Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Not that it really matters . . .

I can't get all that hot and bothered about anything to do with the ridiculous congressional super committee that's supposed to decide how to gut the United States like a bluefish in order to eliminate taxes on plutocrats. It obviously isn't going to come to any conclusion, and if it does, congress will just pass it and then start selectively reversing pieces of it, undoubtedly turning disaster into catastrophe.

Nevertheless, it is instructive to look at this list of contributions to committee members ranked by industry. (I hope this link takes you straight there, it's one of those interactive pages.) You'll note that lawyers and law firms are at the top of the list, with about $13.8 million, followed by "retired," which I assume mostly means AARP with $9.2 billion. I expect that "lawyers and law firms" mostly actually means lobbyists for whoever, but generically they probably don't care that much about deficit reduction. Retirees presumably want to protect Medicare and Social Security, although the AARP has weirdly wavered on this question.

However, if you add up Health Professionals (probably mostly specialist medical societies) -- $7.9 million -- plus Pharmaceuticals/Health Products -- $4.3 billion -- plus Hospitals/Nursing homes -- $2.9 million -- plus Health Services/HMOs -- $2 million -- you already have $17.1 million, which would make the medical industry the biggest contributor by far. "Insurance" contributed $6.7 billion. It doesn't break out how much of that represents health insurance but I can guess it's the biggest chunk, since other insurers have less at stake with congress.

This is why you know that nothing good can possibly come of this. Collectively, medical/industrial complex contributions are at least double those of retired people, and otherwise, I don't see any patient interests represented here at all. Oh yeah, "Republican/Conservative" weighs in at $2 million, but "Democrat/Liberal" isn't on the list.

You know the Golden Rule of politics: He who has the gold, rules.

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