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E=MC2: Energy equals Mass times the Speed of Light squared; the mathematical equation at the heart of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. One of the most complex mathematical theorems ever devised, reduced to an equation so simple that even Sarah Palin’s probably heard of it. And it is BECAUSE it is so simple that it’s lauded to this day. It’s the formula that explains both how the atomic bomb works, and how all matter is based on nothing but particles of energy.

“Keep It Simple, Stupid.” Wiser words were probably never spoken. People don’t like complexity. Republicans REALLY don’t like complexity. That’s why they voted for George W. Bush, Sarah Palin… and lest we forget the father of Republican Stupidity, former VP Dan Quayle (1989-1993). If you’re smart, they call you “an elitist”. And Democrats know oh so well that the more complicated things get, the less popular they become (see: Obama’s poll numbers).

There’s a word for government over-complication. We call it “bureaucracy”. When we think of “bureaucracy”, we think of filing our taxes, waiting in line at the DMV, or filling out hours of tedious government paperwork. We DON’T want “health care” to join that mental list. No one likes bureaucracy. And when government programs get complicated, they become “bureaucracies”.

The OPPOSITE of “bureaucracy” is “simplicity”.

The health care debate is one of those ideas that started out simple… cheap health insurance from the government… and was allowed to be edited, “tweaked”, patched and mangled into a bureaucratic nightmare that even many Democrats don’t support… and they said so with 19% of them voting for Scott Brown in the Massachusetts special election last week. As the Sunday shows pointed out yesterday, 75% of MA voters polled “want Scott Brown to work WITH Democrats on health care” to craft a new bill, not kill it entirely. And Brown himself, while opposing the Senate health care bill, NEVER criticized “Romney-care” (Massachusetts’ miserable, costly, fully-privatized public health care system), which Brown voted for. Nor did he come out in opposition to government-mandated health care.

I’ve mentioned before on here that I attended one of those Republican “Town Halls” last August… held in a funeral home… where the crowd was rabidly anti-government involvement in health care (yet equally protective of Medicare). Yet to my surprise, the guy calling me a “Commie” and accusing the president of “wanting to turn the country into Cuba” advocated (on his own, with no prompting from me) “simply opening up the existing Medicare system to everyone, rather than create a new government bureaucracy.” Simple. Easy to understand. People are already familiar with it, and Republicans have actually run ads and mailed (me) fliers vowing to protect it.

Keep It Simple, Stupid. Push through a bill “allowing ANYONE to buy into Medicare” using Budget Reconciliation (51 votes) and move on to concentrating on Jobs and The Economy. An entire year WASTED, with voters angrier than ever, with BOTH sides unhappy with the Frankenstein health care bill(s) coming out of Congress that promise to cover fewer and fewer people, full of sweet-heart deals that have turned the entire process into a laughing stock.

We keep hearing supporters say “pass anything” and “we’ll fix the problems later”. But the problems DON’T get fixed. This country turns “inefficiency” into major industries. We don’t fix the tax code, we build an entire industry around companies to file your taxes for you. We don’t reform health insurance billing practices, we create companies whose sole job it is is to handle Medical Billing. Even the internal combustion engine… a marvel of inefficiency with al its moving parts and dependency on dirty and increasingly rare fossil fuels… is functionally unchanged since its inception over 100 years ago. As long as someone profits from a particular inefficiency or loophole, there’ll be someone fighting to keep it. And with the recent horrendous Supreme Court ruling giving corporations… many of them foreign owned… near unlimited power to influence our elections, rest assured wasteful, costly, bureaucratic health care reform, once installed, will remain unchanged for decades to come.

If you’re comfortable with “fixing the problems later”, you shouldn’t have a problem with the “Medicare buy-in” proposal. Sure it doesn’t cover “everyone” right away, only “those who can afford it”, but currently, neither do the bills in either the House or Senate (including recent talk of stripping “pre-existing coverage requirements” from “all” down to just “children“). But the bill with the greatest chance of bringing those costs down sooner rather than later is the Medicare buy-in. The bill that is likely to see the LEAST Conservative opposition and the most support among Republican voters is the “buy-in”. The infrastructure is already in place. The bill can be passed in time for President Obama’s State of the Union on Wednesday, and he can then move on to focusing on jobs and the economy like most voters feel he needs to.

An entire year wasted. Another 3 million jobs lost since the inauguration one year ago, and the number of angry voters on the rise rather than the decline.

Another example of bureaucracy getting in the way of simple solutions: using the Stimulus to create Green jobs. The money isn’t being spent and much of which is being spent is being wasted. Instead, people hear about “bailing out Wall Street” while “Goldman/Sachs hands out $16.2 Billion in bonuses“. And they’re getting angry. Angry voters don’t re-elect incumbents.

Here’s a KISS idea: spend part of the Stimulus to “green-ify” millions of Federal office buildings across the United States. Solicit a contract for 5 million hybrid postal delivery vehicles that only (the struggling) U.S. automakers can bid on. Create tens of thousands of new “Green jobs” literally overnight… jobs that develop skills that workers can take to their next job. Building infrastructure that will return value to the country for decades to come while saving the government money on energy costs, all while helping the environment. Simultaneously forcing Republican opponents to campaign against the government creating jobs… that’ll go over with voters like peanutbutter-tunafish-pudding come November… or… seeing the obvious disadvantage to such opposition, might actually result in Republicans voting FOR spending Stimulus funds to create jobs. Imagine that! The bi-partisanship President Obama so deeply craves finally satisfied! But, even if they don’t, this too can be pushed through with just 51 votes using “budget reconciliation”. (And if you’re one of those people concerned with the abuse of “budget reconciliation” by its over use, I direct you to THIS GRAPH.)

It’s all just a matter of “keeping it simple”. Because no one likes “complexity”. When people are frustrated, the majority always loses because they have more seats to lose. It’s not a “rejection” of Democratic policies as much as a demonstration of “frustration” with the lack of progress.

If there’s one lesson President Obama should take away from the Scott Brown victory in MA, it’s Keep It Simple, Stupid! It worked for Albert Einstein!
 


UPDATE: New petition added (see link on left): Create tens of thousands of green jobs that build new job skills for less than the cost of one bank bailout. Isn’t this how we all thought the Stimulus was going to be spent in the first place?


 


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