We see it on education. On healthcare. On climate. On recreational drugs. On abortion. On practically every issue our nations face.
Our debate isn’t really about any issue, per se. It’s all come down to the economic structures we use to do work.
Take education. We know how to teach people things, more or less. While there are challenges, the fundamental question of education is one of funding. The conservatives want to have McSchools pop up across the land, where you go in and order a number six with cheese and you learn how to do algebra (with cheese). The liberals want to continue to have school lunch: you go to school and the meal is the meal.
In both scenarios, the mechanism of learning is basically the same: read, hear, watch, then practice. The idea that we need to undercut the fabric of education, that this has to be a debate rather than an experiment, is silly, but for scarcity of time and money.
The same is true on healthcare. There’s nobody saying we need to trepan patients’ skulls to let the demons out. The medical science is advancing as it is, more or less on schedule. The argument is over how much money should be made, and how should it be allocated. The courts are currently blocking the march to private-single-payer with their rulings on anti-trust actions by the DOJ.
And climate, where the oil companies aren’t arguing that global warming isn’t real (not really), that the disasters aren’t coming, but that we should pay for it by enduring its effects, rather than mitigating it. Or, as some Republicans now push for a carbon tax over regulation, maybe there can be a market structure.
Reduced to this high-level view, our problems are fundamentally about who profits and how much, a frank discussion that is sorely needed but that is continually obfuscated by pretending it’s about healthcare or abortion.
We should not be fanatical about which side of the imaginary public-private line a service like education or healthcare resides on. But, more importantly, the people should demand high-quality and low-cost with protections and rights retained wherever the service lives. That includes representation, due process, fiduciary duties, and the like.
The politicians need to stop having fake arguments about issues and start having the real argument about the monetary structures of society.
In unrelated news, 1.5% of the current presidential term is already over. Just remember, every fortnight is 1% more of the term gone.