a ridiculously low number (e.g., $5,000). Negotiations go back and forth for a few days and we typically settle right around $20,000—the amount both parties likely valued the claim at to begin with.

As I watch the Democratic and Republican national conventions, I am struck by the same dynamic. No one is allowed to be honest about what is really going on. Instead, both parties throw out extreme versions of reality and expect those watching at home to buy it. Does anyone, though?

This can be seen clearly in both sides’ characterization of The Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare). Republicans spent four days calling it “socialized medicine”, “a government takeover”, and characterized it as a threat to our very way of life. Now we see the Democrats touting it as panacea for our healthcare woes, and claim it will insure all Americans (it won’t) and will reign in skyrocketing health care costs (probably not). What is missing in all of this is what the Affordable Care Act is—a moderate improvement to a broken healthcare system.

I am particularly irked by Democrats who stand up there and proclaim Obama has been able to pass major healthcare reform when the past several presidents have tried and failed to do so. While technically true, any Democratic president since John F. Kennedy could have passed the Affordable Care Act if they were willing to settle for a law that did so little. Hell, the first President Bush proposed a plan that did more than Obama’s did, but Democrats blocked it because they did not believe it did enough to expand healthcare to all.

Whether we are discussing jobs, taxes, women’s rights, LGBT rights, the environment, or anything else, we have one party comparing our current state to Utopia and the other party comparing it to Hell on earth. It’s just one more reason why these conventions are fairly meaningless. I enjoy their entertainment value, but I would never consider viewing them to learn what was going on in government, and I hope no one else does either.

Some other notes on the Democrat’s first half of the Convention:

  • Best quote of Monday night: “We all understand that freedom isn’t free. What Romney and Ryan don’t understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.” – Julian Castro (mayor of San Antonio)
  • Best attack line of Monday night: “[Romney]’s a fine fellow and a great salesman, but as governor he was more interested in having the job than doing it.” – Gov. Deval Patrick (Massachusetts)
  • As little as I care about how much any candidate’s spouse wants to be a good parent or what it was like to date said candidate, Michelle Obama gave a pretty phenomenal speech.
  • The polls now show Team Romney experienced no bounce in the polls from their convention. I wonder if this is a testament to how poor of a convention they put on, or whether it is more of a testament that no one watches these things other than partisans who made their mind up many months ago.
  • As cynical as I may be about the whole convention process, some of it does get me excited. For instance, I really am looking forward to Bill Clinton giving his speech tonight. He can usually be counted on to say something pretty powerful.

– Dylan

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2 Responses to “Dispatches From Fantasyland”

  1. I love your comparison of the health insurance claims and politics! So, so sadly true. Both parties have been so sensationalist in their representations of issues. This is why nothing can get done, or when something finally does get done, it takes SO long. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about compromise and taking a look at doing things for the greater good. Whether it be in a relationship, or a national government, we all need to understand and accept that there are too many of us to be selfish or greedy. If more people (and parties) would be willing to be realistic and flexible, and not so worried about only themselves, the would would be a much MUCH better place. But that’s my silly idealism! Great entry! 🙂

  2. I always pull my hair out and remind people about HW’s plan–which went further than the ACA.

    Dems exact response was, “too little, too late.”

    And am I the only one who is a bit irked when dems call it obamacare?

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