Djcnor’s Weblog

Obama’s Choices #7 Tom Daschle

Posted on: January 6, 2009

Secretary of Health and Human Services. In my opinion, that’s what government should be about. I put it above defense because I don’t think anyone ever really wins a war. You “win” a war by sacrificing a part of your population that has the most potential for later contribution and traumatizing a good part of what’s left of that generation. More on that later. The subject is Obama’s choice of Tom Daschle for this position.

The job of the Secretary of Health andd Human Services is to advise the President on matters of health, welfare, and income security programs. With the economic problems the US is having, this is very likely to be a position with direct significance to the lives of nearly every American.

The US MUST have a new healthcare system. The old one is broken, controlled almost entirely by beancounters whose objective is to provide as little healthcare as possible at the least cost, insurance beancounters, for-profit hospital beancounters, etc. etc. etc. Surely, by now, everyone in the US know someone who has had experience with the universal healthcare systems of other countries. Ask them about all the myths concerning universal healthcare. I’ve got at least two previous posts on our own experiences living in the UK having come from the US. The much poorer quality of overall care is actually a major deterent to us returning to the US. Try universal healthcare. I guarantee you’ll find it an improvement.

As for those other things, welfare and income security, I expect that a good number of Americans think “welfare and entitlement folks, those parasites that eat up all the taxes I earn with my hard work”. That’s a perfect example of not thinking deeply enough. The truth is that humans truly are a part of the animal kingdom. Their instinct to survive is as strong as that of any other animal. They WILL find a way to eat and live under a roof by whatever means is necessary, as would you if it came to that. But there’s another truth as well. The essentials pretty much come down to food and shelter. If you provide those, people won’t reach the “by any means possible” state. It’s cost effective to provide those. With just that small level of security provided, folks can turn their minds to making their own lives better rather than to just surviving, and nearly always will. That’s the short version. I guess I should write a long post on that at some point, too.

But for now, let’s check out Tom Daschle and how he’s likely to approach the job. First, he’s the grandson of immigrants. Chances are, he’s heard their stories and has some understanding of what it’s like to try to remake your life in a new place. he’s the first from his family to graduate from college. I do believe we’ve got someone here who knows about trying to progress from the lower levels of US society. His wife is a lobbyist for the airlines, but that doesn’t sound like the kind of thing that would be significant for this position. He entered Congress at 31 having worked in Airforce intelligence during 3 years of the Viet Nam War, so he’s worked for the government his entire working life. I know that won’t commend him to some folks. His office was one of those targeted in the anthrax attack. I wonder why.

He’s Catholic but only votes in accord with Catholic ideas concerning abortion half the time. he was a sceptic of the Iraq war (Yay!).

He’s written a book entitled Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis which analyzed the problems of the existing system and examined the systems existing elsewhere, seeming to come down on the side of some form of “single-payer” system. Thank goodness! 

There’s not a lot of information on Daschle’s attitude toward welfare except that he’s voted against various attempts by states to effectively opt out of it and that he favored fully funding Americorps. Therefore, if present economic problems continue, I would expect a CETA or WPA type program to come from his office to help folks get by.

Sounds like another good appointment to me.


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Djcnor’s Weblog

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