Trumpcare in the House

With a 217-213 vote along party lines, the Republican controlled House of Representatives passed its GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act better known as Obamacare.

The bill now goes to the Senate. There it will either be passed, changed, or ignored. Unlike the House where it takes only a majority to pass legislation, the Senate usually needs 60 votes.

And if the passed through the budget  reconciliation process, Republicans can only afford to lose three GOP Senators.

GOP Senator Says He Can’t Support House O’Care Repeal Bill As It Stands

Unlike the House, Senators answer to an entire state. You can’t gerrymander districts to protect seats or dilute minority voting blocks. Senators answer to everybody.

And cutting medical access, because money does equal access, won’t go down well on a state level. and the estimated 14 million people losing insurance/medical access in 2018 will not be happy.

And neither will their friends and families.



Meanwhile in Russia

Today, Russian dissident Denis Voronenkov was assassinated in Kiev. Mr. Voronenkov, a colonel in the Russian Armed Forces and a former member of the Russian Parliament, was an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Mr. Voronenkov planned to testify against former Ukraine President Victor Yanukovych. Mr. Yanukovych, a pro-Russian Putin ally forced into exile since 2014, is being tried in absentia for treason. From at least 2006 until 2012, Mr. Yanukovych employed former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort as a political consultant.

[How Trump adviser Manafort revived his career — and business fortunes — in Ukraine]

There is a point where coincidence ends and conspiracy begins. Not the tinfoil hat type X-Files  conspiracies, but the two interested parties working together to achieve mutual goals.

The Russian government did not want Hilary Clinton to win the 2016 Presidential Election. They didn’t necessarily want Donald Trump to win, but like Bernie Bro voters, the Russians were in the anybody but Hillary camp.

Donald Trump and his supporters wanted to win the 2016 election. That is a “no shit Sherlock” statement true of any campaign, but you do what you need to do to win.  And supporters select candidates based on their interests.

That Paul Manafort, a well established GOP player, supported Donald Trump in 2016 isn’t much a shock. It also isn’t shocking that the Russian Government, who wants anybody but Hillary Clinton to win, would use those connections (and the power of the state) to advance their national interests.

Everything  else that follows is just business.

And that is why business and government shouldn’t mix. Business is about making money and maximizing profits for investors.T here isn’t any ethical long term goal beyond profit.

Government is about enacting policy that benefits it’s citizens. Government doesn’t make a profit. Government works for the security and benefit of all citizens. Government is ethical, or at least it should.

And if you elect a profit driven businessman who then surrounds himself with other profit driven businessmen……….



Medicaid Cuts

If enacted, the Congressional Budget Office estimates over the next 10 years the American Health Care Act will cut $880 billion in federal funds from Medicaid. These cuts would leave up to 24 million people without health insurance over the same time period.

Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid expanded coverage to around 11 million people.

Mr. Trump ran promising repeal and replace the Affordable Car Act with something better. He also promised not to make cuts to Medicaid or Social Security. The American Health Care Act breaks both these promises.

Trumpcare Scare

Monday, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reported that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with the current House Republican plan will result in 14 million Americans losing insurance coverage this year. From there, the numbers just get worse. The estimate projects 21 million Americans will lack insurance in 2020, and 24 million will go without in 2026.

The new House Republican health plan, titled the American Health Care Act, is really just a tax bill. Among other things, it eliminates tax penalties on people who chose not to purchase insurance. It also eliminates taxes currently used to pay for health care subsidies. These cuts are essentially a ten year $600 billion tax cut benefiting the wealthiest Americans.

Mr. Trump campaigned against the Affordable Care Act in 2016. He made a promise saying those who currently had insurance wouldn’t lose it. Mr. Trump made a lot of bullshit promises but, when it comes to health care, people need results. And so far the results are far from pretty.

All politics aside, voting to toss 14 million disadvantaged people off insurance is never good policy. And doing so while dishing out tax breaks for America’s wealthiest is akin to political suicide. I don’t care how favorable 2018 looks for Republicans, the American Health Care Act will obliterate any advantages.

In it’s current form, the American Health Care Act, stands little chance of passing in the Senate. Republicans will eventually pass something. I predict some form of Obamacare-Lite relying on tax write offs that still leave million under-insured. The numbers will be low enough to claim victory and assuage upper-middle class guilt, but will still give huge tax breaks to the ultra-rich and guarantees healthy bottom lines for insurance companies.

Still, the real issue being ignored is governance. Aside from tax cuts, repealing abortion, and deciding where people pee, Republicans believe the free market sorts everything out. They believe these markets yield only positive results,  which is why they despise the social welfare system. And to some extent, they are right.

Capitalism/the free market does reward winners. These market winners get housing, healthcare, and excellent educational opportunities. Markets winners also enjoy access to legislators, who they contribute to/pay to advocate for them. Market winners have laws enacted that ensure they (and their children) remain winners.

And the losers get the leftovers.

Trump Voters Want Welfare

The theme of the 2016 Presidential race is a disenfranchised middle class, fed up with politics as usual, finally turned on the party elites. They elected Donald Trump, an unafraid political outsider who would bring his successful business acumen to the White House. And there may be some truth to that.

However, this race was more than a white middle class uprising.  It was a plea for a welfare state.

Trump supporters want government to save them. They want a welfare/workfare state where their jobs are guaranteed. They want a government that, despite changes in technology and the world economy, protects their way of life.

Trump voters are big government voters. They pay lip service to the free market bullshit spewed at them by FOX News, because they don’t understand what a viable free market is. They don’t understand how capitalism works.

They want the living wage their parents had. They want the house, car, and two-week vacation that once defined working America. But free trade, combined with weakened unions, means you can no longer pay a living wage for “burger flipper” skills.  And now they feel cheated by a “rigged” system.

And so the white middle class turned to the candidate that offered protection. They turned to big government and a welfare state.

Slow the Roll

It has been a slow start to Mr. Trump’s first 100 days. So slow, that Congressional Republicans are starting to worry. New administrations have a very narrow window to accomplish “big” agenda ideas, and the first 100 days set the tone. Despite a blizzard of Executive Orders, Republicans have little to show for their first month.

Mr. Trump has very serious obstacles to his agenda.

First, he doesn’t have a political mandate. Despite his constant bragging about winning the Electoral College, those state wins were razor thin. He also lost the popular vote by almost three million. These reasons, combined with the lowest poll numbers of any president this early in his term, put Mr. Trump in a very precarious position.

Second, Mr. Trump keeps picking stupid fights. He can’t let the slightest perceived insult go. He is petty and vindictive. If he isn’t picking fights with the intelligence community or the judiciary branch, he is whining about Nordstrom’s decision to drop his daughter’s clothing line. This nonsense costs Mr. Trump a non-renewable resource – political capital.

Third, Democrats aren’t motivated to work with him. Progressive Democrats, feeling pressure from their base, have little incentive to work with Mr. Trump. In areas like environmental policy and abortion rights, there is no common ground. They have already been successful in delaying Cabinet nominees.

The truth is Mr. Trump campaigned as a Washington outsider, but he is really a Wall Street Republican. He isn’t a social conservative, which scares family value Republicans. talks a good game, and there is virtually nothing he and Progressives have in common.

The best plan for Democrats is to let Mr. Trump implode and drag Republicans with him in 2020.

Here We Are

To be honest, I had very low expectations for the Trump Administration. I have never met Mr. Trump or watched his television show. I never ate Trump steaks. I never sipped Trump Water. I never drowned my sorrows with Trump Vodka. I scored average on my ACTs, so I didn’t attend Trump University. Still, my expectations were pathetically low.

Despite my complete lack of knowledge about Mr. Trump and his brand, I still thought he was a fucker. I don’t know why. Maybe it was his too perfect hair. Maybe his bombastic attitude. It could be the inherent class envy the poor feels for the rich. Whatever the reason, Mr. Trump always popped high on the fucker scale.

So watching Trump’s three ring shit show pass itself off as a presidential campaign has been particularly annoying. To be fair, there was the scab picking painful satisfaction of watching Mr. Trump crush establishment pricks like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. But that was tempered with the frustration of seeing John Kasich try to establish himself as the adult in the room. But honestly, I believed Mr. Trump to be the least repulsive Republican choice.

Then came what passed for a National Presidential Campaign, Mr. Trump spent an inordinate amount of time defending his pussy grabbing youth indiscretions. Nothing of substance was discussed. People bitched about building a wall to keep job stealing Syrians out of Maine or some shit, and there was plenty of Alt Right free trade bashing NAZI punks yelling Trump, Trump, TRUMP!.

Still, there was balance. When Mrs. Clinton wasn’t explaining her emails or Benghazi, she promised a post sexist, post racist, fuck your glass ceiling you’ve come a long way baby rainbow coalition New World Order. A world where color and gender didn’t matter. Hipsters could finally sip fair trade coffee with like minded trust funders of color. And everyone could make room for more coffee by pissing in gender neutral restrooms.

Then the election came. And just like that, the dream of transgender drinking fountains gave way to Breitbart in the White House. The streets were still damp with liberal tears when Wall Street insiders began visiting Trump Towers. Even Mitt “Theon Greyjoy” Romney got in on the action. And so here we are.

I may try that Trump Vodka after all.