03
Aug
09

dead-on critique of stalling on health care

from david sirota on salon:

Census figures show that the poverty rates are far higher and per-capita incomes far lower in the 13 legislators’ specific districts than in the nation as a whole. Put another way, these politicians represent exactly the kinds of districts whose constituents would most benefit from universal healthcare. So why are they leading the fight to stop — rather than pass — reform?

Because when tyranny mixes with legalized bribery, constituents’ economic concerns stop mattering.

Thanks to our undemocratic system and our corrupt campaign finance laws, the healthcare industry doesn’t have to fight a 50-state battle. It can simply buy a tiny group of congresspeople, which is what it’s done. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, health interests have given these 13 members of Congress $12 million in campaign contributions — a massive sum further enhanced by geography.

Remember, politicians trade favors for reelection support — and the best way to ensure reelection is to raise money for TV airtime (read: commercials). In rural America, that airtime is comparatively cheap because the audience is relatively small. Thus, campaign contributions to rural politicians like these 13 buy more commercials — and, consequently, more political loyalty.

The end result is an amplifier of tyranny: precisely because the undemocratic system unduly empowers legislators from sparsely populated (and hence cheap) media markets, industry cash can more easily purchase tyrannical obstruction from those same legislators. In this case, that means congresspeople blocking healthcare reform that would most help their own voters.

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