Jessica’s liveblogging the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting left me painfully aware how problematic excessive moderation is. The CGI panel on global poverty talks about how to look for technological solutions, and how to make trade a little more sustainable.
That reminded me of Feingold’s health care proposal, which reeks of the same inoffensiveness. Feingold says about his health care proposal, “Rather than dictating how states will achieve universal coverage, the bill provides them with the flexibility to choose their own way of covering all their residents, provided they meet specified minimum requirements,” as if there isn’t an existing solution used in every developed country but the US.
Similarly, the CGI panel talks about “adding value for trade,” whatever that means, about techological solutions, and about innovation. Never mind that the UNDP and welfare economists who haven’t drunk the growth-mediated kool-aid have already outlined concrete development ideas: debt relief, removing tariffs and quotas on third-world goods, working to improve infrastructure, urban as opposed to rural development, stopping foisting unregulated capitalism on countries.
On all these issues – global poverty, health care, education, intranational welfare – excessive moderates leave me painfully aware that the main problem isn’t to get people to recognize that things need change, but to get them to recognize that there’s no way around abandoning existing right-wing ideas (neo-liberalism, competition on the insurer level, local control, and workfare respectively).
I’m all for moderation, when it involves pragmatically supporting things that work. The problem with excessive moderates’ solutions is that they’re built not on what works, but on what is inoffensive given current orthodoxy; not on what’s innovative, but on what looks innovative.