Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Medicare-for-All new tax a lot less than Health Insurance premiums and other costs now!!

Medicare-for-All already clearly tells us how it will be paid for, so it's was disappointing to see the Democratic presidential contenders ganging up on Elizabeth Warren over how we're going to pay for it when it's already obvious. Some of it will be in the payroll tax, FICA.

What Warren's opponents were suggesting was free health insurance, a pathetic and misleading path to take.

Democrats were saying, especially Beto O'Rourke, that a tax would hurt the lower and middle class.
O’Rourke’s campaign took another swipe at Warren. “Beto has been very clear that he will not raise taxes on those who make less than $250,000 a year.
Uh, everyone who earns an income is already paying a tax for Medicare, and the amount being taxed is dependent on income, so the working poor will not be disproportionally hurt.

But even this doesn't preclude exempting - or even including a progressive fractional percentage - to the lower portion of someone's income.

But to suggest it should be free, with no tax increase, is playing right into the "no tax" ridiculousness of Republican politics. Democrats should be better than this.

Some kind of progressive increase to everyone's FICA tax is a whole lot better and dramatically less costly than...

1. Yearly premium increases.

2. Shopping for insurance.

3. Co-Pays and huge Deductibles.

4. Surprise medical bills.

5. Unaffordable drug prices.

6. Denial of coverage.

7. Increasing employee health care premiums.

8. Forming associations to buy group insurance.

9. Union employees renegotiating insurance coverage.

10. Health care Bankruptcy.

11. The growing number of preventable deaths.

12. Out-of-network costs.

13. Drug Testing.

14. Work Requirements.

15. Continuing to support a horribly broken system.

Plus standardizing the cost of every medical procedure nationwide will go a long way to reform the disproportionate price differences we're now seeing, resulting in medical vacations out of the U.S. and hospital consolidation.

PolitiFact also included this rating:

"For people making between $50,000 and $75,000 a year, their taxes are going up about $5,000 because the fact is, they will pay more in new taxes" for Medicare for All. — Former vice president Joe Biden

This is Mostly False. Biden used an unusual level of specificity ... families making between $50,000 and $75,000 per year ... impact of a 4% income tax, plus a 7.5% payroll tax ... This math is problematic on many levels. For one thing, Sanders’ bill 
doesn’t include any financing mechanism at all.

Another problem is that highlighting the potential tax burden of Medicare for All without discussing overall costs is misleading.

NEW STUDY: Medicare-for-All to cost $32 trillion Saving $900 billion Insuring everyone, 32.2 million more people:

The study from the Urban Institute and the Commonwealth Fund found $32.01 trillion in new federal revenue would be needed similar to the one put forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and backed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). 

The flip side is that the study finds the plan would provide large savings to American households, who would no longer have to pay premiums or deductibles for their care, resulting in $886 billion in savings for people over 10 years. The plan would also provide insurance to everyone, reducing the number of uninsured from 32.2 million people to zero, the study found. Proponents like Warren argue that the elimination of premiums and deductibles could balance out the higher taxes.
A few other plans were also studied. Keep in mind, these halfway plans can be made worse by any party opposing universal insurance;
1. A plan that provides a government-run option plus generous government subsidies to help people buy insurance, along the lines of the Biden and Buttigieg plans, would cost $1.3 trillion over 10 years, much less than full-scale Medicare for All. The proposal would reduce the number of uninsured from 32.2 million to 6.6 million people. That proposal would not eliminate premiums and deductibles, though.

2. The study also examined a single-payer “lite” proposal, that would provide less benefits and require some out-of-pocket costs from enrollees, while also not covering people in the country illegally. That scaled-back plan would cost $15.6 trillion over 10 years, about half of the full-scale plan, while providing insurance to everyone in the country legally.
The “lite” proposal would also reduce total U.S. spending on health care by about 6 percent, thanks to lower payments to doctors and hospitals, while the full-scale single-payer proposal would increase total U.S. health care spending by about 20 percent, due in large part to more people gaining coverage and using health care.

Trump's "Winning?" No Coincidence, State Voter Purges used to ensure "Win."

I couldn't help but notice an incredible similarity between these two stories. 

First, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as many as 234,000 voters could be purged next month in Wisconsin if GOP lawsuit mill Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty get their way:

A conservative group (WILL) is seeking to quickly remove thousands of people from the voting rolls who election officials believe have moved. If the voters do not act, their voter registrations will be suspended after April 2021

Three Wisconsin residents represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed a complaint with Wis. Election Commission Wednesday demanding that the commission suspend the registrations of voters who do not respond to the letters by next month.

The question over how to treat as many as 234,000 voters comes as Wisconsin emerges as one of the most heavily contested states in next year's presidential election.
 Second, from the NYT, a similar number of voters, 235,000, being purged in Ohio...:
The state of Ohio had released names of 235,000 voters it planned to purge from voter rolls in September. Ms. Miller, director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, believed thousands of voters were about to be wrongly removed. She went online and discovered that her name had also been flagged as an inactive voter.“I voted three times last year,” said Ms. Miller. “I don’t think we have any idea how many other individuals this has happened to.”

The groups said they found the list was riddled with errors. The result: Around 40,000 people, nearly one in five names on the list, shouldn’t have been on it, the state determined.

And voting rights groups found — around 20,000 people — who had been marked to be purged because of inactivity in future election cycles, but were actually active voters in previous Ohio elections. These voters were in Franklin County, a Democratic stronghold in the state.
Ohio's sec. of state Frank LaRose doesn't see a problem with inactive voters...
Mr. LaRose. the state’s top election official, has found himself at odds with Republican colleagues in acknowledging there is no evidence that voter fraud has ever been widespread.
GOP Voter Suppression efforts strike Fear into Voters Confidence in Elections: Here's what Republicans hope will happen:
The experience (Ohio purge attempt) has left some voters like Jennifer Kulina-Lanese, a former veterinary professional, shaken. She got a call from the League of Women Voters shortly after it received the list, informing her that the county where she had voted just last year had started the process for her to be purged.

“I still don’t know why, and that’s what’s scary,” said Ms. Kulina-Lanese, who is 45. “The idea that Franklin County was starting a process to remove me was terrifying. I would have shown up to vote, and I don’t know if I would have been denied.”

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Down the Scott Hole Pt 1: Walker's Memory loss on China...

I took a well-deserved break from the Fitzgerald/Vos/Walker/Trump madness, but...found out there's no escape and they never take a break.

Catching up: Here's an older story I forgot to post but is still relevant to Scott Walker's legacy, after making new comments about empty food shelves and socialism that are embarrassing every Wisconsinite:

Scott Walker has revealed who he really is on twitter over and over again; a political hack lacking any self-awareness. At one time, we didn't know for sure, because Walker's handlers shaped a more ambiguous public response to questions. What we've seen from him on Twitter has been shocking and embarrassing for Wisconsin.

Walker's biggest talking point at "WALKERGROUP" relayed this wishful thinking; "Wisconsin had become a beacon for private sector investment that led to prosperity for hard-working families." Seriously? And yet, those same "hard-working families" are still feel left behind, resentful, angry, while still making a minimum wage that hasn't gone up in over 10 years losing 16 percent of their buying power.

So I couldn't let the following twitter thread disappear without documenting it below. Here's the jaw-dropping tweet from a very forgetful Walker, who's not all that smart:

Here's reporter Jud Loundsbury's response:

Here's what real oppression looks like beyond Walker's ironic inability to recognize how "capitalism," and the NBA, took sides with the China for the love of money, and not Hong Kong's protests to protect civil liberties. It gets messy when reality meets up with meaningless GOP talking points...women held in a cell at the U.S. border...: 

But Scott Walker loves China really:

Walker brushed off his party’s concerns about trade with China, downplayed citizens’ worries about outsourcing, and called the country’s trade practices “good and fair.” That governor was Scott Walker—the same governor who, on Tuesday, confused just about everyone by saying Obama should make the Chinese president cancel his upcoming state visit. Same guy.

According to one analysis, the Badger State lost more than 60,000 jobs during his tenure because of the growing Chinese trade deficit and the country’s currency manipulation.

Walker’s 2013-2015 biennial budget proposal included a provision that would have foreign individuals and corporations own unlimited amounts of land in the state, even if they didn’t live there. “[T]here's no question that this would allow the Chinese government to buy a big chunk of land in northwest Wisconsin if it wanted to,” said Republican then-state Senator Dale Schultz at the time, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
Walker's AOC dig Gets Surreal: It's looks like Walker has never had to worry about paying for Tonette's hair salon bill. For some reason, Walker pounced on this...

Conservatives will take any opportunity they can get to rag on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) for being a normal human being. For example, many expressed outrage upon learning that she spent $300 (plus tip) on a haircut and color. The fact that she paid someone a fairly average amount of money for a necessary service sparked fake outrage amongst her haters, who apparently think her criticisms of the rich mean she should not pay skilled workers for their time and talents. One critic, in particular, former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R), took aim at Ocasio-Cortez Saturday.

Monday, October 7, 2019

NMN's Anti-aging magic or science?

Age slowly and silently creeps up on all of us until we start looking and feeling older, but by then, it may be too late...or is it?

I found this fascinating story on NPR and thought a few of us might be willing to at least try reversing the aging process. It can be expensive, meaning it may help wealthy people live longer than the rest of us. But maybe for a few months, we can steal back a few years of our youth:

In short: Better understanding the mechanisms of aging has led to promising treatments to slow, stop and even reverse the symptoms of growing old. And turning back the clock this way isn't just about a longer life span; it's about extending healthy, vital years. Could pills that mimic the positive benefits of exercise, at least in mice, be effective for humans? And what does this portend for the future, if we will all live decades longer? This season of Future You is dedicated to the human body and what capabilities we will have in the coming decades. You can find the latest episodes on YouTube or at

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Ron Johnson gushes Conspiracy Theories, doesn't Trust FBI and CIA, before and now after.

Ron Johnson became Wisconsin's Senator because he didn't understand the Affordable Care Act, and hated a program offering more people access to affordable health insurance. He even said...

And it only got worse from there. In Washington, Johnson's blathering idiocy became the talk of the town:

And then he got reelected...true!

Johnson plays Trump as Victim, says he's "...never seen a president, administration, be sabotaged from the day after the election: Amazing. Let's remind our clueless Dumb Ron Johnson why that's not true either:
1. Here’s John Boehner offering his plans for Obama’s agenda: “We're going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.”

2. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell summed up his plan to National Journal: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

3. Mike Pence, underscored the point with a clip from Patton, showing the general rallying his troops for war against their Nazi enemy: “We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time! We’re going to go through him like crap through a goose!”

4. Even though the economy was in free fall, not one House Republican had voted for the effort to revive it, prompting a wave of punditry about a failed party refusing to help clean up its own mess and dooming itself to irrelevance.

5. Have we forgotten that right when President Obama took office in 2009, the Republican leadership in Congress planned a no-honeymoon strategy of all-out resistance to Obama, even though the country was in an economic meltdown? Then-Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) said that “if [Obama] was for it, we had to be against it.”
So it's mind-bending to hear Dumb Ron Johnson whine about the supposed "attacks" on the grifting Trump family presidency:
Johnson: "I have never in my lifetime seen a president after being elected, not having some measure of well wishes from his opponents; I've never seen a president, administration, be sabotaged from the day after the election; I've never seen no measure of a honeymoon what-so-ever." 
Johnson, chairman of the Senate's Homeland Security committee, rambled from one conspiracy theory to another (just like every Trump cultist), and admitted he doesn't trust the CIA or the FBI.
Johnson: "No, I don't — absolutely not. No, and I didn't trust them back then."

So, Nothing like this ever happened under Obama? Trump Investigations plays into GOP Victim-Hood: Here's just a quick reminder below. Note: Remember Trump's own attempts to seek out Obama's birth certificate to prove he was not a U.S. citizen and a secret Muslin:
MSNBC: Republicans made aggressive use of their investigative powers ... matters involving Hillary Clinton, her use of email as secretary of state, her conduct of foreign policy and the Clinton Foundation ... House Republicans unleashed a barrage of subpoenas ... a half dozen GOP-led House committees conducted protracted investigations of the 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya ... investigations of the 2009-2011 Operation Fast and Furious episode – a botched initiative against drug cartels that ended up putting guns in the hands of murderers ... investigations into the IRS's treatment of conservatives, and his administration’s loan guarantee to the failed solar-panel startup, Solyndra. And much more.
Who can forget Johnson's imagined "secret society?" 

Or this Johnson gem:

Ron Johnson now has his eye on the governorship in Wisconsin. Just a little advice to anyone thinking about moving to a state who's economy is held hostage by the gerrymandered Republican Party determined to not change a thing because after 8 years of control, everything is perfect now; DON'T. 

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Trump/Perdue not that into Farmers...

UPDATE 10/7: I think farmers have had enough, maybe, I hope anyway...
1. “I went to Madison feeling financially scared and emotionally depressed but hopeful,” said Paul Adams, who runs a 500-cow organic dairy near Eleva, WI."I came home feeling financially scared, emotionally depressed, unwanted, and unneeded.”

2. Brittany Olson left her Barron County farm at 2am to make the trip to Expo and hear Perdue speak. “To go through the effort to see the USDA secretary, only for him to say that small farms like ours likely have no future made me feel like little more than a peasant in a system of modern-day feudalism,” Olson said.

3. “To me, it really drew a line in the sand on just where this administration stands,” said Chippewa County dairy farmer George Polzin.
Danielle Erdvick summed it up this way in the story:
But I sense a fire growing in the belly of the family farmers I meet in my work with Farmers Union. Farmers are weary. But there’s a growing flicker that’s starting to feed a change in the narrative. No more will they be spoon-fed a top-down vision for rural America. Instead, I see a drive for a farmscape where fair prices, local food systems, clean water, and land conservation are at the heart of farm policy. How can we achieve it? It’ll take actually enforcing America’s antitrust laws and holding corporations accountable when they try to monopolize an industry. It’ll mean addressing market manipulation. It’ll mean not raising our hackles, as farmers and ag groups, every time someone wants to talk about clean water or livestock siting. It’ll mean continuing to adopt regenerative practices and thinking outside the box so we’re protecting our natural resources for our children and grandchildren.

Farmers will never stop voting for Republicans. Sadly, GOP promises of "small government" simply mean they don't really have to do anything for their constituents, and deregulation is anything that basically leaves them alone.

Tariff War is not Their Fight: It seems farmers are okay sacrificing their livelihoods for big corporate interests seeking intellectual rights and protections. 

And then the last shoe dropped; Ag Sec. Sonny Perdue told us what big corporate Republican politicians were really thinking about family farmers:

Perdue told reporters that he doesn’t know if the family dairy farm can survive as the industry moves toward a factory farm model ... “In America, the big get bigger and the small go out. I don’t think in America we, for any small business, we have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability.”
A few farmers suddenly realized what was really going on...
Jerry Volenec, a fifth-generation Wisconsin dairy farmer with 330 cows, left the Perdue event feeling discouraged about his future. “What I heard today from the secretary of agriculture is there’s no place for me. Can I get some support from my state and federal government?"

Darin Von Ruden, president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union and a third-generation dairy farmer who runs a 50-cow organic farm (said) getting bigger at the expense of smaller operations like his is “not a good way to go.  Do we want one corporation owning all the food in our country?” 
Democrats, Governor Tony Evers backs Family Farms, despite never getting their vote, but after Sonny Perdue's comment, even our laid back Gov. had to say something:

"Are they struggling? Absolutely. But I think at the end of the day we need to get behind them rather than saying, ah maybe you should go larger. I, frankly, resent that the Department of Agriculture secretary from the federal government came in and kind of lambasted them."
But don't take Evers word for it, here's a comment made at the Minnesota Farmfest about CAFO's. Note: Why were visa's for dairy labor ever determined to be seasonal and not year around?:

Trump Piled on First: Remember this...
Wisconsin dairy farmers are still feeling the sting of Trump's visit to Milwaukee in July, where the president downplayed the suffocation felt by farmers here because of Trump's own tariffs.

Trump: "Some of the farmers are doing well. ... We're over the hump. We're doing really well."
Farmer Response...:
"If he's saying farmers are over the hump, he would be badly mistaken," said Darin Von Ruden, a third generation dairy farmer. "In order to get over the hump we need to stop losing dairy farms."
From PBS's Market to Market: Trump's says farmers are happy...

Farmers are slamming Trump's $28 billion farm bailout — more than double Obama's 2009 payment to automakers — as a 'Band-Aid'.
Perdue editorial doesn't repair Damage: Nope, his word salad backtrack to obscure how he really feels, is a little late. In fact, Perdue reminds farmers how this whole problem was really Trump creation:
Purdue: "President Donald Trump has made it his mission to support American agriculture and negotiate better trade deals so our productive farmers can sell their bounty around the globe."
And don't forget how Scott Walker pushed oversupply in the dairy industry.

Here's what one farmer, "a great patriot," really thinks about Trump:

In Gays Mills, WI, over production and large dairy farms are locking many out of getting into farming. From WPT's Portraits from Rural Wisconsin: