Archive for July 2nd, 2009

by jhwygirl

Roy Houseman, Jr., 28, filed for Ward 2’s City Council seat today. He is challenging sitting councilman John Hendrickson. Ward 2 is a 3-way race, with Cynthia Wolken also having filed

The name should be familiar to most – Houseman is President of United Steelworkers Local 885, the union shop for Smurfit-Stone. He’s a Great Falls native who moved to Missoula in 1999, attended and graduated from UM in 2003 with a degree in English Literature and Psychology.

Houseman is just the type of person we need on council: Young and energetic – full of ideas, and willing to work hard. I mean – how many 20-somethings do you know that would run for president of their union local? How many 20-somethings would run for council? Houseman certainly is no slacker – and I certainly look forward to someone with a vision towards a better future for Missoula.

Why is Houseman running?

“I love Missoula. It’s a great community that has given me a wonderful life. I met my wife here. We bought a house in October and the community has afforded me opportunities I would never have thought imaginable. If I can give back to a growing and changing city by assisting in the administration and oversight of Missoula, well I see no reason not to run.”

Sounds about right by me…

The other races?

In Ward 1, incumbent Dave Strohmaier is being challenged by Ryan Mortan, government affairs director for the Missoula Building Industry Association.

In Ward 3, incumbent Bob Jaffe is being challenged by John Quandt.

In Ward 4, Councilman Jon Wilkins goes unchallenged. That doesn’t surprise me much…even the great curmudgeon (me) has come to kinda like the guy. Not all the time, mind you – but clearly, Wilkins isn’t operating on his own personal agenda 100% of the time or even 50% of the time – and that is a good thing.

In Ward 5, incumbent Dick Haines is being challenged by Mike O’Herron.

In Ward 6, incumbent Marilyn Marler is being challenged by Kathy Greathouse.

by jhwygirl

Most absolutely there are some qualifiers in there, like that the above statement doesn’t include all of those in government, just as it doesn’t include all elected officials. But overall, the number of people that have to be dying from something before the government will actually take action has to be enough that it is economically affecting a larger economic sector – one that can’t be isolated to keep those dead-and-dying in a controlled and identifiable environment.

One needed look further than Libby: Asbestos is still legal, up to 1%, even though it is an established carcinogen. That 1% is something that was lobbied heavily by (yep, you guessed it) W.R. Grace, back decades ago.

Need another example? What about e.coli? Food industry processors fight further regulation, and the U.S.’s willingness to add additional inspectors out in the fields and in processing plants is still pretty weak. Many watchdogs have said that we need more and that we need better oversight and regulation, but until a whole bunch of people start dying, gubmint ain’t gonna fund anything more, and gubmit would rather provide more paper literature on cooking food temperatures than protection on the front end.

So when I read this NYTimes article last night, titled “President Pushes Health Plan as an Economic Boon,” it made me smile.

If I remember correctly from my speech days, there are three arguments to sway that can be made in speech: ethos (ethical), pathos (emotional), and logos (logical). So far, much of the advocacy has leaned towards the ethical and pathos side.

When two weeks ago the estimate came back from the GAO for the bill on 10 years of national health care reform, and said estimate was $1.8 trillion, the reaction was “How do we get that down to $1 trillion?” An arbitrary number – why $1 trillion? What made that number magical?

Meanwhile, what I wanted to know was how much would it cost to not reform health care? How much would it cost to not provide single-payer? How much would it cost to not provide a strong public option?

What is the $ figure cost to our economic sector for 10 years of not doing anything?

And I’m not talking about how many more people are going to die, or how many more people will be forced into bankruptcy. God knows, that is a logical argument to make for me, but then again, one would be preaching to the choir to use those types of arguments on me.

We – we who want to see health care reform – we who want to see single-payer or a strong public option – don’t need to be convincing ourselves with all these heart-tugging stories. I’m sorry…that might sound harsh, but until we start translating the cost of not doing reform into the cost to the economy – in real dollars….we aren’t going to budge over this line in the sand that has been drawn by our elected officials in Washington and industry and PhRMA that was drawn to protect them from us.

Get it?

How much more of our high-income-earning manufacturing base has to head off to Mexico and Canada and China and India and elsewhere before we realize that American’s can’t survive on Burger King and Wal*Mart jobs? How much more can our economy stand to have premiums go up (9% alone, last year – a year when inflation was essentially 0%) until the government implodes upon itself providing benefits to its very own employees? How much more can taxpayers afford additional taxes to pay for those benefits? Benefits that they won’t enjoy – taxes to pay for government employees?

That’s the argument I’d like to see more focus on. Now – I’m not saying that an emotional argument isn’t going to have some success – Lord knows that we’ve all seen Baucus holding Les Skramstad’s photo enough times to know that it had some effect on him – but even then, where did that leave Libby?

One of the goals of an emotional argument, I think, is to shame someone into doing the right thing.

It should be pretty crystal now – we aren’t going to shame these people in Washington into doing anything.

With barely the loudness of mouse, the American Medical Association announced yesterday that it was open to government-funded health care options. That’s a switch from their public position just a few short months ago.

And the day before that, Wal*Mart (the nation’s largest employer – and what does that say about us….but I digress, briefly) announced that backed a government mandate on health care insurance. Frankly – Wal*Mart has been gearing up for this, adding clinics in some stores, and providing those cheap made-in-India – prescriptions, positioning itself to profit on a new framework for health care.

See – someone’s going to make a profit? Free-marketeers like Ayn Rand should be so pleased!

Keep the heat up. Keep calling Baucus and Tester and (yep) Rehberg. It’s massive wall to move, but it’s budging.


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