I Knew There Was a Pony in There Somewhere!

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
March 15 2010 12:30 PM

I Knew There Was a Pony in There Somewhere!

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I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t decide if Nancy Pelosi is merely out of touch with a great deal of the American electorate or if there is a mysterious reason she’s working against the health care bill. Aside from her disregard for the concerns of pro-lifers who are unhappy with the Senate bill and her comments that " we have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it " (is THAT what Obama meant by all that transparency talk?), she uncorked another gem late last week. She said that if we pass health care reform legislation, "people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance."

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She’s spent the last several years railing about how President Bush found time to destroy the economy when he wasn’t busy shredding the Constitution, so you think she’d have a touch more respect for the average American worker. Right now she’s trying to pass a bill supposed to cost close to $1 trillion, but which will probably cost much more, as David Brooks points out . It’s a bill that 53 percent of Americans oppose . And she’s touting how wonderful it will be for ... the creative class? (She briefly mentions entrepreneurs and bemoans that our businesses can’t compete internationally because of having to provide health care benefits. Um, you know what else hurts American businesses? The fact that we have some of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. But I digress.)

I realize that art, writing, and photography are not easy jobs. I would never have the guts to try to make it as a freelancer, at least not with a mortgage hanging over my head and college tuition for three looming. But we’re still shaking off a recession that saw many laborers lose their jobs and many people who kept their jobs working to do their job and the jobs of those who were laid off, all without extra compensation. How are nurses and factory workers and retail clerks and salesmen supposed to feel when they hear that health care reform will be good for the willfully underemployed?

As this post by Mary Katharine Ham in the Weekly Standard points out, there used to be 41 American workers for every retiree. Today, there are 3.3. Now Nancy is telling people they can go be slackers who live in their parents’ basements while writing the next Great American Novel while the rest of us, who are already working to pay for Social Security and Medicare, also work to pay for everyone else’s health insurance. Thanks, Nancy! Now I’m really excited for health care reform.

Rachael Larimore is a Slate senior editor.

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