The Senate Health Care Bill and the Stupid Politics of Printing

Ugh: So, single- vs. double-sided printing is now a health care issue. Republicans are lugging around copies of the health care bill to protest "big" government (HA)—but they are unsustainably printing single-sided to make the bill look bigger!

Politicians frequently use props to help the American people understand them if they happen to be watching CNN with the volume down in order to hear when their microwave pizza is done in the next room. In the health care debate, the sheer size of the Democrat's bill itself has made it a popular prop for opponents, and this weekend they dragged out huge blocks of paper in advance of the vote on whether to hear the bill in the Senate. (On Saturday, the Senate voted 60-39 to bring the bill to the floor.) Writes the Washington Times:

The real star of the health care debate this weekend has been the 2,074-page bill - a physical manifestation of the size and scope of what's at stake as senators consider the overhaul of one-sixth of the nation's economy.

"It's a massive increase in government, as shown by this bill," Mr. Ensign told a reporter off the floor later, spreading his arms wide as if to encompass the stack of papers that comes in at more than a foot tall.

The Senate Health Care Bill and the Stupid Politics of Printing

Wow, over a foot tall! If only there was some way to make it exactly half that tall... Wait, Mr. Ensign, you did print double-sided, right? Because that's not what New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall says:

"You only have print on one side, which isn't even the way we print them up around here. I've had mine printed up on both sides, so I use both sides of the paper. So they've made an attempt here to make it look a lot higher than it is," he said.

Mr. Udall said when the official print of the bill arrives, the type will be much smaller as well, and said at that point it will amount to "an average-size book."

Republicans here are acting like desperate undergraduates trying to meet a page requirement for an essay about the Sociology of the Bicycle: MARGINS: 3.5"; FONT: 25pt; SPACING: 2.999. GRADE: C-

But still, Udall should really just let the GOP throw out their well-insured backs carrying a millstone they so giddily fashioned from printer paper, looped with twine and hung around their own stupid necks. Don't play the printing game; otherwise pretty soon the whole health care debate will descend into a never-ending stream of tricks meant to make the bill bigger or smaller depending on one's political affinity:

TO: All Democratic Senators
FROM: Sen. Tom Udall
SUBJECT: Health Care Bill Printing

Fellow Senators,

As you may know, Republicans are currently unfairly inflating the size of our health care bill via printing only on one side of the page, and using a ridiculously large font. This is such a good and clever idea that we must fight back.

Allow me to introduce Yiskah. Yiskah—who I met through my Au Pair—is skilled in the ancient Turkish art of rice writing. Tomorrow, each of you will be given a copy of the health care bill written on grains of rice, which should fit in a small Ziploc bag. Please display these grains to the media and constituents to reinforce how efficient, healthful and multi-functional our bill is. Shake the bag around a bit. Throw it high into the air to emphasize the compactness of the bill. If need be, cook the rice and feed it to a homeless person. (Photo op!) Just make sure you contact Yiskah for another copy.

Best of Luck,

Tom Udall

Next week: We will read the entire Senate health care bill twice and conduct an in-depth, 20-year cost-benefit analysis of the proposals contained therein.