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Chuck Schumer (D-Goldman Sachs) is awful. Our Leader should not be someone who is to the right of the party on many big issues. Here are five big reasons that you should call your Senator and tell them you don't want Chuck Schumer as leader.

1. ObamaCare. Nancy Pelosi already had to put Schumer in his place for saying that we shouldn't have passed ObamaCare. Schumer was also one of the eight Senate Democrats to seek an enrollment "alternative" to healthcare.gov. Of course, now that 20 million have signed up using healthcare.gov, he looks like a guy trying to undermine the president rather than support him.

2. He's a Wall Street Puppet. It's no secret that Chuck Schumer is practically married to Wall St. Between being one of the architects of the Wall Street bailout and then enabling the dismantling of Dodd Frank, Schumer is everything that liberals stand against economically. Every single economic disappointment that liberals have in past 7 years, from exempting giving away massive estate tax breaks to the rich in the fiscal cliff to gutting the STOCK Act, has Schumer's fingerprints on it. That's not saying that he alone is responsible, obviously. But every time liberals shake that head about something, chances are Schumer was involved.

3. He Supports the Comcast-Time Warner Merger - it's no secret how awful this would be if it were to occur, and Schumer supports it! Why? We don't know, but we do know that his brother is all tied up in the deal. Gross.

4. He wants to privatize debt collection. Did anyone see Jon Oliver's recent take on municipal fines? Well, imagine the IRS doing that. That is what Schumer wants.

5. He undermines Obama's foreign policy. Schumer is staunchly in the corner of AIPAC and is basically calling for war rather than diplomacy with Iran.

6. He slams liberal blogs and takes credit for Elizabeth Warren's rise. This is reason enough for me to not only fight against his race to leadership, but to actually primary this a$$hole. Zephyr Teachout will have all of my support if she chooses to dethrone this clown.  

Vote in the Poll, please.

Poll

Who Should Be Senate Leader for the Democrats?

9%11 votes
38%44 votes
8%10 votes
8%10 votes
34%40 votes

| 115 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

So in case you missed it, CNN put David Duke on the air, because it's important to get both sides of every story, including the Neo-Nazi's side.

What's interesting about Duke's appearance (besides the fact that people forget how polished and politically talented the guy is) is that almost every single one of his arguments about Scalise is an argument that you hear conservatives make:

1. Robert Byrd was also in the KKK!!
2. The NAACP and La Raza are the real racists!!
3. The media are the real racists!!

Regarding the first, and overwhelmingly most popular one, Michael Tomasky does a great job destroying that stupid comparison.

The second argument is too dumb for words. Because it was the NAACP who was lynching white people for 100 years, right???

The third argument is the perennial conservative fall-back. Bad media coverage? It's the media's fault for covering it! I mean, isn't there a black panther standing at a polling station somewhere right now??

If you took the transcript of Duke's interview and had Newt Gingrich, Steve King, or Ted Cruz recite it on TV, no one would even notice anything strange.

That's not a coincidence.

When Scalise said that David Duke's "novelty" had worn off or that he was like Duke without the baggage, he was saying that because conservatives (no matter what they claim) really do support almost all of the same domestic policies as David Duke. In fact, he was the guy who introduced the idea of drug testing welfare recipients, which is quite popular among conservatives.

As Jarvis Debarry points out, if Scalise had openly condemned Duke from the get-go, he probably wouldn't have been elected in the first place.

Personally, I'm beside myself with excitement that the new Congressional majority is getting started with a Neo-Nazi sympathizer among its leadership. Is it bad for America to have people like Scalise leading the country? Of course it is. But the GOP is already FULL of people like Scalise and the policies of Republicans who didn't speak at Neo-Nazi forums are indistinguishable from those of David Duke. At least this way, America will be forced to acknowledge that there are deeply racist elements in the GOP.

So Democrats may as well get some political traction out of it by being able to troll Republicans on Civil Rights issues. Here's hoping that Scalise doesn't resign...

Discuss

Ok, so my click-baity title got you to read, now hear me out.

Think about it. If Scalise resigns his leadership, what good does it do Democrats? Republicans will just replace him with another "Tea-Party" butt-sniffer waiting in line for his turn. As we saw from the immigration debacle before the August recess, Scalise isn't particularly good at his job, unless you think "rebranding Republicans as DREAMer-deporters is a good long-term goal for their party.

Even looking ahead to 2016, he's in a comfortably-gerrymandered seat that Democrats have no chance of winning. And if he resigns, the talk of primarying him will likely die down. But if not, rank and file conservatives are already fuming at Scalise for the Cromnibus. And Rob Maness is said to be itching to run against Scalise, which would be pretty fun to watch another GOP leader go down in a primary.

But by the far the best reason Democrats should hope Scalise remains is so we can point and laugh at him every time he shows up on the teevee. Republicans can squeal all they want about a dead guy who was in the KKK before Lucille Ball was on television. Let em do it. You can't argue with GOPLogic. But every time Scalise shows his face, Democrats can undermine his credibility by reminding people that he sought votes from Neo-Nazis and blamed the liberal media for it instead of apologizing (as Byrd did, for the rest of his life).

Democrats can also use Scalise to troll the shit out of Republicans by demanding a fix to the voting rights act. After all, Scalise was one of the very few state reps who voted AGAINST making MLK Jr Day a state holiday. And that was AFTER he spoke to David Duke's posse.

They can also troll him on immigration. Republicans know they need Latino voters, bad. No one wanted to believe that Cory Gardner voted to deport DREAMers two years ago. But Scalise whipped the votes for the most recent bill. And the fact that he was cozy with white supremacists goes very nicely with that narrative.

Finally, it's the end of the year, and there's nothing in the news cycle. Because Scalise is pretending that he didn't know who the group was, bored reporters will be chasing the story and more shoes are almost certain to drop. Can't wait.

So, join me, in urging conservatives to keep Scalise in leadership. Because something something Robert Byrd. Or something.

Discuss

Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 11:19 AM PST

GOP Rigs The Game

by YeaYouRite

Oh look what's happening in Michigan: http://www.mlive.com/...

That's right, just as I predicted, the GOP legislature is planning on changing the way Michigan, a state the GOP never wins in Presidential races, apportions their electoral votes.

Instead of winner-take-all, they will apportion them "democratically." The Congressional-district approach used in Maine and Nebraska would yield a ridiculous result where a Dem nominee wins by 10pts, but loses MI's electoral votes by 9 to 7.

No, instead, AS I WARNED, Republicans would muddy the waters and split the votes by percentage of popular vote and claim that they are offering a more representative result, even though no Republicans in red states (like Texas) where GOP are in exclusive control are offering half of their state's votes to Democrats.

As I wrote in my piece, national Democrats should be all over this shit like Breitbart on Benghazi. They should hold press conferences daily. They should demand investigations. They should use every tactic in the book to stop it. They should scream bloody murder until the media finally pays attention to it. Because otherwise, the media WILL ignore it.

So everyone needs to do two things:

1. Call your Democratic Congressman, State Rep, Senator.... wherever you live... and
2. Demand that they take immediate action.

If you live in a blue district in a red state, demand that your state rep offer a bill where that state offers half its electoral votes to Democrats... like Texas, Georgia, Utah, Missouri, Indiana, etc... This will point out the hypocrisy.

Democrats should declare all out war on this blatant power-grab and use it as an opportunity to push for a national popular vote.

Otherwise, the path to the presidency in the future will run through winger state reps.

Poll

Have you called one of your representatives yet?

47%9 votes
5%1 votes
26%5 votes
10%2 votes
10%2 votes

| 19 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

When I pointed out that MS Democrats totally screwed up by meddling in the GOP primary, most people here made all kinds of excuses about why Dems did what they did. Most said that the race was un-winnable. But as I pointed out in the original piece, that is wrong. Chris McDaniel (as people now realize) is a WHACK JOB. And Travis Childers was a legit candidate who could have beaten him.

My favorite excuse was from perennial excuse-make, Goldie Taylor who claimed that it was Cochran's long-ties to the African American community which made them turn out for him.  When I pointed out that Cochran has 4% rating from the NAACP, she blocked me.

No, as I said at the time, Democrats voted for Cochran because high-level GOP operatives paid Dem operatives to organize for them. They didn't need much, but they got what they needed.  

And welp, whaddya know! Turns out that I was right! According to the New York Times, defeating Chris McDaniel was the very first big priority for Republicans all over the country! Apparently Republicans had this crazy idea that having a neo-Confederate at the top of the major ticket might get media attention and help Democrats nationwide.

Can't wait to read all the angry comments.

Discuss

When I pointed out the simple fact that Obama delaying executive action on deportations would have no effect on red state races, but might help Udall, everyone here freaked out.

Turns out, I was right! All those red and purple states: Ds lost. Udall, who also faceplanted by refusing to run on Gardner's vote to deport DREAMers, didn't do himself any favors either. But preliminary exit polls show that Gardner got around 35% of the Latino vote, which is about 12% more than Romney got. As of right now while I'm writing this, Gardner is up by 3%. So if more Hispanics had voted or Udall had gotten a higher percentage of them, or both, he would have almost certainly won.

Anyway, Obama and unqualified Dem strategists ensured that thousands more got deported, and got no political benefit out of it!! Great job!

Discuss

So, big, big, huge massive gigantic news out of Kansas.

Taylor's name has been ordered off the ballot. But the court refused to rule on whether or not Democrats must replace him with someone, and you can bet your ass that crazy Kris Kobach is gonna force Dems to replace him.

Enter random dude.

Democrats in Kansas need to start skimming their registration files and find a guy (or girl!) named "Patrick Roberts." My headline is obviously is a little off because a "Patricia Roberts" would work fine if she just shortened it to "Pat," but I'm not changing my headline, so go on and troll me, trolls!

I'm dead serious about this. If  Kobach is gonna force us to put a candidate on the ballot because he wants a no-namer to siphon votes away from real candidates, we should make sure that no-namer is taking votes away from the Republican, not the Democrat.

Please join me.

Any Kansas Democrats reading this? Call your local officials and pitch them the idea!

It's gonna be LOL-tastic.

Discuss

All the Democrats defending Obama's decision to break his promise and not act to halt deportations before the end of the summer are making the same dumb arguments: that we need to win the Senate and and it's only eight weeks and something something Obama plays 10-dimensional chess.

I'm sure the law-abiding families who are in the middle of deportation proceedings are super concerned about Obama's having to endure the "bad optics" of spending two years vetoing insane GOP bills and budgets. Obviously, Obama is the real victim here.

I want a Dem-controlled Senate just like you do, but even the "Obama did this to save red-state Dems" argument doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

It seems like a pretty high percentage of the DK community is suffering from polling-amnesia.  

Not only do a massive majority of Americans support amnesty, but a majority of REPUBLICANS support it. Hell, even 25-40% of the TEA PARTY supports a pathway to citizenship.

Don't believe me? Below is a list of just a few of the dozens of polls from the past 2 years that asked the question:

PRR and Brookings Poll: 51% of Republicans support PTC
CNN Poll: 54% of Southerners support PTC
Fox News Poll: 60% of Republicans support a PTC
AP Poll: 63% of Americans support a PTC
NBC/WSJ Poll: 65% of Americans support a PTC
ABC/WAPO: 56% of Southerners and 44% of conservatives support a PTC
Pew Poll: 61% of Republicans support legal status, and 44% support a PTC
CBS Poll: 77% of Americans support a PTC
PRRI Poll: 53% of Republicans back a PTC

I think the lowest support I could find in the polling among Republicans was low to mid thirties. A majority of Independents support it too, so even in a dark red state, with over 30% of Republicans supporting it and massive majorities of Dems and Independents, that's an easy majority.

There's very little polling on the question in states with tight Senate races, but as you can see from polls above "Southerners" support it, and a lot of the competitive Senate seats are in the South.

Here are some state polls:

Elon University poll: 80% of North Carolina residents support a PTC.
Selzer Poll: 58% of Iowans support a PTC
Also, I think it's common sense that Pathway to Citizenship is supported in Colorado, given Gardner's blatant flip flop on the issue.

Even if you accepted the false premise that amnesty is really unpopular in red states (I've clearly demonstrated that it's not), you have a hard time convincing me that delaying it eight weeks will be any less of a message attack for GOP or that anti-amnesty people will be any less mouth-foamy as a result. At best for Republicans, the issue is a total wash. Swing voters really just don't care that much.

So there you have it.

Obama ensured that thousands more law-abiding families will be torn apart, because...?

Exactly.

Discuss

Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 08:26 AM PDT

Obama Breaks Another Promise

by YeaYouRite

In what is probably the biggest self-inflicted faceplant since "You Can Keep Your Plan", Obama has made a promise and broken that promise, giving the media plenty of soundbites that will be free ammunition for Republicans and piss off liberals and immigration activists... Well done!!

And to all the privileged white democrats defending this move because "blah blah blah GOP Senate takeover blah blah"... go tell that to the law-abiding families who are in deportation proceedings right now. I'm sure they would LOVE to hear about it.

Obama promised to act on immigration using his executory before the end of the summer if Congress didn't act. Well, obviously Congress didn't act, and after countless articles about scaredy-Dems in red states begging him not to, he caved and isn't going to do it until after the election.

This is senseless for a number of reasons:

1. the threat of action after the election isn't going to make Republican voters any less mouth-foamy than acting now. In fact, Republicans can just spend the next 60 days inventing things that Obama MIGHT do rather than having to try to demonize the things he actually did.

2. Swing voters in AR, LA, AK, NC, etc don't care about immigration. They really don't. None of these states are border states. And if even if they do care, please re-read #1.

3. Colorado is full of Latino voters who don't turn out in midterm elections. Latinos are the reason Obama won in 2012. You can bet your ass Cory Gardner is having a pretty awesome day today after this news.

4. Executive actions' effective date is almost always delayed from the time they are signed... so delaying the signing of them when there's only two years left to your presidency... pretty ridiculous.

5. As noted earlier, this is low-hanging fruit for national and local media who want to cut and paste footage of Obama making promises that he couldn't keep ("Keep Your Plan," "Withdrawing From Iraq," and now this).

Listening to red state Democrats is never a good idea. Red state Dems insisted that Obama give people a waiver to keep their shitty health care plans and that actually will likely raise premiums in the coming years.

I defend Obama all the time. But this is indefensible, both politically and in terms of policy.

But hey, look at the bright side! At least we are still deporting thousands of refugee children without providing them legal counsel!

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Continue Reading

At this point, no one needs any refreshers on what's happening in Ferguson, Missouri. But how about what happened to Eric Garner or John Crawford or Ezell Ford or Kajieme Powell?

These are just police killings in the past month, and just people we know about (there's probably more), and only people who've been killed. Many hundreds, if not thousands of others, were beaten or wounded by police this past month. We have names and faces that go with this problem. Police brutality is quite real.

When white people log into their email, I doubt most are seriously worried that the NSA is going to steal their private information and victimize them in some way. Yet if the Internet is to believed, Lord Obama is taking all our freedom away through his super-spy agency and big government.  

On the flip side, when black people walk down the street, they are constantly worried about being hassled or their sons or daughters being brutalized at the hands of unaccountable local government.

We don't have any names or faces of people who've been murdered by the NSA or had their right to vote taken away by the NSA or had their house taken away because of predatory lending practices by the NSA. No one's home has been destroyed by a freak weather-event caused by the NSA. The NSA didn't bust unions or cut funding to the NIH. These are all real problems with real victims.

But even when it comes to supposed victims of NSA spying, the anti-NSA crowd have to reach back all the way to 2005 just to find some people whose communications were intercepted, even though there's no proof any of those individuals were themselves targeted.

And another recent bombshell went totally ignored by the anti-NSAers when we found out that Germany spied on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. Does anyone else remember when Merkel was shocked (SHOCKED I TELL YOU!) to learn that America has a spy agency that does spying-type things on other countries, even its allies? It's almost as if the anti-NSA ranting is one giant exercise in white privilege.

So, why do I bring this up? Am I an NSA supporter? Am I a statist authoritarian who thinks you have no right to privacy? No, as I've stated before, I think we should wind down much of the bulk surveillance, mostly because it's so expensive, but also because of the not-unfounded "slippery-slope" argument.

The reason I bring this up is because so many fire-breathing liberals miss the forest for the trees. Every minute you spend arguing against the NSA is a minute you spent arguing against an existential problem, while there are real problems all around us. Let's prioritize and agree to focus on the real affronts to civil liberties happening in this country first, then worry about the slippery slopes.

Media coverage can dictate policy. Endless media coverage on the NSA got Obama to change certain NSA policies and got the Amash Amendment to almost pass (by next year, it probably will pass).

There has been no legislative action on police militarization or killing of unarmed black men. Why not? Because, until now, liberals have mostly been screaming about bureaucrats destroying our way of life with their metadata and bulk collection.

To those who claim this is a false equivalence or both issues are symptoms of a larger problem of authoritarian government, think of it like this: if we ended bulk collection on Americans tomorrow, there would be no discernible improvement to the conditions in minority communities, or even white communities for that matter.

One problem is pneumonia. The other is a mole which may or may not become malignant down the road, so keep an eye on it. But treat that pneumonia right now because it could kill you.

Another example would be to not to install energy-efficient windows while your house is on fire. I'm not saying "don't worry about the NSA." Intelligent people are perfectly capable of holding two thoughts in their heads at once. I'm simply saying we need to prioritize our problems.  

If you ask black or Latino or Middle Eastern people whether they're more concerned about the NSA or, I don't know, everything else from voting rights to student loans to immigration to police killing their families, I don't need to tell you what answer you're likely to get. People of color don't have the luxury of worrying about big government, because they're too busy being terrorized by local and state government.

Discuss

Since Brian Beutler thinks the public option might make a comeback, I decided to post about something that's irked me for while...

Most of the time, when people think of "the public option," they think of it as just one key part of ObamaCare that died in the negotiation process. But the public option was much more than that. If Democrats had skipped the entire "comprehensive health reform" process and simply expanded Medicare to include a public exchange, they could have obviated the need for most of the complicated and controversial provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

I know what you're thinking: "What the hell is this guy talking about?" But keep reading, and I promise you'll understand by the end. And to be clear, I'm not trying to second-guess the President or Nancy Pelosi or anyone else. Politics is extremely complicated with lots of moving parts, and hindsight is always 20-20. But the fact that you can't change the past isn't a good reason not to reflect how different policies could have achieved similar outcomes. And as far as I know, there was NEVER any mention of the idea of passing a stand-alone public option. It was always mentioned as part of a "comprehensive" package.

Instead of a 1,000-page bill that terrified the country into "ZOMG government takeover of health care" hysteria, Democrats could have accomplished most of the same goals with a ten-page bill and even had an awesome political talking point to go with it: "we are not touching the private insurance market, we are simply offering an option for those who are locked out of it."

Contrary to popular belief, the basic crux of ObamaCare was not "universal coverage." Universal coverage would be single payer, and we can't have that, because what are we, some kinda communist dictatorship like Germany or Canada? And single payer was never gonna happen in 2010. Expanding Medicare would have been much more plausible. The politics of expanding a popular program are much more friendly than telling the country you're going to nuke their health insurance. Anyway, the main point of ObamaCare was not universal coverage, but rather to vastly expand coverage for people who needed or wanted it. That is a key difference.

The government didn't need an individual mandate or an employer mandate or a ban on preexisting conditions or even an 80/20 rule to expand coverage. And they definitely didn't need to expand Medicaid. All they needed to do was set up a "Medicare Public Exchange" in which anyone who wanted a plan could buy one, at a percentage of their income. Low-income people could get one for free, gradually eliminating the need for Medicaid altogether... more on that later.

And no, this wouldn't be some kind of "high risk pool." People predicted that the ObamaCare enrollees would skew older and sicker, and that didn't happen. With a public exchange, a death spiral would be even less likely to happen because the government would be charging much less than for-profit insurance companies, meaning "young healthies" would be even more likely to sign up than they were for ObamaCare.

Let me explain exactly what my "Medicare public option" would have looked like and what it would have accomplished:

The Medicare Public Exchange would:

1) not discriminate based on preexisting conditions or sex.
2) charge you a simple percentage of your income for a plan, because ACA's subsidy formula is a disastrous mess. I have detailed a more breakdown on that below.
3) be an arm of the Medicare program, instead of Medicaid. Medicaid is controlled by the states, which allowed the Supreme Court to gut the expansion, leaving it up to states. The federal government controls Medicare, however, meaning the high court could not have easily gutted it. Furthermore, Medicaid's reimbursement rate is so low that few doctors accept it. But almost everyone accepts Medicare.
4) include a similar "tier" system of bronze, silver, gold, platinum so people can decide how much risk they want to take.

The Medicare Public Exchange would make the following ObamaCare provisions unnecessary:

1) The "Preexisting Conditions" clause

There's no need to force insurance companies to take sick people if the government offers to take sick people. The government, unlike private companies, isn't worried about shareholders or profits. This would have been a formidable talking point ("The government has a responsibility to ALL its citizens" etc) and any claims of "government takeover" could be countered with "this bill doesn't touch the private insurance market."

2) Individual mandate.

The individual mandate was a compromise to insurance companies who knew that many of young healthy people who are necessary to avoiding a death spiral would need a strong push (the "stick") to get them to cough up $200 a month for services they may or may not need. But the public exchange bill wouldn't have touched the private market, making this provision unnecessary and saving Democrats lots of political headaches.

3) The Employer Mandate

Because of all the fear-mongering over the debt, Democrats seemed obsessed with making ACA "deficit neutral" so they included lots of controversial provisions, such as the medical device tax and cuts to Medicare overpayments (although Republicans voted for those same cuts). But one of the dumbest provisions was the employer mandate. You can see the White House fumbling with it every year. Why set up exchanges for people locked out of private insurance and then tell employers that they must provide their employees coverage? It makes no sense. It seems that it was written just as a way to collect more revenue and make the bill the "deficit neutral."

Furthermore, another headache with ObamaCare is that anyone who's offered insurance through their job is ineligible to buy an exchange plan, unless the employer plan has almost no benefits or is obscenely expensive. In many cases, this means employees are stuck in a plan that is still very stingy or moderately expensive. But they have no choice in the matter. If someone wants to deny the insurance their employer provides, and purchase government option, they should be able to do that.

The Medicare Public Exchange would have accepted everyone, even people offered insurance through their job, and made the employer mandate completely unnecessary. (As a side note, employer-provided coverage makes no sense. I don't get homeowners or health insurance through my job, so why health insurance?)

4) The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule is a lesser known provision that forces insurance companies to spend at least 80% of premiums on health care rather than administrative costs and profits. It seems to be working quite well right now, but I believe that the Medicare Public Exchange would have made this provision unnecessary. Public competition would have forced insurance companies to keep their premiums low.

5) HealthCare.Gov Disaster

OK, this isn't a "provision" of the law, but rather a necessary tool to sign people up. But the website was unquestionably the biggest face plant of Obama's tenure. It was completely self-inflicted and avoidable. I could write a whole other piece on how avoidable that problem was... but I digress. The Medicare Public Exchange would still need a website to sign people up, but it wouldn't be nearly as complicated or glitchy.

One thing that really bogged down healthcare.gov was the issue of deadlines. ObamaCare mandates "enrollment periods" so that people don't just buy a health insurance plan after they break their arm or get cancer. We all saw how the rush to buy insurance before the deadlines in December and March led to outages and egregious errors. The Medicare Public Exchange has no individual mandate and thus has no enrollment period or deadlines. They could have rolled out the Medicare Public Exchange state by state, slowly working out the kinks.

Furthermore, because it's so straightforward and easy to understand, the Medicare Public Exchange would have never been named "ObamaCare" and attacked relentlessly, so there wouldn't have been any grand opening day in which political reporters who already have health insurance created accounts on a health website to see how it was working. It would have been completely uneventful and boring.

So...

You may have read all this and said to yourself, this sounds like a really sneaky way to introduce single payer... and you're right! Contrary to what many people think, ObamaCare moved us further away from single payer by moving even more money to the private health insurance industry. Just look at their profits since ObamaCare took effect. This is especially true in states like Arkansas, which has a private Medicaid program (other states like Indiana and Pennsylvania are being even more aggressive in their privatization of Medicaid). The big insurance companies love ObamaCare. That's why more insurers are jumping in this year.

Republicans are constantly badgering us about how the private sector can do everything better than the government. If a Medicare Public Exchange had been set up without any additional regulations on the private market, it would have been amazing to watch Republicans lose their minds as liberals said "OK, we didn't touch your private market, we just set up our own, and people love it."

Of course, Republicans would have said "we can't compete with socialism!" And they're right! Americans love socialized medicine. That's why Medicare is so popular. Medicare has millions of patients, low administrative costs, and doesn't spend any money on million dollar bonuses for executives. Medicare is also seeing its per-beneficiary costs drop, to the dismay of conservatives who want to dismantle it.

To be fair, ObamaCare is also socialism, but the Medicare Public Exchange would have been a much more straight-forward socialism, not a 1,000-page monstrosity full of obscure provisions and typos that can be misconstrued.

Eventually, the Medicare Public Exchange would have accomplished through approximately ten pages almost everything that ObamaCare accomplished, while bringing us closer to single payer and with a fraction of the political headaches. That is why Republicans feared it so much in 2009 and that is why they're trying to kill postal banking now. But unlike USPS having little to no experience providing loans, Medicare is extraordinarily experienced in providing health coverage.

The Medicare Public Exchange wouldn't completely kill the private market though. Wealthy people would still be able to buy supplemental plans, but wealthy Medicare enrollees can already do that! Even countries with full-blown single payer have private companies which sell supplemental plans.  

And the Medicare Public Exchange wouldn't be able to accomplish everything that ObamaCare did. There are some provisions in ObamaCare like the new Medicare readmissions policy which are working great. But that could have been added to the law and would have been very uncontroversial.

And you may be asking, "So in your imaginary world where ObamaCare never passed but the Medicare Public Exchange did, it sounds like private insurance companies can continue shameful practices like having no out-of-pocket max, charging women more, or drastically raising premiums every year." And that would be correct, but that just means that over time, more and more people would quit their private plan and join the Medicare Public Exchange, forcing private insurance companies to either adapt or go out of business. The government is writing the rules without any regulations, just through leading by example. Postal banking could achieve similar results!

So in summary, Democrats could have taken a few weeks and drafted a simple bill which would have accomplished almost everything ObamaCare did with none of the political vulnerabilities.

Would it have passed in 2010? Who knows. Is it too late to try it again if Democrats retake the House in 2016? Probably, given how entrenched ObamaCare is now. But if you're like me and you believe in simple policy which has broad, positive implications and low political risk, then the Medicare Public Option is worth fighting for. Democrats should at least make a strong push to get the Democratic 2016 platform to include a public health option as well as a public banking option.

If you're interested, check below the fold for how I would have simplified the subsidy calculation, which is currently an unholy mess.

Continue Reading

So right after our new favorite regular Fox News contributor Glenn Greenwald got done talking about how awesome Megyn "Santa-Is-Obviously-White" Kelly is, he decided to attack Democrats for attacking Rand Paul's flip flop on aid to Israel.

His tweet can be found here:

The direct quote:

"Here, @TheDemocrats seem to be attacking Rand Paul for the crime of once advocating cuts in aid to Israel"

Um, no, they are not attacking his former position. For once, many Dems actually want to start having a debate about whether we should be funding weapons used to kill children. But if Greenwald did ANY research at all, he would realize that Democrats are attacking the fact that Rand Paul is now denying that he ever held such a position. It's almost as if doing simple research is boring and tedious to Greenwald, which is not surprising given how sloppy much of his Snowden reporting was and how much he prefers to criticize Democrats over Republicans. He could be attacking the hundreds of elected Republicans who attack any mention of cutting aid to Israel as "anti semitism." But instead, he attacks Democrats for doing something they never did.

Greenwald's favorite line that "Democrats liked me more before Obama was sworn in" is certainly true. But that was before he turned into a tired old hack constantly auditioning for a spot in the Fox News lineup. He is no different than Ron Fournier screaming that because both parties hate him, he must be right.

And anyway, since we are talking about people holding positions that they later deny they ever held in the first place, how about a friendly reminder that Greenwald supported the Iraq war and later denied it.

Discuss
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