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HCR Avatar analogy—and “pass HCR” contingency fund

Maybe lots of other people are making Avatar analogies, but I haven’t happened to see them myself. So I’ll just throw this out there. (Spoiler alert for people who haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to know the storyline: avoid this diary entry.) Scott Brown’s election is the point in the story where Hometree topples over and the Omaticaya are scrambling for their lives in fear. The boneheaded cowardice of Democrats in the House, Senate, and White House is the point in the story where the Omaticaya retreat to the Tree of Souls praying for rescue. (This is a little bit of an insult to the Omaticaya since they weren’t being foolish or cowardly in going to the Tree of Souls, but bear with me.) Instead of going to the source of life and wisdom, these Democrats are praying to that unholy mythical deity, the independent voter who won’t know the difference between Republican and Repbulican-lite. How does this story end? So does anyone tame the toruk and rally all the tribes of Na’vi to join together in defense of the heart and soul of their world? No, I’m not talking about Obama being our savior. For Democrats, the way to tame the toruk is to pass healthcare reform. It would be the sign of power in the face of adversity that gives democratic voters a reason to believe that they can stand together for what they believe–and actually achieve it. Okay, so analogy over. Now for a humble proposition. Maybe the Democrats in Washington can have their spines stiffened with a sufficiently large carrot. Can the Daily Kos* higher ups start an ActBlue page that collects a contingency fund for the DCCC and DSCC? What I’m thinking is a fund that collects contributions, but the money is not distributed to the DCCC and DSCC unless and until healthcare reform passes and is signed into law. If no law passes by the end of some predetermined date, say February 14 (happy Valentine’s Day! We love you America!) then all the money is refunded to the contributors. (Possibly with some small fraction retained by ActBlue to cover administrative costs.) Wikipedia’s slightly outdated page on the Democratic Party says there were 72 million registered Dems as of 2004. That probably went up what with the 2008 elections. So let’s say there are 75 million registered Dems. How much would it take to tempt Congress to overcome cowardice and do the right thing? $20 million, $35 million, $75 million? Those break down, respectively, to a mere 27 cents, 47 cents, and one dollar per registered Dem. Would you donate a quarter or a dollar to ensure that healthcare reform passes? Remember, you’d get it refunded back if HCR fails. Let’s make this into a survey! *Cross-posted on Daily Kos, where there’s a poll so you can vote on whether this is a good idea.

I'm an associate editor at Chelsea Green and I like to think about low-tech/appropriate-tech gizmos that I hope to build when I have some spare time. In a previous incarnation, I coauthored the Field Guide to the U.S. Economy. When not at Chelsea Green or biking to work, I live and garden with my family in Norwich, Vermont.

If you need a new blog to follow…

I recommend a new blog from Liz Stanton, Public Goods: The economics of climate, equity and shared prosperity. Stanton is “a senior economist with the Stockholm Environment Institute-U.S. and a research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) of Tufts University.” I know her because we were in economics grad school together a […] Read More..

Following up with Allan Savory on using cattle to reverse desertification and global warming

A couple weeks back I linked to the video of a lecture given by Allan Savory, on the topic of “Keeping Cattle: Cause or Cure of Climate Change?” Unexpectedly, and to my delight, a reader of the blog who knows Savory put me in touch with him, and Savory generously agreed to answer questions I […] Read More..

Pigs at the trough and looking beyond local farms

The February Center for Rural Affairs newsletter includes a couple articles especially worth noting. Bad news first: the Obama administration isn’t holding to the President’s campaign promise to clamp down on the loophole that allows unlimited subsidies to go to the biggest farms. In a repudiation of the president’s central campaign pledge on rural policy, […] Read More..

Fascinating lecture: “Keeping Cattle: Cause or Cure of Climate Change?”

Check this out. It’s a lecture by Allan Savory sponsored by Feasta, an Irish organization (“The foundation for the economics of sustainability”). There’s a 10 minute version and a 1 hour version. The full version includes a lot of seriously interesting stuff not in the condensed version. I’d love to have the opportunity to talk […] Read More..

A guy can dream… (passing health care reform)

Here’s my fantasy—if you have some way of making this into a reality, let me know! So it goes like this: the Senate version of health care reform, stripped of any semblance of a public plan by Joe “Take That, You Pathetic Citizens!” Lieberman, meets up with the House version in conference. They get merged […] Read More..