By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Oh brother, here we go again with the descent of our political discourse into new depths of stupidity.

The latest sorry episode begins with on-stage remarks during the Miss USA pageant Sunday night by the eventual winner, Kara McCullough, who was asked to comment on whether health care was a right or a privilege.

“Definitely a privilege,” she said. “I see first-hand that for one to have health care, you have to have jobs. So therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment that we’re given the opportunity to have health care as well as jobs.”

Kind of vague, but vagueness is no deterrent to the ideologues on all sides who rushed in to make a political issue out of what she might have been saying.

Knee-jerk liberals were horrified that someone would suggest health care isn’t a God-given right.

Knee-jerk conservatives were thrilled that someone has finally said health care has to be paid for, as if we didn’t know that.

Couple this with the recent comment by President Trump’s budget director that we shouldn’t “take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly, and gets diabetes” and you get the drift.

Why is all this so dumb?

Because lack of access to health care leads to bad health and higher costs for everyone, a core issue universal health care is trying to address, along with the issues faced by people who are between jobs.

Our health care problems are complex and tough to fix.

Partisan baby talk triggered by something a beauty queen might or might not have said seems like a poor way to deal with them.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

  1. What’s dumb is asking this sort of questions an an event which is nothing more than soft porn.

    Beauty doesn’t always mean brains.

    At the risk of setting the knees rattling on both sides and in the hive, what is it that actually establishes cradle-to-grave health care as a “right”.

    To my understanding of history and ethics, both religious and societal, only England came close to that sort of “rule” with the expectation that the communities were to take care of their poor. Unfortunately that ultimately translated taking care of them long enough to dump the poor onto the next community in line.

    The Soviet bloc tried that sort of experiment, but we all know what happened to the Communist bloc of countries in eastern Europe. China is trying it now, but I have on reliable authority from medical people who have spent time in that nation that getting care is more like having cheaters at the card tables…there is a lot of violence and not much playin.

    And before Bees jumps on her miniature unicorn and comes after me, I am a firm believer of medicare for all in this country paid for by an appropriate progressive tax system.

    The problem is in shouldering the costs. And as the State of Vermont discovered a couple of years ago, the cost of universal health care can be staggering, staggering to the point of destroying the already decimated middle classes even with confiscatory taxation of the rich.

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