I have to get this off my chest. I am no Obamabot although I continue to support him. I am concerned about his economic team and the hand they had in the original deregulation that led to the economic collapse. But when Raw Story comes out with this piece
intimating that Obama has been influenced by the Health Care industry because of $20M in contributions, I got damn mad. This is an example, as with the allegations about John Gruber, of needless and thoughtless faux scandal manufacture from the left. Details below the fold.
The numbers are gleaned from a web site put up by the Center for Responsive Politics and are an aggregate from "health professionals ($11.7m), health services/HMOs ($1.4m), hospitals/nursing homes ($3.3m) and pharmaceuticals/health products ($2.1m)".
You can easily go to the site yourself - http://bit.ly/... - the drop down form allows you to explore.
Right away you can see that the site does not distinguish between individual contributions and PACS in a useful way. Right away you see that the "Education industry" gave $23M! That is my industry! Is anyone crying about the undue influence of the education industry?
And who are "Health Care Professionals"? Presumably MDs, Nurses, Technicians, Hospital administrators. Individuals! Individuals who may have wanted to see some meaningful health care reform to help the people they treat every day. The biggest single part ($12M) of the $20M of influence Raw Story is citing comes from these "Health Care Professionals". I would be more concerned about health services/HMOs which gave $1.4M, about .2% of the $750M raised by Obama in the campaign. Are you really going to tell me that Obama was influenced by what are most likely individuals giving .2% to his campaign?
It gets better when you go further - this link on the site
gives the biggest "organization" contributions. What was the biggest? Aetna? Goldman-Sachs?
No. The University of California. My crowd. $1.5M. Again, .2% of Obama's overall haul. In fact, UC individuals gave basically the same as Goldman/Sachs and JP Morgan combined.
Now I was turned onto these links by a FB friend who is progressive but clearly down bigtime on Obama. Each day they post corrosive attacks on Obama and his administration. When I noted these points in the comment thread on her post I got back things like this:
as you know, colleges and universities love federal money. Besides grants for research and construction, there is the matter of student financial aid. Even public universities act like private businesses.
My point is this: let's focus on real problems. Pushing for real health care reform. Helping Haiti. Getting the economy fixed for real.
Bogus stories derived from uncritical examinations of how federal funding of academics works (Gruber) or the influence on Obama from the health care industry are unhelpful distractions.