The Corpus Callosum

Interesting Parallel

There is an interesting parallel between the fight over rural
electrification, in 1935, and the current health insurance debate. (HT dangerousmeta)

FDR Enacted his “Public Option”

By Bob Simmons,, Guest Writer, 9-13-09

…President Roosevelt had decreed a public option in 1935,
putting the federal government in the electrical utility business. He
created the Rural Electrification Administration, enabling
government-backed Rural Electrical Cooperatives to buy cheap power from
the government and sell it to farm families in neighborhoods where the
investor-owned utilities would not go…

Investor-owned utilities, who rejected the farmers for years,
wanted them dearly once the competition showed up.
They fought in
legislatures and courts and newspapers to keep the Rural Electric Coops
from lighting the back roads. One rural legend (I can’t say it’s true,
I didn’t see it) has the investor-owned utility crews coming along
after dark, removing REA power poles, installing their own, and
stringing wire through the night. At any rate, the public option
prevailed. The cooperatives multiplied.

And omigawd were they evil. Socialistic, un-American,
undermining the very fabric of democracy. Legislators, businessmen,
members of Congress, editorial page editors all over the country railed
at the specter of Big Government shouldering into private enterprise,
when everyone knew Government couldn’t do it right.

Most infuriating of all, government did it right…
[emphasis added]

The program was a resounding success.  In fact, we probably still
benefit from the economic stimulus.

The political anger was fierce and unrelenting at this and
other Roosevelt initiatives. According to New Deal historian William
Edward Leuchtenberg, one US Senator compared the President to the
beast of the Apocalypse
, “who sets his slimy mark on everything.”
One enraged citizen wrote to FDR, “If you were a good and honest man,
Jesus Christ would not have crippled you.”

The REA public option survived the frenzy. By the time the juice
reached our neighborhood, more than 90 percent of American farms
were electrified, nearly all of them by rural electric coops
[emphasis added]

Socialism?  Yeah.  So what.  It worked, and that is the
point.  Results trump ideology every time.

The author’s main point appears to be this:

Unlike President Obama, Roosevelt showed no interest in
being a uniter who would seek bipartisan consensus through compromise.

Over the years, I have noticed that, from time to time, some people try
to manipulate me.  One method I’ve observed, is that some people
try to paint their opponent into a corner, such that the only way out
is to be rude.  They count on their opponent being nice.  In
fact, that is the core of their strategy.

The thing is, it is not rude to do the right thing.  If
people deliberately force you to either be rude or give in, then there
is nothing wrong with being rude.  Obama needs to learn


  1. #1 felixmab
    September 15, 2009

    atheists caused 911 – treat them accordingly

    you have forfeit your life

  2. #2 Joseph j7uy5
    September 15, 2009

    9/11 was last Friday. Nothing happened. End of story.

  3. #3 jacksmith
    September 15, 2009

    Why A Strong Public Option Is Essential – By jacksmith — Working Class

    Robert Reich explains the pubic option:

    John Garamendi on the Public Option and the Grassroots:

    It’s not just because more than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 77% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (86% of democrats, 75% of independents, and 72% republicans). Basically everyone.

    It’s not just because according to a new AARP POLL: 86 percent of seniors want universal healthcare security for All, including 93% of Democrats, 87% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans. With 79% of seniors supporting creating a new strong Government-run public option plan, available immediately. Including 89% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans, STUNNING!!

    It’s not just because it will lower cost. Because a strong public option will dramatically lower cost for everyone. And dramatically improved the quality of care everyone receives in America and around the World. Rich, middle class, and poor a like.

    It’s not just because it will save trillions of dollars and prevent the needless deaths of millions more of YOU, caused by a rush to profit by the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!

    It’s not just because every expert in every field, including economist, and Nobel laureates all agree that free market based healthcare systems don’t work. Never have and never will. The US has the only truly free market based healthcare system in the World. And as you all know now, IT IS A DISASTER!

    It’s not just because providing or denying medically necessary care for profit motivations is wrong. Because it is WRONG! It’s professionally, ethically, and morally REPUGNANT!, Animalistic, VILE and EVIL.


    The public option is ESSENTIAL because over 200 million of you are trapped in the forest of the wolves. Which is the forest of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! With no way out except through needless inhumane suffering, and DEATH. While the wolves tear at your flesh, and rip you limb from lib. Then feast on your lifeless bodies like a dead carcase for transplant parts.

    At the most vulnerable times of your lives (when you were sick and hurting), millions of you have had to fight and loose cruel, but heroic battles. Fighting against the big guns of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! in the forest of the wolves. All because you have no place else to go. You have no other CHOICE!

    But the PUBLIC OPTION will give you someplace safe to go. And it will give us someplace safe to take you. The public option will be your refugium (your refuge). Where the wolves cannot get at you when your down, hurting, and vulnerable. Where everyone who needs it can find rest, security, comfort and the care they need. Protected by the BIG GUNS of We The People Of The United States. THE MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE AND COUNTRY ON EARTH.

    This is why it is so critical that we do not lead another 50 million vulnerable, uninsured Americans into the forest of the wolves, without the protections of a Strong Government-run public option. We The People Of The United States MUST NOT LET THAT HAPPEN to any more of our fellow Americans. If healthcare reform does not contain a strong public option on day one. YOU MUST! KILL IT. Or you will do far more harm than good. And millions more will die needlessly. Rich, middle class, and poor a like.

    To those who would continue to obstruct good and true healthcare reform for the American people, and who seek to trap millions more vulnerable Americans in the forest of the wolves. We will continue to fight you. We are prepared to wage all out war against you, and will eagerly DESTROY! you. Time…is…UP! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! No Co-op’s! No Triggers! NO INDIVIDUAL MANDATES! without a Strong public option on day one.

    Healthcare reform can be the GREATEST! Accomplishment of our time and century. A time when future generations may say of us, that we were all, AMERICAS GREATEST GENERATIONS.


    I therefore call on all my fellow Americans and the peoples of the World. To join us in this fight so that we may finish becoming the better America that we aspire to be for everyone.


    I have been privileged to be witness as many of you fought, and struggled to take your first breath, and your last breath on this earth. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Life is precious.

    Whatever the cost. WE! MUST SUCCEED.

    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings

    jacksmith — Working Class

    No Triggers!


    Krugman on heathcare (

    Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (

  4. #4 stumpy
    September 15, 2009

    In fact, last Friday (9/11), something did happen. Something good. I got two pickles in my lunch. Never happened before; may never happen again.

  5. #5 Robert E. Lee
    September 15, 2009

    What parallels? That FDR failed to botch one thing is not much of an argument.

    Electrification was inevitable; doing it simply moved the economic growth curve up a few years at a time when it was lagging. Health care capacity is already fully deployed.

    Electricity is fungible; interventional electricity cannot coopt political control from preventive electricity. In medicine, the specialist guilds will try to kill us all if they can. (If you allocate medical care by which produces the most thrilling sound bites, the cardiologists will always win all the funding from the general practitioners, incidentally increasing the supply of cardiology victims.)

    Electricity is mostly a one-shot capital expense to build the grid; it is hard to hide fraud in a six month build out contract. Medicine is mostly a recurring operational expense; those who start the system have to maintain detailed auditing and price controls forever, which means Congress gets to play games with people’s lives to score political points.

    Electrification contracts can be accurately verified by counting poles and measuring material quality; disputes can be resolved objectively. The quality of medical care can only be assessed by trusting an expert, which for centralized Federal control would be tiny handful of experts bought and paid for by political parties.

  6. #6 stumpy
    September 15, 2009

    Robert, you illustrate a maxim my grandfather held dear: ‘If you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, then baffle them with bullshit’.

  7. #7 Joseph j7uy5
    September 15, 2009

    Mr. Lee,
    evidently, you don’t use the Internet much, so let me school you for a bit. Ever wonder why Internet addresses always start with “http” ? It is because the Internet uses something called hypertext transport protocol. Hypertext means that text can be linked to other things. Text on this page that is blue, and that shows an underline when you point the mouse at it, is linked to something else. In order to understand the post, you have to click on the link and read the text that it is linked to. Then you will understand.

    Let me know if you have any more questions.

    In order to show that there are no similarities between the REA and the health care debate, you have shown that there are some ways in which they are not similar. That doesn’t work. If the two were identical, they would be the same thing. I admit freely that they are not the same thing. That is why they have different names. You have proven that they are not identical. That fails to prove that there are no parallels. Read the linked text, and you will see the parallels.

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