Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Denial Of Momentum

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 23rd, 2010


1) It didn’t seem to bother Chris Hayes that rather than debate the issue of health care, Joe Scarborough preferred to run through his Juilliard voice projection exercises. That’s OK, because after the break we will give Chris a response. So after the break it was Willie and Williams. So there it is, it must be written in stone that:

75% of Americans don’t want health care reform. And 90% didn’t miss a mortgage payment.

Dude. Enough. Those facts are the denial that is sinking progress. Those people claimed in that 75% are in 4th place in the decision tree of their own health care behind employers, health insurers and doctors, all of whom are for profit. It’s accurate to say 75% want their health care to stay the same. It’s accurate to say that that is not possible if each of those other three entities have opposite financial interests.

What are you going to say to those 75 % when it erodes to 65% because another round of significant attrition occurs in employer benefit provision? That is the current momentum. Are you going to say you were wrong then or now? Your duty is to explain the mechanics of this momentum to people regardless of their ideology.

The best analogy out there is the Huck Finn one: your chance of maintaining 75% of people on their same health care currently is the same as walking them down to the banks of the Mississippi, and telling them to swim to the other side. Every year fewer and fewer make it.

Think of all of the elements of the polynomial. Take the above fact that private enterprise will struggle to provide what is essentially a public good. Take the fact that states are swimming in red ink because they get saddled with the uninsured as an unfunded mandate. That and cost curve perversion. That and international competitiveness of the manufacturing base. That and 70% flow through on a publicly traded health insurance companies requiring quarterly growth. Erosion is a form of momentum.

At some point, your ill fated logic will play out to another Bush era unfunded mandate bequeathed upon broke states, all for the sake of reprehensibly irrational populist sound bytes.

Is Morning Joe the tour guide to the erosion of the middle class?

2) Now lets get that mortgage factoid - 90% didn’t miss a mortgage payment - taken care of. You are flat out perpetuating a fiction on your subscriber blaming the middle class or lower class homeowner for the mortgage crisis. It is dishonest and something I would expect from a Goldman Sachs apologist, but I somehow must be in denial that you are that capable of myopia.

The 10% of Americans who participated in the defaults that created a short squeeze for unfunded and irresponsible Wall Street ponzi schemes controlled by Goldman Sachs are victims not perpetrators. To accuse them as having a shared responsibility in this corporate larceny will get you cast as the bad guy on Erin Brokovich.

Look at the elements of the 10%. People who structurally had to move, people who were marketed to by Fannie and Freddie and FHA to take a gamble on the American dream, and people who thought they read a market trend and started to speculate. Funny thing is, only the speculators are remotely responsible for any part of the macro phenomenon of the mortgage crisis, the other two chief segments were innocent riders forced to participated in an extremely distorted market, and often with fraudulent pressure from Wall Street incentivized mortgage brokerages.

That’s right blame the middle class for getting sick and needing a doctor, or for needing a roof over their head and believing an FHA loan was a trustworthy proposition. Will you be my lawyer, or do you only work for the dark side?

3) Compare and contrast Detroit and Montreal for a second. I have never been to Montreal, and my visits to Detroit have been short and unenlightened. But why is it that Detroit has such a mythical place in the hearts of Americans? I tend to think it’s because of white flight. Everyone knows someone from Detroit, they just live in Arizona, Austin, or Arroyo Grande now.

When you travel the streets of the Detroit downtown and immediate mid city areas, you think of it as an empty shell populated by people who missed the bus out. Whether its Mike and Me, or 8 Mile or the great NBA riot, find a positive spot about what’s still there.

Conversely, Montreal is a frozen bilingual Paris with a level of sophistication and sovereignty that exports resilient pride. It is the capital of Quebec, which isn’t a country, but don’t tell them. Do people stay for the weather? They stay because it is the homeland.

How did the two similarly positioned cities get so far off in their respective prosperity in the last 30 years? Look at points one and two above. Detroit is a poster child for abandonment. Yea, New Orleans got jacked over Katrina. But that is understandable because of its finite time frame. What’s happened to Detroit is a time capsule of all of those things that have me slightly left and Joe Scarborough slightly right.

If you abandon your national manufacturing belt headquarters to satisfy Wall Street investors, Detroit happens. If you simply let the real estate market cave in a bottomless fashion, those houses that have been abandoned for decades that get torched on devils night happen. If you let the population get sick without doctors because of an employer based health system, they either move or move money that should be trying to create economic solutions to band aids at the state level.

Your mission, Mr. Scarborough, is to adopt Detroit, and make it the model for American turnaround. Find a way to provide health care to 100% of the Americans there, find a way to use your Harlem Academy educational belief system to go from last to first in the city known as the very worst for k-12 education. And find a way to nationalize the Detroit area manufacturing base so that it is employed by Jennifer Granholm and her stakeholders, not Goldman Sachs, as a provider of goods and services to the world, on behalf of the homeland.

When they don’t believe, point to Montreal. Its colder there. They are more isolated. But why do they possess 100 times the civic pride? Why do they have less, but have so much more?

Something tells me you will comment on situations one and two above quite differently if you follow through on your adoption today.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

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