Monday, July 25, 2011

Right Wing Terrorist Tantrums

The Right Wing Christian Fundamentalist Norwegian terrorist who killed 93 of his countrymen and youths, in the belief it would promote his radical cause, described his acts as “outrageous” but “necessary,” much as Timothy McVeigh had done before him in Oklahoma City.  Anders Breivik took it upon himself, apparently together with a small group of fellow radical members of the European Military Order and Criminal Tribunal of the Knights Templar, to change the direction of his government, no matter the views of those in elected power nor the vast majority of citizens of his own country.  Indeed, like a petulant teenager outraged with his elders because they hadn’t granted him what he wanted, he threw a terrorist tantrum.

When a minority holding radical views attempt to impose their will upon their countrymen, whether by physical terrorism, as in this case, or by economic terrorism, as is being carried out by the Tea Part wing of the Republican Party, the principal is the same. The goal is to impose their will by acts of physical violence or threats of acts having similar effects, such as bringing the United States to economic collapse.  Bin Laden’s terrorist goal was to bring the US to economic ruin, and the Tea Party is helping him achieve his goal even after his death by causing the US Government to default on its debt obligations.  In addition to precipitating another Great Depression, the Tea Party’s current act of economic terrorism would have disastrous consequences on the health and well being of Americans.

If Paul Ryan’s Republican Budget Plan were enacted as proposed, it has been predicted based on years of health care research evidence, many more elderly, poor and disabled Americans would ultimately suffer and die due to lack of minimally adequate health care via Medicare.  Kanuk in Open Salon, April 29, 2011 calculated that over the first ten years of the Ryan Republican Budget plan, vulnerable people in the US would experience approximately 500,000 premature deaths due to lack of Medicare services.  That’s obviously a lot more people than Anders Breivik, Timothy McVeigh and Bin Laden killed directly. I know that sounds unbelievable, but the numbers are based on solid estimates from many years of actuarial research on medically preventable deaths (see Decker and Remler, 2004 in Applied Health Economics and Health Policy 3(4), pp 205016).   To paraphrase Shakespeare, a terrorist by any other name is still a terrorist.

Decker, S.L., Remler, D.K. (2004) How much might universal health insurance reduce socioeconomic disparities in health? A comparison of the US and Canada. Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, 3 (4), pp. 205-216.

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