With the Congressional Oversight Committee, Democrats had a rare opportunity to reverse public perception about the party’s closeness to Wall Street. Instead, they punted again
I was involved in a major Federal case a number of years ago, suing a number of large insurance companies (you would recognize the names) for knowingly having sold "supplemental" health policies to employers with older employees on Medicare. The result was that the elderly employees suddenly had large medical bills and NO insurance coverage: since Medicare claimed it was the secondary payor in such programs, and the supplemental insurance sellers said they would not pay unless Medicare paid first. SO, we had elder employees now being sued by their health care providers and refused essential medical services. To help this all along (?) the Government began what was called the Medicare Secondary Payor ["MSP"] Program to sue all the small employers for benefits it had already paid out to employers of these elderly employees. To keep things short, a number of lawyers (me included) went to D.C to talk with a representative of HHS (administered by Shalala at the time). We advised HHS that, in our opinion, elderly employees, their employers and Medicare had intentionally been bilked out of 100s of millions of Dollars (most likely MUCH more) by these major insurance companies who had sold a product they had no business selling. As the HHS representative stood up to water her plant hanging in a macramé hanger she said: "I hate to tell you all, but that's literally nothing, in comparison to the Medicare fraud taking place in our Country every day". True story. That's when I "got "Donna Shalala's number" . . . in spades. IMHO, she is a professional political hack, does not know what she is doing and doesn't care.
It is worth a mention that Shalala was a "Friend of Angelo" (Countrywide). Who does she owe money to this time around?
I remember a comment of Michael Parenti's about the difference between a liberal complaint and a radical analysis, which I think is germane here. The first takes the view that acts like this appointment are the product of basically good intentions gone awry, supplemented by incompetence, bumbling, myopia, cluelessness, etc., perhaps also spinelessness and incoherence. The second asserts that these apparently inexplicable outcomes are knowingly and willfully sought based on the class interests of the political and economic actors who make them happen. Taibbi, whose journalism is excellent, is taking the former view here (as he generally does), which is captured by his characterization of Shalala's appointment as an unforced error. There is, however, no reason to assume that this appointment was an error, as opposed to a perfectly orchestrated success (with the nuances and complexities of money and political pressure, but nonetheless). For it to be an error, one must assume that the Democratic Party, or the faction of it that continues to control its behavior as a party, is actually interested in seeing to it that this third oversight body is effective on behalf of Main Street (to use the dreadful term). But there is no reason to assume this is so; this is obvious by now, notwithstanding the presence on the commission of an Elizabeth Warren advisor, which now looks like tokenism. I would like to see what Taibbi would come up with if he approached his investigations of these ugly boondoggles with more agnosticism about which of the two frames (liberal complaint v. radical analysis) will have more explanatory power as this crisis, and the measures ostensibly aimed at shoring it up, unfold.
No surprise to me. Both sides of the aisle are flawed, I have known that since I was 13. We need major reform. Lobbyists have taken over our government. It must end.
Since when do the powers that be actually want oversight? When was the last time our leaders engaged in significant, meaningful, effective oversight? Seriously, why does this matter?
To the extent that it matters, it’s cart before the horse.
The CARES Act is an obscene giveaway based on the post 2008 premise that anything and everything that holds back the continued extractive, impoverishing policies our elected officials are fast to implement is a bad thing.
I should say that the desire for extraction is a part of our deadly insufficient readiness for the pandemic.
The US now is a failed state; oversight is irrelevant in a failed state and accomplishes nothing worth the bother.
Why did Dem's choose Shalala? Easy - to send a message to their elite 1% donor class, the trillions you receive will not be questioned nor revealed to the American public, at least not by the Democratic Party or Congress. It is also a non-message to the American public, We do not care about how many of you die by Covid-19 or economic despair, there are 7 billion people in this world and most of you are easily replaceable.
That was no unforced error, that was your shortstop throwing the game.
So, we Democrats fucked up again. All the more work for you, Matt. Keep it up. Thx.
Shalala's appointment by Pelosi is just one more piece of evidence that shows all of our elected terrorists (b/c I'm feeling seriously terrorized by what they are failing to do for we peons) are more interested in winning the next election than they are in actually REPRESENTING us!
Am I getting numbed by this? I mean, I have lost any faith left on American democracy (specially since it was killed in the 80s)
She stopped the import of cheap drugs in 2000. That must have killed a lot of Americans.
Shalala's primary job is to monitor how much the RNC gets in FEC kickbacks, there will be someone on the other side doing the same thing. This is an example of "cooperation" between the political parties, as Obama would say. The two political parties also cooperated when they made the FEC donation data public starting in 1980. This data allows them to see donors from subsidized industries and to see how much the other side is getting. more analysis (draft):
whenever you see data on cash outlays being published by the government like this, the reason is so that each party can see how much the other party is getting. Prime example is the FEC donation data, going back to 1980. The two parties didn't decide to make all that information public for the common good of the republic, they did it so they could all see who was giving to who and how much. Same thing with the universal service fund payment data going back to 2003. The fact the Clybrne is tasked with a special commission to document the transactions says to me that his job is to make sure the democrats know, or have an general idea of, how much everyone got.
Correction: the benefits Medicare was suing the employers of the elderly employees for had been paid to their medical care providers, NOT the employers.