If you were writing a parody of a right-wing nut job announcing for the Senate, you couldn’t do a better job than Congressman Steve Stockman’s actual announcement that he’s primarying John Cornyn in Texas.
Claim the Fed is unconstitutional? Check. Claim the U. N. is going to take away your guns? Check.
Claim John Cornyn is a liberal? Check. WTF? The NationalJournal named Cornyn the second most conservative member of the Senate. John Cornyn is as much a liberal as I am a nuclear physicist.
But Stockman claims Cornyn puts “a Republican bayonet in your back…every day.” He says Cornyn “wakes up every morning and works to make the Senate a more liberal place.” He suggests Cornyn should become a senator from Massachusetts — yeah, he and Elizabeth Warren, two peas in a pod.
His announcement is funny and delusional and sad and scary. When is the fever going to break?
The budget deal worked out by Sen. Patty Murray for the Dems and Congressman Paul Ryan for the GOP doesn’t have an extension of unemployment benefits for the 1.3 million long-term unemployed whose benefits run out on December 28. It’s not as if we’re anywhere near full employment.
The way Obamacare was supposed to work (for those without employer-based or government health care) was that some would get Medicaid under an expanded program, some would get insurance with government subsidies, and some would get insurance without government subsidies.
But when the Supreme Court found Obamacare constitutional, they also held that states didn’t have to expand Medicaid, and right now 25 states (all with GOP govs and/or legislatures) have refused to do so. These red states are also among the poorest and unhealthiest states, places like Alabama and Mississippi.
So about 5 million people can’t get health insurance because they are too poor to qualify for subsidies. Yes, you read that right.
Obamacare has left them in the same sad, sorry place they were before — with health care navigators encouraging them to try free clinics. They should also encourage them to vote.
As the year comes to an end, my husband and I still haven’t met the $4,000 deductible on our health insurance. Since he is a partner in a law firm, we pay both the employer and the employee portion of our health insurance premiums, around $15,000, so you might feel that we wasted all that premium money, that we are health care losers.
Our premiums obviously went to subsidize someone else’s health care, some poor thing who needed cancer treatment or heart surgery. Is that person a winner, because he got more than he paid in?
What about the fact that my house didn’t burn down or that I wasn’t in a car accident, yet I spent a lot on home and auto insurance? Am I loser there too?
Having spent my 62nd year in good health, with the comfort of knowing that if I got very sick, I didn’t have to worry about losing my house and savings, I am feeling very much a winner. I’d rather not be puking my way through chemo or hooked to machines in intensive care with bazillion stitches in my chest.
My insurance premiums bought peace of mind, which to me is worth far more than I spent. For those who don’t care about peace of mind, you can build your house of straw for just $95 under Obamacare.
“The wrong turn we’ve taken in economic policy — our obsession with debt and ‘entitlements,’ when we should have been focused on jobs and opportunity– was of course, driven in part by the power of wealthy vested interest. but it wasn’t just raw power. The fiscal scolds also benefited from a sort of ideological monopoly: for several years you just weren’t considered serious in Washington unless you worshipped at the altar of Simpson and Bowles.
“Now, however, we have the president of the United States breaking ranks, finally sounding like the progressive many of his supporters thought they were backing in 2008. This is going to change the discourse — and, eventually, I believe, actual policy.”
Paul Krugman, “Obama Gets Real,” NYT
It’s been so frustrating to me that during and since the Great Recession, we’ve sacrificed growth by focusing too much on each year’s deficit and the national debt. Of course, deficits were going to spike when unemployment was so high and we were paying out so much more for unemployment benefits, food stamps, Medicaid, etc. and taking in so much less in revenues. But we behaved as if that was not just a temporary circumstance, but our long-term destiny, and thus prolonged and deepened that temporary state, weakening us as a country and cruelly crushing a whole lot of families unnecessarily. Keynes is (still) right, Paul Ryan is wrong, and Ayn Rand was a novelist, not an economist. It’s time for the Prez and the Dems to lead us out of this economic wilderness.