Krugman looks at Trumpcare

Krugman calculates who should favor this bill.

So, is this bill good for you? Yes, if you meet the following criteria:

1.Your income is more than $200,000 a year
2.You have a job that comes with good health insurance
3.You can’t imagine any circumstances under which you lose that job or income
4.You don’t have any family members or friends who don’t meet those criteria
5.You have zero empathy for anyone else

Let’s see. Do I qualify?

  1. Nope. Not even close.

  2. Yes! Except, of course, that I work in education, which the Trump administration wants to destroy.

  3. Nope. I’ll definitely lose this job inside a decade, when I retire. Or, to look on the bright side, when I die.

  4. Nope. Three kids who are just starting early adulthood.

  5. No, although I suppose I could work on it. I’ve already lost all empathy for Trump voters.

I guess I should be 80% against the bill by those criteria. It’s more like 800%, though.

But we do know the script the Republicans are following.

The set of people who can check all these boxes is not a winning political coalition. But Republican leaders believe that their voters are tribal enough, sufficiently walled off from information, that they’ll ignore the attack on their lives and keep voting R – indeed, that as they lose health care, get hit with crushing out-of-pocket bills, see their friends and neighbors face ruin, they’ll blame it on Democrats.

I wish I were sure that this belief was false.

Remember the good old days of “death panels”?

Those were the days, when Republicans tried to scuttle health care reform by claiming it would be heartless, cruel, bureaucratic, and would kill your grandma. That was their official stance everywhere, that they were paragons of kindness who were concerned about the liberty of citizens, while Democrats were going to callously ration your health care.

At least that pretense has been exposed. The new Republican ‘health care’ plan that isn’t (it’s actually a massive tax cut for rich fuckers that will move money out of the pockets of the poor) has finally been revealed. It features little details like lifetime limits on medical support that the insurance companies love, that doctors and hospitals hate, and that has triggered more protests from disabled people and those with chronic conditions, leading to optics like this: protesters in wheelchairs being hauled away by the police.

This is a bill that is ruthless to the disabled and poor, and, I would add as I look at the ticking clock bringing me closer to retirement, guts Medicaid, so it also hurts old people. Apparently, I’m supposed to trust that my kids will be rich and support me in my dotage.

Obamacare was flawed because it was a compromise bill. But Trumpcare is flawed because it was written by rich motherfuckers who want to intentionally harm the poor, the elderly, the sick, the needy, or, as they prefer to regard them, the undeserving. There is a fairly straightforward solution to the problem of creating a just society:

In the case of healthcare, the answer to this conundrum is simple: fund the healthcare system not through premiums or deductibles, but instead through progressive taxes, such that nobody is liable to pay more for healthcare than they can afford.

Of course, if you are trying not to reduce inequality, but to exacerbate it, this makes little sense: better to bleed Medicaid, transfuse the cash into the pockets of the rich, and call the whole bloodsucking endeavor an exercise in “freedom.”

Republicans are the party of inequality. At least there are no death panels, though, because they’ve decided that they’ll just let everyone who isn’t rich die, no review needed.

Republicans win another one

So Ossoff was defeated by Handel in Georgia’s 6th congressional district. Are you getting tired of this? I’m getting tired of this.

Karen Handel is simply a terrible human being, and she wasn’t shy about broadcasting it. She’s a smug conservative Christian who hates gay and trans people, demonstrating once again that the Republicans have a solid base among the bigots. Not only does it not damage her electability among Republicans, but expect the media to tut-tut afterwards about calling the terrible human beings who voted for a terrible human being terrible human beings. And hey, it seems appealing to bigotry is a great way to get out the vote.

The Democrats, as usual, followed their standard strategy: find an upper middle class centrist, typically a white man in a nice suit, and give them lots of money and demand that they follow a cautious, inoffensive, and ultimately uninspiring path. Triangulate tactically to put up the Least Worst Candidate. That simply doesn’t work when you’re dealing with the Bold Candidate from Hell. Shouldn’t we have learned our lesson from Trump?

How about if instead we drew on our base? More black grandmothers who are fed up at seeing their sons shot or thrown into prison. More middle class labor workers who are smart enough to see through the lies of management. Remember the Carrier air conditioning deal? Trump knew that whatever happened would be to the advantage of the people who owned the company, not the workers, and he just lied. If you’re going to promote a white man in a suit, at least make sure it’s one who is willing to align himself with the interests of the working class and the poor, and is willing to say things that antagonize rich donors but might get people to actually turn out and vote.

Oh, well. The bright side of the story is that once again the Republicans have confirmed their solid commitment to evil, with yet another Republican representative who ought to make any decent, humane person sick.

I guess that’s the bright side.

It’s not very reassuring.


Jesus fucking christ. Police dashcam video of the Philando Castile murder has been released, and I made the mistake of watching it. The car is pulled over, the cop explains that he was pulled over for a broken break light, he asks for license and registration, the driver calmly tells him that he carries a gun, and then the cop freaks out and starts yelling and unloads his handgun into the car. Seven shots! It’s horrific.

Later, the murderer is telling his fellow gunmen that Castile had been acting “hinky” and was looking directly into his eyes (truly a criminal act). The only one “hinky” here is the cop, who panics at a traffic stop and slaughters a citizen.

Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted, unbelievably. I hope he’s not working in any position that requires that he be armed anymore — he is a coward unsuited to any stressful situation — and I look forward to the civil suit that should strip him of everything he owns.

Read the statement given by the murder-cop after he killed that man. Would you believe that he was afraid for the little girl in the car, and that he had reason to think Castile might be a stone-cold killer because he was exposing that poor girl to second-hand smoke?

He got off because of that callous kind of lie.

Who are these people?

Fox News recently added another “news” program to their lineup, The Specialists. I’ve never watched it. It’s hosted by the cloddish one from Fox & Friends, Eric Bolling, and two young women I’ve never heard of before, Katherine Timpf and Eboni Williams. None of them have any significant expertise; Bolling is an ex-baseball player, Timpf is a comedian, and Williams is the best qualified of the bunch, with a law degree, and that’s it. This is just a group of opinionated people with opinions, and they get their very own news show on Fox — I think you could probably get a better group of people by going down to a local bar and hiring whatever table is having the loudest argument.

But here’s the real problem: these bozos are chattering about what to do about North Korea, and Bolling has ideas.

Bolling suggested that any threat of military action on the Korean peninsula will prompt China to take action for fear that millions of refugees will cripple the Chinese economy.

No one else is going to help them out, Bolling offered, adding the incentive will be even greater if South Korea builds a freaking wall so all North Korean refugees are forced to flee to China.

Build a wall? Why is that a solution Trumpkins always suggest? As you probably know, there is already the Korean Demilitarized Zone in place, a 250km guarded barrier 4km wide stretching across the entire Korean peninsula, backed by military forces on both sides. Travel between the two countries is already tightly controlled.

But think about this plan: he wants to terrorize the civilian population of North Korea into becoming a weapon used against China. Already awful, you might say, but how does he plan to freak out North Korean civilians?

The Fox News host later said the United States should consider an attack on the DPRK.

Thirty minutes is the lead time between firing that missile in North Korea and Los Angeles, Bolling said. Are you willing to risk Los Angeles?

It may be time for a preemptive strike, he added.

I forgot the other thing Trumpkins suggest: bombs. Walls and bombs. That’s how we’ll solve all of our problems.

I would ask Bolling “are you willing to risk Seoul?”, if I didn’t already suspect he’d cheerfully say “yes!” 25 million people live in the Seoul metropolitan area, and stacked up on the other side of the DMZ is the DPRK artillery, all within range and pointed directly at the city. Where are those refugees going to scurry? How can he be so cavalier about triggering destruction and death and misery to innocents?

And what are we going to do about a news organization that willfully sows dangerous misinformation? Point and laugh, I guess, and let everyone know that they’re a deluded idiot if you watch Fox News.

Like our president.

Can we classify capitalist exploiters as terrorists now?

There has been a terrible fire in London — flames raced up a residence tower, killing 6 and putting about 70 in the hospital. Normally, that would just be local news, but this fire has a horrifying twist: the management company has been receiving warnings from residents about poor fire safety for at least 4 years now. Residents were advised that if there were a fire, they should just sit quietly in their apartments and wait for the fire department to take care of it. Yeah, just sit quietly during this:

It’s the literal personification of the “This is fine” dog.

Really, the management company has been fully aware, and they’ve received incessant complaints, and their response has been to tell everyone to shut up. You can never trust a landlord — this is why we’re supposed to have laws that constrain capitalist excess.

Are we not surprised?

No, we are not. Megyn Kelly left Fox News for good reason — no one of any political stripe deserves sexual harassment — but she was a perfect fit for that network. She became a star at Fox because she embodied the conservative ideals of people like Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, and everything was copacetic between them all on a political plane. Being a victimized women does not make her an ally or an admirable person. Ann Coulter is subject to some of the most scurrilous, rancid attacks by people on the left; that’s wrong, it makes me sympathize a little bit with her on a personal level, but she still holds hateful and odious views for which she should be spurned.

A lot of us were shocked that MSNBC, the so-called ‘liberal’ news network, offered Kelly a job, but I suppose we should recognize the reality that the news networks are unprincipled profit-making establishments that cannot be trusted to pursue truth over dollars. But now Kelly is following the instincts that served her well on Fox and is interviewing Sandy Hook ‘truther’ (about as contemptible a title as you can bestow on anyone), Alex Jones. And she has so little conscience that she could simultaneously promote Jones and host a benefit for the Sandy Hook families (she’s not now, fortunately).

So why are confirmed liars and phonies like Alex Jones and Megyn Kelly and other ghastly serial liars like Jeffrey Lord given a loudspeaker at every opportunity? Yet at the same time others, like Reza Aslan (whose show I despised for its insipid religious apologetics) get fired? How can people be upset at a performance of a Shakespeare play that has someone who looks like Donald Trump cast as Julius Caesar? That’s a serious promotion given to the president, and yes, Julius Caesar gets assassinated, but the whole point of the play is that the assassins get their due, and that murder is a violation of Republican principles.

I’ve come to the conclusion that free speech is an illusion in a world where power puts on the mask of liberty. It’s not free speech when it’s selectively denied and used solely as an excuse to justify hate and the expression of one set of values. It’s not free speech when Nazis think it means they get to slash people’s throats. It’s not free speech when it’s a club used to rationalize trampling on the rights of the oppressed by the privileged.

So I’m not at all surprised when a regressive toady like Megyn Kelly keeps bubbling up to the top. She’s part of the demographic that knows very well how to manipulate the concept of free speech to make lies a virtue.