Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

That quote came to mind when I heard that the House Republicans had voted to abolish or amend the Affordable Care Act for the 33rd time.  Brainy Quote credits Albert Einstein with saying that.

If their goal was to appeal the Act, then Einstein's words would apply.  There was no chance of getting what they passed through the Senate.

But while they may tell us that is their goal, we all know that the intent was probably a combination of other things.  If I acted like a House Republican, I'd try, with a straight face, to pin that quote on the House Republicans.  But I don't and I won't.

First, just because Einstein said it, doesn't make it true.  And if it is true, we don't know what results they are expecting.  Clearly, they know their bill won't pass the Senate. 

Presumably they are expecting other results, results they've gotten in the past over this.  They want to force some Democrats to vote 'no' so they can use that vote to campaign against them.  And they want to force some Democrats to vote 'yes' so they can embarrass Obama and make claims for bi-partisan support.  They want television attention on their anti-health care sound bites. 

And I suspect that like abortion and gay issues for some preachers, this is a topic that bumps up contributions among the rabidly anti-ACA.

But they took up two days in the House for this gimmick.  These are folks who  complain loudly about the cost of government.  But they spent two days on what appears to be a PR campaign instead of solving the problems facing the US.  But then, their goal has been to do everything to obstruct solutions - because they don't want anything good to happen on Obama's watch.

A Rollcall article last November calculated that it costs the taxpayers  "roughly $592,000 per legislative day on Members’ salaries."  Just counting member salaries and nothing else, their PR campaign has cost US taxpayers almost $1.2 million.  If we we give them a break on their first two attempts on repeal ACA, that leaves 30 more times they spent time on this.  I don't know how many hours the other debates took, but it does raise questions about how serious they are about saving taxpayer money.

Of course, I'm taking a certain amount of license here too.  After all, I suspect that most of the Congress members were not on the floor of Congress most of those two days.  (Steve, you say, why do you keep poking holes in your argument?  Because this blog is about 'how we know what we know' and I'm simply using my own argument to demonstrate what every citizen should be doing with everything they hear from politicians, corporate spokespersons, marketing in all its forms, and your religious leaders, and teachers.  I'm not saying reject what they say, just keep raising questions until they prove it.)

Besides, when those Congress members weren't on the floor, they were probably on the phone calling donors to raise money for their reelections.  

[UPDATE Friday 13, Turns out that an hour after I posted this, Huffington Post had something up about a story on the cost of the Republican ACA repeal on CBS that is dated four hours earlier than mine.  CBS, using a Congressional Budget Office estimate of $24 million a week to run the House, said the cost of the repeal votes was just under $50 million.  That's a lot more than my estimate, which only included representatives' salaries, and it didn't factor in the issues I raised, such as most representatives probably were doing other things most of those days anyway.  I'm not making light of this as a waste of time and money, but I am trying to focus on the simplistic reporting of such things.]


  1. Great title! I guess the Republicans continue to 'feed their base.' You know that they never expected this to pass but just want to get it before the Faithful.

    I still remember when Boehner took control of the House and how the Republicans were gonna be all about jobs! Jobs! Jobs! and Jobs! Then they go on to submit and pass endless legislation to control and humiliate women and their reproductive gifts.

    And now they fixate on this totally meaningless and symbolic gesture against a Health Care Plan that does help people and includes the 33 million (or whatever the number today) of uninsured Americans.

    Sure, it's not a perfect plan, like a "single-payer plan that most Progressives hoped for," but it's a decent start and infinitely better than anything the Republicans have ever proposed at the national level.

    These are Strange Times...

    1. If these times were only Strange. They seem straightforwardly calculated to me. The 1% of the 1% -- in the form of the Koch bros, et al. -- is calling the shots (and rigging if need be) of this presidential & Senate & H of R elections. What should be scary is that the majority of Americans are too dumb & manipulated or entertained to death & willfully blind to see it.

    2. Douglas -- now more than 50 million uninsured.

      Steve -- even though most of the members weren't on the floor during these "debates," they were still getting paid. And two more days went by without dealing with real problems.

    3. Thanks, Kathy, I lose track of the numbers!


  2. Not much to add to Doug and Barbara's comments. Kathy, agreed, they get their salary no matter. I was just saying we can't calculate the cost for those two days ALL to the ACA debate.


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