Monday, September 29, 2008

If I Had Seven Hundred Billion Dollars...

The alternate title for this piece is "USA To Ensure Universal Access To Credit"

Seven. Hundred. Billion. Dollars.




Apparently, a few banks not going bankrupt is more important to the US than everyone having universal access to affordable health care.

This $700 billion is on top of the billions already spent shoveling loans and bailouts to Detroit's Big Three, AIG, Fannie and Freddie and Bear Sterns. bringing the grand total to 1.2 TRILLION dollars.


According to this report by the AMSA puts the cost of single payor universal coverage at $34 to $69 billion. That used to sound like a lot of money. As of this morning, that's chump change. (As an aside, the big four investment banks, as was, paid out just over 30 billion in bonuses last year...)

Of course, that doesn't include the Federal studies by the Congressional Budget Office and the General Accounting office that show single payer universal health care would save $100 to $200 billion per year.

Hell, let's call the cost a round 100 billion. Hell, let's tack it on to this amazing piece of bailout legislation right now. All we do is print the money anyway, right?

What's more important? Consumers having universal access to credit? Or health care?

Apparently, a couple of finance wonks are going to make that decision for you.

The best part? Ploughing 50 billion into creating a single payor system is apparently too much government in your health care, we don't do nationalised here, no thank you sir, we like smaller government.

Pretty sure we just nationalised a large chunk of the financial sector though... Can I have my shares now please? Wouldn't it make more sense for the government to buy up the actual mortgages, instead of pouring money into hedge funds that risked their livelihood on vaporous mortgage-backed instruments?

Go read this article in Time if you haven't already, and see if there's anything in there you can find it in you to disagree with.

For more fun, read this article on AlterNet which has ten easy ways to pay for this mess without sucking it out of our wallets. My favourites? Tax the stock transactions like everyone else, and get capital gains taxes in line with income tax rates.


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