Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Medicare for All would cost $32 Trillion over 10 years...LESS than what we're paying now. Pt 2

Note: This is part 2 of Medicare for All (M4A). See part 1 here. 

Medicare for All (M4A), or universal health care, is the one major driving force in the upcoming elections for Democrats. Modern Healthcare (subscription): 
In the House, progressive Washington Democrat Pramila Jayapal founded a Medicare for All caucus to try to hammer out a comprehensive, streamlined platform over the next conference. More than 60 House Democrats have joined Jayapal's group.
I thought the analysis below added a few more interesting points. It’s extremely important to note that none of the arguments presented by this report even mentioned the elephant in the room; saving lives. Odd?

Co-pays and Deductibles: I also believe an income-based office visit fee would help bring down the cost further (not "skin in the game"), somewhere in the range of $1 to $30. The report suggests...
“It would likely lead to a huge spike in overall healthcare utilization because it bans any co-pays or deductibles.”
With that said, check out the list of possibilities:
Libertarian think tank Mercatus Center of George Mason University senior research strategist Charles Blahous alleged that the Medicare for All plan backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders would put the brunt of the proposal's costs on provider pay cuts
1. Reduce provider payments by $384 billion in the first year, and by nearly $660 billion in 2030.

2. The plan could save the United States more than $2 trillion over 10 years in national healthcare spending ... Increase the federal government's costs to nearly $33 trillion above current levels. 
3. “To the extent that the cost of M4A is financed by new payroll taxes, premium collections, or other revenue increases, the net effect on the federal budget deficit would be substantially less."

4. The healthcare system would save billions every year on drug spending … allows the HHS secretary to negotiate prescription drug prices with the manufacturers. 
5. The paper acknowledged that phasing out employer-sponsored health care would translate into a huge increase in taxable wages, as it would free individuals, families, and employers from hefty healthcare spending. States would also no longer have to fund Medicaid, consistently their largest budget item.

6. Benedic Ippolito, a health economist with the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute says (that) while the U.S. health care system does need to grapple with the "right price to pay for health care," how it will impact provider behavior—investments in equipment and buildings, patient access and health outcomes.

7. Blahous cited the CMS' Office of the Actuary's projections that current payments would lead to negative operating margins for nearly half of hospitals by 2040. By 2019, over 80% of hospitals will lose money treating Medicare patients. A dramatic structural change to reimbursement structure could shutter many provider doors. 
The Republicans continue to push health care plans the will cost more money with none of the savings upsides. Anyone think high deductible HSA’s makes sense?
The latest House Republican push to leverage health savings accounts to cut spending on superfluous services … runs counter to (the report) … passed a packet of bills originally projected to cost more than $90 billion to expand use of HSAs. HHS Secretary Alex Azar praised HSAs as a way to lower unnecessary spending, saying that from his own behavior when he had an HSA he was much more cautious about the number and manner of services on which he was willing to spend a limited number of dollars.
That’s called self-rationing, where Americans delay or don’t get the treatments they need, costing them their health, lives, and money.  
But Ippolito said the new paper highlights that single-payer proponents will need to acknowledge the political fight on their hands. "In my time of listening to these single-payer proposals, a lot of emphasis is on administrative savings—they appeal to that because they don't rile up constituencies," he said. "But going after provider payment rates means taking on one of the most well-organized constituencies in domestic policy.”

Monday, July 30, 2018

Medicare for All would cost $32 Trillion over 10 years...LESS than what we're paying now. Pt 1

The price tag for universal health insurance in the U.S. is in, and it comes out to $32 trillion over 10 years. $3.2 trillion a year. Wow, that's crazy, isn't it? It may sound like a lot but that's what we're paying now, even with high deductibles and tens of millions of uninsured. Americans are tired of the uncertainty:

Ya gotta like this too...
The plan could save the United States more than $2 trillion over 10 years in national healthcare spending,

So a national health plan sounds like a better deal because everyone gets covered and everyone as a gigantic group pays a whole lot less.   When you consider a universal single-payer program would 1) cover every single American, eliminating uninsurance and 2) provide much more robust benefits, covering more services than getting covered right now, then it starts to look like a good deal. More people covered. More services covered. Same price, more or less. Medicare for All (M4A) would expand the range of services covered by federal insurance (for example, dental, vision, and hearing benefits).

Mercatus is projecting a $32 trillion increase in federal spending ... In terms of overall health care spending in the United States over the same period, however, they are actually projecting a slight reduction ... the country is going to spend about the same. "Lower spending is driven by lower provider payment rates, drug savings, and administrative cost savings."

A brand-new estimate from the libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center at George Mason University ... (and) the left-leaning Urban Institute came up with the exact same number in 2016.

Conservatives hopped all over the figure. But there are a lot of ways to think about $32 trillion — and one might be that it's actually kind of a bargain. Many Americans still hold real reservations about making Big Government any bigger ... but a closer look at these new estimates reveals "$32 trillion" isn't quite as much as you might think.

The Mercatus Center scholars assume (as the Sanders bill dictates) that hospitals and doctors would be paid at Medicare rates, a cut from private insurance rates but an increase from Medicaid rates ... Still, this seems like a reasonable estimate from a group that we would expect to be pretty skeptical of single payer — and it still looks like kind of a good deal. 

Single-payer supporters are going to have to come up with a persuasive case that, yes, the federal government is going to spend more, but overall spending won't go up. Taxes are going to rise for somebody, but many or even most Americans could end up saving money on their premiums or on out-of-pocket costs.

It could be a winnable case, given evolving attitudes about a person's right to health care. But polling shows many people's opinions on this are still malleable. Persuasion is necessary.
Paul Ryan's Shop-for-Healthcare doesn't Work: Why do we need Medicare for all? Because supposed "patient-centered" free market insurance doesn't work. Here's why:

Shopping for Health Care Simply Doesn’t Work. So What Might? It’s often too complicated. And even when it isn’t, almost no one does it.

A body of research — including randomized studies — shows that people do in fact cut back on care when they have to spend more for it. The problem is that they don’t cut only wasteful care. They also forgo the necessary kind. This, too, is well documented, including with randomized studies.

People don’t know what care they need, which is why they consult doctors. There’s nothing inherently wrong with relying on doctors for medical advice. But it runs counter to the growing trend to encourage people to make their own judgments. 

Some care is elective, and so potentially “shoppable.” Scholars have estimated that as much as 30 or 40 percent of care falls into this category. It includes things like elective joint replacements and routine checkups. And yet very few people shop for this type of care, even when they’re on the hook for the bill. Maybe it’s just too complex. Even when price transparency tools are offered to consumers to make it easier, almost nobody uses those them.

A National Bureau of Economic Research working paper published Monday adds a lot more to the story. Even if 40 percent of health care is shoppable, people are not shopping. What seems likelier to work is doing more to influence what doctors advise.

For example, we could provide physicians with price, quality and distance information for the services they recommend. Leaving decisions to patients, and making them spend more of their own money, doesn’t work.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Walker throws taxpayer funded lifesaver to ACA Marketplaces while readying torpedoes to Sink ObamaCare. You Can't make this stuff Up.

This is so Republican; spend, spend, spend on ACA Marketplaces using taxpayer dollars in the most inefficient way, with no cost controls and no sustainable workable structure.

Gee, thanks Scott for saving us from your own Trump Party's dismantling of the Affordable Care Act? It's another desperate election-year scheme that never would have happened otherwise:
President Trump finally made good on his promise to yank funding from a key set of Obamacare subsidies. The administration would immediately stop supporting the cost-sharing subsidies that reimburse insurers for reducing the deductibles and co-pays of lower-income Obamacare enrollees. Trump has been paying the subsidies on a month-to-month basis, unnerving many insurers.
But Walker Voters are Okay Spending their Tax Money Anyway? So penny-pinching conservative voters are okay spending their tax dollars shoring up the Marketplaces right after their elected politician just tried to destroy them...raising premiums? My head is starting to hurt.
Walker gave Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel permission to join with attorneys general from other states to file a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.
Don't forget, this is another costly rescue, thanks to another Republican created problem that didn't exist before! It would be a mistake not to call this TrumpCare since the ACA is no longer recognizable after GOP "reform." Flip-flopping Walker was against taking federal dollars for Medicaid before he was for taking federal dollars for the Marketplace: 
The Trump’s administration has signed off on Gov. Scott Walker’s $200 million reinsurance plan to lower Obamacare premiums ... consumer costs are expected to go down by 5 percent next year for individuals through the marketplaces established by Obamacare (TRUMPCARE).

Wisconsin taxpayers will spend $34 million on Walker's plan. The remaining $166 million will come from federal taxpayers (that includes Wisconsin taxpayers). Sunday’s announcement gives Walker a chance to tout lowering insurance premiums as he seeks re-election.
...for actually NOT solving a problem he and Trump created? Amazingly, the Journal Sentinel was all too happy to use Walker's own skewed estimates:
According to estimates conducted for the Walker administration, the plan will lower monthly premiums in the state's Obamacare marketplaces to a projected $721 per consumer per month next year. That would be a reduction of more than 5 percent from the monthly fee of $762 now being charged.
Nope! Here's what Trump Republicans ADDED to TrumpCare costs per Congressional District, even with Walker's plan. These are the excess costs. Thank you Scott Walker and Trump:
The Urban Institute’s projections account for individual states’ efforts to stabilize the individual market through reinsurance programs, coverage mandates, and regulation of short-term plans.

 $200 million here, $10 billion there...imagine saving all that with National Health Insurance for all: With state and local government pensions straining and coming up short for retiree health care, not to mention the heavy burden on businesses, piecemeal health insurance needs one single universal plan. And how about veterans? We could take this off the table as well..:
Politico: Trump signed into law an updated version called the "VA Mission Act" that took away those specific parameters and made seeing a doctor in the private sector easier for veterans … giving veterans more choice in their health care. The program will then need close to $10 billion for each of the next two years to keep running. Veterans advocacy groups': "We are very concerned that without assurance of sufficient funding, reform and modernization of the VA health care system – which millions of ill and injured veterans rely on – could be delayed or endangered."
Without expanding health care, we could return to this pre-ACA 2013 map of uninsured Wisconsinites:

Or try expanding coverage...because the ACA was working:

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Wages still suck in Walker's Wisconsin, while Madison ranks high in nation for Tech Jobs!!

Angry Wisconsin voters resent being forgotten, and worse, living paycheck to paycheck in what they've been told is a "roaring" economy. That's what voters liked about Trump's campaign rhetoric, as bizarre as it was. He said he'd help those who always say they don't want help...that's so Republican. 

Alternet describes Alissa Quart's view of this from her new book “Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America.”
Today, with their incomes flat or falling, these Americans scramble to maintain a semblance of what their parents enjoyed. Trained to be educators, lawyers, librarians, and accountants, they do work they can’t stand to support families they rarely see. Petrified of being pushed aside by robots, they rankle to see financial titans and tech gurus flaunting their obscene wealth at every turn. Headlines gush of a humming economy, but it doesn’t feel like a party to them ... Their new reality: You will not do as well as your parents. Life is a struggle to keep up. Even if you achieve something, you will live in fear of losing it. America is not your land: it belongs to the ultra-rich.
And there's good reason to worry:

The share of children with higher inflation-adjusted incomes than their parents—declined from around 90 percent for children born in 1940 to just 50 percent for those born in 1984. This seems to have become steadily harder to achieve for those born into middle-class families in particular from 1950 onward.
Scott Walker's War Against the Minimum Wage: While Walker hands out billions of dollars to big business, employee wages are still oddly controlled by "free market" forces. Wisconsin's wages were climbing back up when Walker came in, enacted Act 10 and steered clear of raising the minimum wage:

Walker said $7.25 just fine, thinking he was making a strong case in front of a panel of reporters. More than anything, they were amazed at Walker's surreal interpretation of the statement, "people want the minimum wage increased" You'll laugh, you'll cry...Oh, and I cut out Walker's word salad non-answers:

Scott Walker: "The left claims that they're for American workers and they've just got really lame ideas — things like the minimum wage. Instead of focusing on that, we need to talk about how we get people ... the careers that pay far more than the minimum wage."
So Walker did just that, talked, and never got anyone "far more than the minimum wage."
International Business Times: The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and issued a statement saying: "Governor Walker wants jobs in Wisconsin that pay two or three times the minimum wage.
It's no surprise that what Walker "wants" doesn't help "700,000 state residents making less than $11.36 an hour, the amount needed to keep a family of four out of poverty." Walker held firm to $7.25.

Walker's fanciful "Manufacturing Renaissance" failed until Foxconn. Now Walker's discovered Tech?: Well, better late than never. But no one would be so irresponsible to put all their future state budgets into the Foxconn basket?

In the supposed anti-business Liberal hellhole Madison, they discovered that tech talent "secret" long ago, now see what happened: 
“Tech companies continue to see Madison as a place to tap into quality talent and real estate at costs much lower than in the major national markets,” said Chase Brieman, of CBRE’s Madison office.
1. The Madison area is ranked 3rd, tied with Orange County, California, on a list of 50 metropolitan areas in North America by the Scoring Tech Talent Report issued by CBRE, a major commercial real estate services and investment firm based in Los Angeles.

2. Madison’s tech talent labor force grew 10.6 percentage points faster in 2016 and 2017 than it did from 2014 through 2015.

3. Ottawa, Ontario, and Los Angeles were listed as the top two in rising tech talent.

4. Madison’s tech labor pool has grown 39.5 percent since 2012, second only to Nashville.

5. The Madison area ranks highest in its concentration of millennials26.4 percent — as a portion of the urban population.

6. Madison is No. 2 in educational attainment with 59.6 percent of urban residents age 25 or older holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. Seattle was No. 1.
Walker Finds "No Need, No Reasonable Cause" for Minimum Wage Hike: Remember this now infamous Walker gem:
Under pressure to raise the state's minimum wage, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker confidently declared that there was no need. Low-wage workers had filed a complaint charging that the state's minimum wage -- $7.25 -- did not constitute a "living wage" as mandated by state law. But the Republican governor's administration, after examining the issue, announced on Oct. 6 that it found "no reasonable cause" for the workers' complaint.

The only economic analysis that the administration released in response was one from the Wisconsin Restaurant Association -- a group that lobbies against minimum wage increases. The restaurant association's study argued that a minimum wage increase would harm the state. It did not actually address whether workers can survive on the $7.25 minimum wage. "It's outrageous that Walker's administration only thought to consult the restaurant industry, and not the workers themselves," said Dan Cantor, the national director of Working Families.
The Alissa Quart book "Squeezed" also included the following, as food for thought:
Some are waking up to the fact it is the wealthy and their purchased politicians who have systematically and deliberately stripped them of power. Deprivations like paltry employee rights, inadequate childcare, ridiculously expensive health care, and non-existent retirement security didn’t just happen. Abstract words like deregulation and globalization become concrete: somebody actually did this to you by promoting policies that leave you high and dry. As Quart indicates, understanding this is the first step to a change of consciousness, and her book is part of this shift.

Michelle Goldberg recently announced in the New York Times that “The Millenial Socialists are Coming,” indicating the intense dislike of traditional politics in urban centers. These young people do not think of things like debt-free college or paid family leave as radical: they see it done elsewhere in the world and don’t accept that it can’t be done in America.

Republicans rush to Purge Voter Rolls...

This is what a conservative activist Supreme Court can do in just a few years. Money is speech, corporations have religious rights, gun deregulation, and this...
A key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was designed to protect minority voters from state disenfranchisement, was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013, allowing states to begin making changes affecting voting without first getting federal approval.
Then the US Supreme Court recklessly and mistakenly did this...
In 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court recently approved Ohio's method for purging voters from the rolls. The Obama Justice Department had supported the challengers in the early stages of the court fight, but the Trump administration switched sides and supported the state.
Today? Who could have guessed...oh, not the US Supreme Court who's actions seem strangely removed from reality:

The nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice found that the mostly Southern jurisdictions that had once been required to get changes to voting policies pre-approved by the Justice Department had higher rates of purging than jurisdictions that were not previously subject to pre-clearance. A key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was designed to protect minority voters from state disenfranchisement, was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013, allowing states to begin making changes affecting voting without first getting federal approval.
Under the Trump administration, "the Department of Justice has abdicated its responsibility to protect against bad voter purges. They've actually been encouraging jurisdictions to purge more aggressively."
The latest ruling was that last nail in the voting rights coffin:
In 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court recently approved Ohio's method for purging voters from the rolls. The Obama Justice Department had supported the challengers in the early stages of the court fight, but the Trump administration switched sides and supported the state.
The proof is out there for anyone to see just who Republicans are targeting:

Dissenting Justices pointed out the obvious:
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in one of the Supreme Court’s dissenting opinions, agreed. “As one example, amici point to an investigation that revealed that in Hamilton County, ‘African-American-majority neighborhoods in downtown Cincinnati had 10% of their voters removed due to inactivity’ since 2012, as ‘compared to only 4% of voters in a suburban, majority-white neighborhood,’” Sotomayor wrote, citing a brief from the NAACP.

Justice Stephen Breyer, in a dissent joined by the other liberal justices, said, “Using a registrant’s failure to vote is not a reasonable method for identifying voters whose registrations are likely invalid.” Since people tend not to send confirmation notices back to the government, it is not a reliable way to determine whether someone has moved away, Breyer added. Writing for the dissenters, Justice Stephen Breyer said that the majority had misinterpreted the law. He noted that federal statute does not allow someone to be purged from the rolls "by reason of the person's failure to vote. In my view," added Breyer, "Ohio's program does just that."
Breyer claimed the postcard resulting from not voting violated the intent of the original law since it did not say anything about additional follow-up. 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

TrumpCare sabotage sees Skyrocketing Premium Increases in Wisconsin!

Don't spend it all in one place? Forget that little piece of advice.

Scott Walker's meager tax cut savings will now go straight into the gigantic increase in health insurance premiums coming in 2019, thanks to Trump's attempts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. The ACA has seen so many dramatic changes, that it has rightfully earned the name TrumpCare.

Those changes have affected all insurance premiums in the Marketplaces.
CAP: The Trump administration has worked tirelessly to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The U.S. Congress’ repeal of the individual mandate penalty and actions to expand the availability of skimpy short-term plans are raising premiums for middle-class families. The Trump administration also slashed funding for enrollment assistance by 72 percent and halted payments for risk adjustment, the federal program that discourages plans from avoiding sicker enrollees. Last year, Trump’s decision to end cost-sharing assistance payments resulted in staggering increases in 2018 marketplace premiums.
So how bad is it getting?
Based on rate information to date, the Center for American Progress estimates that an unsubsidized 40-year-old will pay an extra $970 in marketplace premiums on average in 2019 because of the end of the mandate and the expansion of short-term plans.
Here's a breakdown of the Trump Party's reforms resulting in ADDITIONAL premiums increases per Congressional District. Tax credits will soften the blow for those who still qualify:
Further attacks on the marketplaces, such as the Trump administration’s threat to halt risk adjustment payments and slash funding for enrollment assistance programs could force insurers to raise rates yet higher.
These estimates are based on projections by the Urban Institute of 2019 premium increases due to the Trump administration’s decision to allow for short-term junk plans and Congress’ repeal of the individual mandate. The Urban Institute’s projections account for individual states’ efforts to stabilize the individual market through reinsurance programs, coverage mandates, and regulation of short-term plans. To download the tables with the estimated premium increases attributable to ACA sabotage by congressional district, click here.

Trump, Amazon, Bezos and the endless Twitter lies...

This blog post is going to be easy. From Trump tweets about the Post Office to responding twitter comments, it's all right here...a few things first
Gizmodo: The country’s highest office is spewing misinformation for the apparent purpose of perpetuating a petty personal vendetta. So, here’s what you should know:

Amazon collects and pays a shitload of state taxes. Unless you live in Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, or Oregon, you are paying a sales tax whenever you make a purchase on Amazon. It is likely paying tens of millions of dollars in taxes to state and local governments each year. In total, according to its Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Amazon paid $412 million in taxes in 2016 and, according to CNBC, has a provisional tax expense of around $200 million last year. Let’s not forget, Amazon now owns every Whole Foods store in the country, so that’s even more state and local taxes.
Even worse, Trump came up with this wild one...

"Internet Taxes" aside, here's Trump's latest Amazon/Bezos twitter stream of lies, later disproved by a much smarter twitter community. Note: Amazon is already trying to create its own delivery service, which Trump completely missed because he's not really curious and not a big reader:
CNN (fake news): The company wants to help launch small businesses in the United States dedicated to taking its packages on the last step of their journey: from local Amazon sorting centers to the customers who ordered them ... which ships 5 billion packages a year globally. Amazon uses the USPS for an estimated 40% of its last-mile deliveries, paying bulk pricing. Trump has said he thinks it is a bad deal for the government.

Amazon's new "Delivery Service Partners" and their staff members won't be employed by the tech company. The initial $10,000 costs will go to helping them start an independent business that has to begin with at least five delivery vans and ramp up to 20 vans over an undisclosed period of time. It's also setting aside $1 million to specifically recruit and help military veterans become partners. 

Drivers will be full-time workers instead of contractors, and Amazon will require business owners to give them paid time off and other benefits. Amazon would not say if it was requesting a set minimum wage for the drivers. The company has been building up its own fleet of 7,000 of trucks and 40 airplanes to cover the "middle mile" of delivery. They haul goods between shipping centers and bear Amazon logos, but don't show up at customers' doorsteps. At the moment, that step is mostly handled by one of the many third-parties the company works with, such as FedEx (FDX), United Parcel Service (UPS), and the USPS.
Here's Trump:

The Response:

And the Trump base loves him for it....

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Who's the Commie Now...Trump!!! Trump like "Commissar, bribing rural voters hurt by tariffs!!!"

Can't disagree with Ron Johnson over Trump's continued debt digging $12 billion handout to farmers who were hurt by Trump's own tariffs...another costly and reckless self-inflicted wound with no plan B:
JS: Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson ripped the Trump administration's plan ... likening the measure to a Soviet-style economy. 
"This is becoming more and more like a Soviet-type of economy here: Commissars deciding who’s going to be granted waivers, commissars in the administration figuring out how they’re going to sprinkle around benefits."
Johnson's just waking up...
“Time and time again I’ve heard from farmers that they want trade, not aid,. Instead of throwing money at a problem we’ve helped create, the better option is to take action to make it easier for our farmers — and manufacturers —to sell their goods at fair prices to consumers around the world."
Like Scott Walker's $100 Bribe to Voters, Trump Pays Off Farmers: The $12 billion hole is just the start...funny too, Republicans are now supportive of federal taxpayer bailouts, based on their own dreaded "uncertainties," why not? Just in time for the midterm elections. Uncertainties are only bad under the Democrats.

Let the spending begin:
The plan also includes (1.) purchases of surplus agricultural commodities for distribution to food banks. And (2) the government will fund trade promotion to find new export markets for U.S. agricultural products. Asked if he would support the aid to farmers, Sen. Thom Tillis (R., N.C.) said, “I don’t generally like federal bailouts, but if we’re going to have these uncertainties in the agricultural industry…we just have to look at it.”
More naturally, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin wants to help protect farmers from Trump's completely chaotic actions.
WSJ: Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin backed an aid package to farmers. In a letter to top administration officials, she said: 
“I am calling on the Trump administration to develop a plan that would provide immediate support to farmers unfairly hurt by retaliatory tariffs and include a strategy to maintain the strength of agriculture exports.”
George Will wrote this recently, click here.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Democrats have to discover Populist Resentment soon...

There's an unexplainable mental block that keeps Democratic candidates and politicians from learning anything from the past. If Democrats want to win over conservatives and moderates who actually support most of the Democratic party platform anyway, you don't do it by focus on abortion; or promise to kill the Foxconn deal and jobs, instead of promising to negotiate a better deal for taxpayers. Paul Soglin recommends cutting off Foxconn payments to bring them back to the table.

The Politics of Populist Resentment: The politics of resentment plays off the idea that someone is getting something you're not. That's the ugly side of GOP politics. But there's a good side too.

What we haven't seen is a pronounced Democratic move toward "populist resentment" focusing specifically on the class divide; health care, tax cuts, wage disparity, abortion, and the privileged elite. Democrats need to brainstorm ways to reframe every social issue as a class issue. It's not a scheme or a ploy, it's an honest comparison, nothing like the GOP's agenda.

To drum up right-wing resentment, Republicans had to create myths about the Democrats like how they want the government to make all our decisions for us, or replacing capitalism with socialism blah blah blah.

Since the idea is fairly new to me, I didn't have time to come up with a few quick examples. Thankfully, I've found one created by an actual Democratic candidate on the abortion issue. "Resentment" here is defined as "progressive populism:"
In West Virginia, the leader of that state’s teacher strike, Richard Ojeda (oh-JEH-da), is waging a strong campaign to take an open House seat long held by Republicans. Ojeda, a Democratic state senator who voted for Trump himself, is running as an out and out progressive populist

Ojeda is so good that he manages to redefine social issues as class issues. Speaking at a pro-choice rally in Charleston, Ojeda told the crowd that he didn’t really like abortion, but that if it were outlawed, rich women would still get abortions. West Virginians knew exactly what he meant. Indeed, many other supposed social issues, such as pay equity and parental leave, are really class issues if narrated well. Deft Democratic candidates promise hard-pressed voters a better deal on economics, but reflect the views of their districts on hot button social issues.
One more thing...
When Mr. Ojeda graduated from high school, he said he had just three options: “Dig coal, sell dope or join the Army ... I’ve got 13 names on my back of brothers that did not come home,” he told a gathering of teachers and other union members, referring to some of his many tattoos. “They did not die so we could come home and find children struggling, people dying of the opioid crisis and companies and groups greasing people’s pockets.” Ojeda is known for his big personality ... He is George Patton with an Appalachian twang and minus the profanity.
The Economy: Populist resentment can also work well with the countries economic future. Baby Boomers have showered themselves with tax cuts for today, while leaving future generations with a massive bill to pay, despite stagnant wages, increased automation, consolidation, fewer jobs, huge health care costs, a downsized public education system, and crushing student loans that put off home purchases and starting a family. And how will the next generation deal with the now shredded trade policies in a dog eat dog global economy? Our once stable framework is gone now, and the U.S. is on the outside, instead of taking the lead.

Note: There's a certain irony over Scott Walker's Foxconn deal; While it may be a tech company, the deal Republicans made with Foxconn was based on an old 20th-century concept of long-term manufacturing and steady generational employment. That's why it leaves a knot in most peoples stomachs. Industries and jobs are set to change every 10 to 15-year. Without beginning a dialog about a national broadband push to encourage entrepreneurs, converting to green energy, a universal basic income, and national health care, I'm not sure we'll be able to take the shock that comes with a faster-moving global economy.   

Saturday, July 21, 2018

School House Rock's Trump Double Negative....

See it here too....

Walker voters suffer flip-flop whiplash again over latest Trump appeasement!!!

Scott Walker, a master career politician, performed another one of his jaw-dropping flip-flops, this time over Russia and China.

It's not surprising Walker has outright abandoned his strong positions against Hillary Clinton so he could appease party leader Trump. It's as easy as saying, "That’s not in my jurisdiction!”
1. So what about Trump's swooning adoration of Putin?

2. Or Trump denying Russia specifically attacked on our elections?

3. It was wrong for Hillary to want to hit the "reset button" with Putin, while Trump does just that claiming it's better to get along with Putin?

4. Trump, like Putin, talks about breaking up NATO all the time, yet Walker is okay with it now? 
Walker was against Putin before he was for him. This video clip covers that and more, like accusing Clinton of ignoring China's human rights violations, but letting Trump do just that AND create a trade war over intellectual property:
JS: “Hillary Clinton tried to appease Vladimir Putin with a reset button. Sensing weakness, Putin today is redrawing the map of Europe with loaded guns. He is dismembering Ukraine, trying to destroy NATO and threatening to use nuclear weapons.” -Scott Walker, during an August 2015 speech at the Citadel military academy in South Carolina. 

How times have changed...

“Under the @BarackObama @HillaryClinton doctrine Putin has found nothing but mush,” Walker tweeted in September 2015.

Friday, July 20, 2018

60 Year old Endbridge Pipeline across Mackinac ticking Time bomb!!!

I found this video just the other day, and now I'm glad I did. A leaking Endbridge double pipeline through the straight of Mackinac would be an environmental disaster. This pipeline is 60 years old...

Here's the story:

WPR: A new report details more than 2.4 million gallons of oil would be released into Lake Michigan and Lake Huron if a worst-case spill took place on Enbridge Energy's Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.

The single greatest distance of oiled shoreline in one worst-case spill scenario spanned west along the Lower Peninsula of Lake Michigan and Wisconsin, causing an estimated $1.37 billion in damage. The total liability for Enbridge in a worst-case spill could climb to nearly $2 billion when factoring in cleanup costs, lost income and other damages.

Researchers at Michigan Technological University modeled almost 4,400 scenarios. The report includes situations that have little likelihood of taking place, but pose great risks.

National Wildlife Federation spokesman Drew YoungDyke said the report illustrates the danger of having twin pipelines along the lake bed. "There’s 60,000 acres of rare habitat for fish and wildlife that’s threatened and 47 species of concern," he said. "When you look at those numbers and that risk ... that is certainly too much to risk for the marginal benefit that anybody receives from Line 5."

No, Trump does not have a plan or direction, did not write Art of the Deal," and still has no idea what he's doing.

I heard this on NPR. Trump voters are mistaken about his motives, temperament, dealing, and intelligence. You may not sleep after this:

Trump's conversation with "friends?"

Bumbling AG Schimel can't win 20 state ACA lawsuit based on facts!

Bumbling Brad Schimel is your typical Republican Attorney General, leading the way with "bubble world" talking points that take precedence over real-world facts, especially when it comes to health care:
Schimel is leading a 20-state lawsuit aiming to "undo the harmful effects" of Obamacare, according to the state Department of Justice. Schimel filed the suit in February. If Attorney General Brad Schimel is successful in his lawsuit ... Democratic Attorney General candidate Josh Kaul said “That suit is not in the interest of Wisconsinites. It’s wrong.”

Kaul is right of course. Yet Republican AG Brad Schimel considers it a "harmful effect" covering 195,000 more Wisconsinites with healthcare insurance?

195,000 people gained insurance in Wisconsin between 2013 and 2015, which helped bring the uninsured rate down to 5.7%, from 9.4 percent ... a nearly 40% drop

First, it's TrumpCare now! TRUMPCARE: The ACA's changes under Trump have forced even deep red states like Wisconsin to spend even more money to try and save it.
Walker, an avowed opponent of Obamacare, signed a bill into law that will position the state to receive $150 million in federal dollars to help shore up its healthcare marketplace ... set up a $200 million reinsurance fund, 75 percent of which would be paid for by the federal government.
Trump Party Republicans created this problem, a problem Schimel is now...criticizing? Well, thanks for the help. You can't make this stuff up:
“Obamacare causes premiums to rise and coverage to fall, forcing Wisconsin and other states to take extreme, costly measures to protect their citizens’ health and pocketbooks.” Schimel said that Obamacare has ... cost the state jobs. 
AG Dummy Can't Stop Digging...:
"Josh Kaul may not have known this since he was living on the East and West Coasts, but prior to Obamacare, Wisconsin had among the lowest rate of uninsured people in the nation because of a vibrant free market and a successful high risk pool that provided options for those with pre-existing and serious medical conditions," he said in an email.
Wisconsin's low uninsured rated was the result of a Democratic policy allowing BadgerCare coverage for everyone up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). Both Walker and Schimel want to take credit for the resulting Wisconsin ranking on coverage. Nope, can't do that. Walker then cut eligibility in half, from 200 percent to 100 percent, leaving those with no discretionary income to buy into the ACA Exchanges.

Wait, Schimel's concept of "successful high-risk pool's" is pure fantasy. Losing $6.9 million in one year is considered a success?
Wisconsin's high-risk pool insured about 21,000 people, with critics saying high prices kept tens or hundreds of thousands of others from accessing it. Those applying for the program had to wait six months before they were allowed into it and a lifetime cap of $2 million. Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan lost $6.9 million in 2011, roughly a third of which was offset by a federal grant, according to the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau. The same year, programs in the 35 states lost a total of at least $272 million.
The "harmful effects" Schimel trashed Josh Kaul with have numbers and are pictured here, on the left side of the graph. And Schimel is leading a 20 state lawsuit to repeal the ACA with examples like this?

Dumb Ron Johnson on Health Care: "I think it’s probably more of a privilege." And the privileged have health care, as shown below in the light areas. This was what it was like before the Affordable Care Act, the apparent golden age of the uninsured:

Here's the full Johnson quote, where he paraphrases Rand Paul, which is even crazier. Bottom line: Having a right to health care doesn't force doctors into servitude since they'll already have some form of payment system under universal health care. Seriously, does anyone know a doctor who doesn't want to treat patients?  Johnson's take is sick and inhumane, there's no other way to describe it:
“I think it’s probably more of a privilege. Do you consider food a right? Do you consider clothing a right? Do you consider shelter a right? What we have as rights is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Past that point, we have the right to freedom. Past that point everything else is a limited resource that we have to use our opportunities given to us to afford those things.

“Sen. Rand Paul talked about this on the floor of the Senate. He’s a doctor. He said the minute you consider health care a right, well, who’s going to satisfy that right? And those people who have the skills to satisfy that right, what does that make them if they’re forced to provide you with that rightful product or service?”

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Walker and Trump cut education, worry about Labor shortage they created and Access to Affordable "relevant" Education!!!

 It's important to put the following story in context:
Gov. Scott Walker has attended a White House ceremony with President Donald Trump and members of his Cabinet focused on bolstering American workers. President Donald Trump called Gov. Scott Walker "a favorite of mine."
Yes, Walker was a favorite alright:

Democrats seized on Trump calling Walker "a favorite of mine" and noted that Trump had trashed Walker in the past, including when they were both seeking the GOP nomination for president.

But it was the point of the meeting that twisted reality into a pretzel:
Thursday's ceremony was focused on adding jobs and training workers
Jobs without education, a neat Trick: Really, after creating a schooling funding crisis in the U.S., Republicans like Walker and Trump are now worried about the labor shortage they set up for the future? Note: Companies are now returning to the days when they trained their own employees. Who would have thought:
WPR: Trump signed an executive order establishing a new council focusing on creating solutions for the country's most urgent workforce issues. The National Council for the American Worker is to be charged with creating a national strategy for making sure Americans have access to affordable, relevant education and job training, and is supposed to focus on creating solutions for the country's most urgent workforce issues.

The Trump administration initially sought much steeper cuts — totaling $8 billion or 13.5 percent, spending cut to education.

DGA: Governors Mary Fallin (R-OK), Doug Ducey (R-AZ), and Matt Bevin (R-KY) have all slashed funding for education and are largely to blame for the poor conditions

Washington Post: Between 2008 and 2015, the total state per-student funding for grade schools dropped in 29 states, less total school funding per student than they were in 2008, with the sharpest drops coming in Republican-led places such as Arizona, Florida, Alabama and Idaho, according to a study last year by the left-leaning think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Public investment in K-12 schools — crucial for communities to thrive and the U.S. economy to offer broad opportunity — has declined dramatically in a number of states over the last decade. Worse, some of the deepest-cutting states have also cut income tax rates, weakening their main revenue source for supporting schools. These cuts risk undermining schools’ capacity to develop the intelligence and creativity of the next generation of workers and entrepreneurs.
Here are more charts highlighting the GOP record on education:

Trump Cronies take over Social Security's administrative law judges, as standards disappear.

We all have Social Security cards. But Trump just crossed that pesky "Security" part off, with a Trump executive order...I thought Republicans hated executive orders?

Trump is installing deep state right-wing cronies to judge you when you can least afford it:
Washington Post: Do you have a Social Security card? If you do, you should be concerned about how a recent executive order signed by President Trump could affect you. On July 10, the White House released an executive order ending a merit-based system for selecting federal administrative law judges, including those who hear Social Security cases. This is a big switch. (Democrats said) “The executive order will allow the Administration to appoint judges based on politics and nepotism rather than competence.” In other words, this is an under-the-radar White House court-packing plan.
Have an injury? Lose a family member? Then you may think this is a big deal: 
You would face an ALJ if you had a problem with the dollar amount in your Social Security retirement account; if there were a question about who is eligible to receive a deceased person’s benefits; or if, because of a workplace accident, injury or illness, you found yourself unable to work and you applied for disability benefits.

In every instance, you would want to know that the judge hearing your case was both competent and impartial ... you also want a judge who isn’t being pressured to deny your case for political reasons or wasn’t placed in the job because of whom they know rather than what they know. Last year alone, judges who adjudicate Social Security cases conducted 605,483 hearings, according to agency statistics
Standards Trashed by Trump: Thanks to a recent right-wing Supreme Court decision, Trump toadies decided they could use it as an excuse to destroy the SS's impartiality:
Until this month, federal agencies hired ALJ candidates with at least seven years of litigation experience; they are also required to take a six-part examination conducted by the Office of Personnel Management. Now, as a result of the president’s executive order, an agency that wants to employ an ALJ can recruit any attorney regardless of skill or experience. Competence and impartiality apparently are no longer essential; cronyism and political interference will no longer be taboo.

The Supreme Court overturned a decision by an administrative law judge at the SEC on a technicality, arguing that the judge had not been properly appointed.