Jonah is very upset that Democrats are engaging in the most uncivil act in American political discourse,
expressing your visceral loathing for women on a daily basis accurately describing the effects of Republican policy proposals:
Two weeks later, many of the very same people are describing Republicans as murderers for proposing changes to Medicaid. “Forget death panels,” Hillary Clinton tweeted. “If Republicans pass this bill, they’re the death party.” Senator Elizabeth Warren said the tax cuts in the bill amount to “blood money.” Those comments were restrained compared with those of some activists, like left-wing filmmaker Josh Fox, who proclaimed on Twitter, “Mitch McConnell is a terrorist. [Donald Trump] is a terrorist. This bill terrorizes people and sentences poor people to death.”I think the flawed Republican health-care plan is very much open to criticism, from the Left and the Right, but this rhetoric is repugnant and dangerously stupid.
Did Goldberg have any issue with “death panels” rhetoric when it was used against Obama? I think you know the answer! Anyway:
Would people die? Despite a host of very specific numbers from people like Senator Bernie Sanders, no one really knows. The data is at best mixed about whether Medicaid improves mortality rates or even health overall (though it’s clear that some people, such as pregnant women, do benefit).
Ah, yes, the classic goalposts move. “We cannot know exactly how many people would die if insurance is taken away from 22 million people, so who knows, maybe it won’t affect mortality at all!” It is massively implausible that a mass stripping of insurance wouldn’t result in a lot of people dying, and this is also what the evidence shows. And Goldberg doesn’t really dispute this:
Still, it might be true that some people would die earlier than they would have if we kept the status quo. This is not the damning concession it may appear to be. Politicians like to defend some law on the grounds that “if it saves just one life, it’s worth it.” But by that logic we should make the speed limit 5 mph. That would surely save lives. Are you a murderer if you oppose such a move?
Except, of course, nobody is arguing that any saving of life is worth any cost, just that it’s a variable that must be taken into account. You can’t ignore the increased mortality that would result from TrumpCare — you need to justify it.
Needless to say, there’s a reason for this ham-handed shell game. Here’s a handy summary of the costs and benefits of TrumpCare:
Costs: substantial amounts of preventable death, substantially more preventable suffering, substantially more preventable financial ruin. Oh, and even people who keep their insurance will mostly pay a lot more to receive less.
Benefits: Extremely wealthy people will get a nice tax cut.
To argue that the costs are outweighed by the benefits, you actually have to do, you know, the cost-benefit analysis. For obvious reasons, apologists for TrumpCare don’t want to do that — they just want to argue that considering the costs is Beyond the Pale of Civil Discourse. That dog ain’t even going to get out of the front yard.
This plea for Civil Discourse was brought to you by Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism: from Adolf Roosevelt to Hitlery Clinton.