Posts Tagged ‘train wreck’

Train Wreck?

September 21, 2013

Recently, the Speaker of US House of Representatives, John Boehner, called the Affordable Health Care Act a “train wreck.”

If the new law wasn’t a train wreck already, after yesterday’s proposed defunding (239-180 vote) in the House, it is now.

It is a defundsive derailment. This is, like,  Congressional terrorism, y’all.

But then so was the Declaration of Independence. This kind of conflummucks has happened before. There’s nothing new under the sun; that’s what the Bible says. (I don’t know what the shariia rendering would be.)

I think the Republicans don’t like a government takeover of health insurance because they think taxes will go sky-high in order to pay for it, and methinks this is true. This situation is a little like colonists in Boston, back in 1775, who resented paying taxes to their absentee King, George III. So they had a Tea Party in Boston Harbor. Remember that from 5th grade history?

Americans are still expressing their freedom with tea Party tactics, but nowadays their celebrations are all over the map, farflung from Boston, in places like  Peoria, or I suppose, Macon, Pocatello or Bakersfield.

On the other hand, or, the other side of the Aisle, as they say in Washington, maybe the Dems have been caught up in a little revolutionary activity of their own. I seem to remember that back in spring of ’09 or ’10, whenever it was that Affordable Health Care Act was passed by Congress, it was some “Reconciliation” hijinks somewhere between the House and the Senate that got the Demmie legislation rammed through to become law.

I think you could have  also called that Congressional terrorism–an earlier version, and also, btw, a Democratic version.

So our two Parties are both using legislative pyrotechnics to enforce their polarizing definitions  of revolution on behalf of We the People.

Fighting fire with fire.

One fire is ignited by the bumbling, frictionary heat of government control; the other is the street-level heat that we will all feel when the lower economic half of our population is wandering in ‘n out of hospital emergency rooms with no way to get medical treatment.

I think probably either way it is a train wreck.

It is then we will rediscover the truth, as spoken by somebody– maybe it was Tip O’neill or one of the Taft boys– that all politics is local.

Communities will just have to decide for themselves how they’re going to hash this stuff out. Each hamlet, town, city, or state (if they can manage some pragmatic caregiving on that level) must find some kind of consensus about how to handle all those po’ folk who keep draggin into the local Meds with gunshot wounds, bloody noses and/or cancer or deetees or dependencies or whatever the cases might be. I think my nurse wife agrees with this.

The way I see it, it’s either back to local medicine man stuff, or back to the future–as Orwell would say, 1984. One way or the other, we gotta keep this nation on the rails somehow, and reasonably healthy.


Glass Chimera

The wreck of ’97

February 7, 2012

Scene 1, Tuesday, Feb 5 2012: I’m listening to DRshow radio discussion about  the foreclosures debacle, and being informed, to whit…

Back in ’07, the decades-long  housing boom starting turning to bust. In the retractive credit  emergencies of ’08, a plethora of foreclosures broke out rather suddenly, like mushrooms on neglected suburban lawns. Since the big banks had been set up for many years to mostly just dish out loans, the sudden onslaught of foreclosures caught them bureaucratically unprepared.

Swamped with overwhelming unprofitable paperwork, the banks sought to simplify their numerous foreclosure processes. They cut corners and got sloppy in documentation. The big banks got together and devised a way to cut costs, most notably those expenses incurred through courthouse fees and title registrations; they instituted the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS). Unfortunately, this newly-improvised MERS  greatly complicated the later questions surrounding actual ownership of each home.  According to Arly in Vermont, a caller on yesterday’s (Tuesday, Feb 7) Diane Rehm show, the MERS “broke the chain of title.” This later gave rise to mucho confusion. The banks had put MERS together in–remember this–1997.

About ten years later, as the sheer volume of mortgaged-backed-securities slicing and dicing jammed up our banking system, the loss of an easily identifiable thread of ownership for each foreclosed house became, cumulatively, a huge problem, a can of worms, as it were.

But Kathleen Day, of the Center for Responsible Lending, used a better metaphor to describe the situation. During Diane Rehm’s discussion, Kathleen referred to the foreclosure mess as a “train wreck.”  A few minutes later on the radio program Ed Pinto, of the American Enterprise Institute, also used the “train wreck” analogy in his description.

Scene 2, blast from the past…

All of which solved a problem about a phrase–the “wreck of ’97– I had written into a song  a few years ago. In composing Boomer’s Choice, I included a verse about each decade of our collective American experience, beginning with the 1950’s, then covering the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s. After the turn of the century, I was having motivation problems in the writing of a verse for the 90s. In fact, I dilly-dallied around and didn’t get to the 1990s verse until the mid-’00s. And when I  finally did write that last verse, I combined that decade with those first years of the ’00s. I don’t know why. But I tossed the phrase “wreck of ’97” into that last verse, perhaps flippantly, because I didn’t know why the image of a wreck in 1997 arrested my imagination. In fact, I have often wished that I had sung the metaphor as “wreck of ’07’ because 2007 is when the housing boom really jumped the tracks and ran off the rails.

But now I understand. The wreck of ’97  was the MERS contortion of ownership tracks that  later provoked a jumping off the financial rails– the  wreck of ’07!