Friday, June 23, 2017

Perhaps They're Right

The Republican Party has dropped all its pretences. With Donald Trump in the White House, they no longer have to pretend that their mission is to protect the little guy. Their mission is to advance the interests of the wealthy. The health care bill that the Senate released yesterday offers incontrovertible proof of that. Paul Krugman writes:

The substance is terrible: tens of millions of people will experience financial distress if this passes, and tens if not hundreds of thousands will die premature deaths, all for the sake of tax cuts for a handful of wealthy people. What’s even more amazing is that Republicans are making almost no effort to justify this massive upward redistribution of income. They’re doing it because they can, because they believe that the tribalism of their voters is strong enough that they will continue to support politicians who are ruining their lives.

The Republican mission has been the same for a long time. But they used to sugar coat their rhetoric with bromides about the common good. No more:

In the past, laws that would take from the poor and working class while giving to the rich came with excuses. Tax cuts, their sponsors declared, would unleash market dynamism and make everyone more prosperous. Deregulation would increase efficiency and lower prices. It was all voodoo; the promises never came true. But at least there was some pretence of working for the common good.

Now we have none of this. This bill does nothing to reduce health care costs. It does nothing to improve the functioning of health insurance markets – in fact, it will send them into death spirals by reducing subsidies and eliminating the individual mandate. There is nothing at all in the bill that will make health care more affordable for those currently having trouble paying for it. And it will gradually squeeze Medicaid, eventually destroying any possibility of insurance for millions.

Never mind that the bill betrays the very people who put them in office. The Republicans believe their base is stupid enough to keep voting for them. Perhaps they're right.



CuJoYYC said...

You misspelled 'believe'.
Corrected: "The Republicans know their base is stupid enough to keep voting for them."

"I'll tell you what's at the bottom of it. If you can convince the lowest whte man that he's better than the best coloured man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."

- Lyndon B. Johnson as said to Bill Moyers.

Anonymous said...

Nice diagnosis, Mr Krugman--are you new around here?

Always, has it been thus.

Owen Gray said...

I take your point that there is a difference between knowing and believing, CuJo -- though believing is correctly spelled. I would argue that modern Republicans believe a lot of things. But they don't know much.

Owen Gray said...

Mr. Krugman has been making this argument for some time, lovingit. And, having a Nobel Prize in Economics under his belt, he possesses some expertise.

Anonymous said...

I guess, Owen, I meant that I did know of his argument--not having read his work.

Owen Gray said...

He teaches at Princeton, lovingit. But, on Mondays and Fridays, he also writes a column for the New York Times.

Lulymay said...

A mere blood test and a short visit with a doctor in Seattle cost a member of my family's health care insurance $600.00! The doctor involved, one he learned of this person being covered by a company's insurance, he was all for ramping up every test he could think of. This for a young, healthy, and active person who merely went for an annual check-up. The offer of every test known to mankind was smartly turned down.

I don't know many folks who could afford those kind of charges for their family or even a single person whose wages are even considered in the "middle" class. Do you?

Pamela Mac Neil said...

I agree with Krugman, that republicans in their support of the interests of the wealthy, have become more brazen.

They have also become more brazen in their use of military force, such as the shooting down of a Syrian jet in the Syrian airspace by which it is illegal for the U.S. to even be there.

Apparently 45k Americans die each year, because they do not have access to health care. In the same way that the U.S. could care less about the people's suffering in the countries they are bombing, so they could care less about the 45k Americans that die for lack of health care!

When the life of your fellow human beings ceases to matter and you are in a position as the U.S. government is, to prevent the deaths of 45k Americans by simply giving them access to health care and you do nothing, then it's fair to say that the U.S. government is responsible for the death of those 45k Americans.

Owen Gray said...

Medicine in the United States has always been for profit, Lulymay. The Republicans want to maximize profits.

Owen Gray said...

That's what critics of the bill are saying, Pam. You can count the costs of this legislation in the number of deaths that didn't have to happen.

John B. said...

Their personal concerns won't be the cause of any more costs once they're dead. It's another win-win.

Steve said...

The Trouble with Kansas Tomas Frank. Voters will go against their own intersets in agiatated enough by invisible mosquitos. Its never going to change because people are generally stupid.

the salamander said...

.. I'm easily confused ..

When did 'trickle down economics'

morph into

'unleash market dynamism'

and can I eat it or drink it or farm it ?
Can I sell the rights to Nestle.. or build upon it?
Can I grab in in my bare hands.. ?

Is it in fact .. yummy in my tummy ?

Owen Gray said...

In the long run, Keynes reminded us that we'll all be dead, John. It's getting from here to there that's the problem.

Owen Gray said...

The morphing occurred when a generation of politicians read Ayn Rand, salamander, and concluded that someone who wrote big, heavy books must be a political philosopher. Armed with her claim that selfishness was a virtue, they set out to conquer the world.

Owen Gray said...

Kansas stands as an egregious example of where all of this leads, Steve. But only a few are paying attention to what has happened there.