As they voted to approve the debt ceiling hike, the almost bigger news seemed to be the return of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) to the House to participate in the historic vote after being shot in the head in January.
If you watch the video, you see that everyone on the House floor seemed ecstatic. Nancy Pelosi framed it as a story of personal courage. It was very touching to watch—a real “Kumbaya” moment.
It just goes to show that it's easy to care about someone with a familiar face. Too bad that doesn't describe the vast majority of citizens because, while it was a story of courage, it was also a story of health care. Surviving a major trauma to the brain requires very good health care. And fortunately, members of Congress have top notch health insurance. It's all just part of the package one gets for being a public servant.
And so what amazing irony that this little bit of human drama should unfold at just the moment when the Republican party was celebrating a political victory in its quest to drastically cut or eliminate government-funded safety nets.
And now that the debt limit is out of the way, the Congress can return to important business, like stripping goverment employees of collective bargaining rights, as was done in Wisconsin. Getting rid of those pesky unions is important so they can't make “unreasonable” demands, like asking for things like safe working conditions, health care, and retirement—things government employees should have no right to expect.
Unless they're members of Congress.
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For Further Reading
Health Insurance: A Modest Proposal (Sep, 2009)