Letters to the editor

What does ‘radical’ really mean?

I was amused to read that the USC College Republicans’ “teach-in” was entitled “…to Oppose Obama’s Radical Transformation of America.” It seems like USC’s Republicans have a very different idea of “radical” from most of us. President Barack Obama’s health insurance reforms were partially inspired by the policy advocates who inspired Gov. Mitt Romney’s own plan in Massachusetts.

Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist who advised both Obama and Romney on health insurance programs, told the Boston Globe that Romney’s health care reform effort as governor paved the way for national reform.

“[Romney] is in many ways the intellectual father of national health reform,” he said.

Obama’s plan also bears a more than passing resemblance to President Richard Nixon’s reform plan. Add in the fact that Obama took many ideas from a bipartisan Brookings Institution paper on “Bending the Curve” as well as incorporating many GOP ideas from within Congress (even if they didn’t vote for it), and you have to wonder if the term “radical” has lost all meaning.

Notwithstanding the demagoguery of Obama’s desperately needed reform of a broken health insurance system, it seems that Republicans are as “radical” as ever when it comes to their own policy ideas.

When will they realize that cutting taxes only makes deficits worse? And when will they say which entitlements — the bulk of federal spending — they would do away with to balance the budget? Social Security? Medicare?

Americans must either pay for the highways, education, health care and research needed to keep up with a rising China or risk running huge deficits indefinitely. It’s not surprising that Obama has had to spend when the private sector refuses to, but it is also no surprise that the only two presidents to have run surpluses since the World War II have been Democrats.

Unfunded tax cuts to the richest, opposing reforming a broken health insurance system, a mess of a foreign policy and bought and paid for by Wall Street; it wouldn’t be so bad if they were not the ones calling others “radical.”

Simon Radford

Graduate student, politics and international relations

Nothing out of the ordinary about search process

Laura Cueva’s article “Controversy Growing at USC Hospital” casts the efforts of USC University Hospital administrators to collaborate with hospital employees in a very peculiar and pejorative light.

Hiring a consulting firm to try and determine whether it is possible and how to make work conditions sufficiently attractive to employees so that the employees might voluntarily choose to forego a union is not union-busting. It is called providing people with a good place to work. Asking employees about the quality of their work experience with an eye toward a good work environment is just responsible management.

It is nothing nefarious.

Jim Moore

Professor and Chair

Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering

5 replies
  1. Jack
    Jack says:

    Oh man! You guys are hilarious. We need to stop the spending spree!!! But not stop spending a trillion plus dollars on two wars that have killed untold numbers of peoples and don’t seem to be going away!!!

    • Joe
      Joe says:

      Some people think winning wars is an important job of the federal government, even more important than funneling trillions of dollars from the middle class into slush funds to buy votes and pay off Democrat party allies. That’s a philosophy that’s out there. I’m just saying.

  2. Joe
    Joe says:

    Indeed, I think the College Republicans could have named their event better. First of all, it is a negative name, sure to turn off liberals and independents who might have been receptive to hearing a presentation about the GOP message. Second, the term “radical” is not really appropriate for a leftist ideologue who simply wants to repeat the same stupid ideas put forth by every tyrant and dictator from Napoleon to Mussolini to Castro. There’s nothing new and different about Obama’s naked socialism, crass identity politics, and culture of corruption.

    The most radical ideas ever conceived by man are the ones that the American revolutionaries fought and died for: that free men and women with faith in God and the right to do as they pleased with the fruits of their labor would produce more prosperity, peace, and voluntary generosity than any empire or dictatorship ever could. These principles were counter-intuitive: that truth wins when fools are allowed the freedom of speech; that the poor become richer when they don’t rob from their rich neighbors; that self-interested citizens would willingly volunteer to fight for liberty without a draft. The title of the presentation could have just as well been: “Why America’s principles are still the most radical political philosophy on earth… and why Republicans fight for them!”

  3. Diane
    Diane says:

    Simon Radford’s letter repeats the same tired dogma regarding what’s wrong with America, reflecting an ignorance of the broad sweep of history. Wall Street corruption is indisputably tied with the Democratic Party, in point of fact; it is sheer intellectual laziness to put that at the GOP’s feet. That is but one example of the kneejerk anti-GOP sentiment here. Although Simon makes a very few legit points (Obamacare vs Romneycare might be something to debate), the whole argument about which presidents ran surpluses is terribly misleading as it is Congress who SPENDS THE MONEY. And that is where Simon is most disingenuous, because he trots out the old “when are Republicans going to come up with a plan” mantra. Hey dude maybe you should check out Fox News, since they are apparently the only ones reporting on a plethora of Republican plans, including the excellent Ryan Roadmap which is a very very tough but much-needed answer to the question of how are we going to stop this insane spending spree the Democrats are enjoying (while too many GOP have looked the other way). Finally, USC’s College Republicans are not at all far off in calling Obama “radical.” He has radical friends, he espouses radical causes, and he himself wants to radically transform the country. That’s the definition of radical, and they were absolutely correct to characterize him as such. Your letter makes no dent in that argument whatsoever.

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