Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

A little bit about our supreme court and corporate power

In case you did not see this, it is my Senator’s opening comments at the Gorsuch hearings.  He sums up just what a 5/4 split court has been doing.

 

This is his discussion on Cspan about his book: Captured: The Corporate Infiltration of American Democracy

 

Tags: , , , Comments (19) | |

Dead Men Walking: a Handy Post Republican Debate Metric

I didn’t watch the debate but still managed to develop a resulting measure to divide the live and the dead. Take if for what it is worth or treat this as an Open Thread on all things Political.

If after last night you are still polling behind Hibernating Ben Carson you are more the Limping Dead than Walking Dead. Meaning Kasich, Bush and maybe Christie need to get out of this before their decaying flesh starts stinking out the joint.

As to the JV Table. Huckabee and Santorum need at least a third place in Iowa to avoid being laughed out of anything but a future Fox Gig. Fiorina needs at least a fourth place somewhere to avoid immediate relegation to the Veepstakes. I don’t see any of that happening. There are maybe four tickets out of New Hampshire with the fourth one being for a seat in the Second Class coach. And Bush, Kasich and Christie will be scrapping for that one.

What does all this mean for Dozing Dr. Carson? Who knows? Don’t wake him up and spoil the dream.

Did I say Open Thread? Meant to.

Tags: , Comments (3) | |

Trump Trapped: RNC Snagged

I’ll make this short and then turn it over to you all.

As long as Trump is polling in the top 2 or 3 in early States he can’t drop out and the RNC can’t force or even encourage him to drop out. After all he is “Winning” by the only measure that matters this cycle. In past cycles maybe there were only three or four tickets out of Iowa, two or three out of New Hampshire, and only one or two out of South Carolina. And most of that was driven by money, if you didn’t have one of those early tickets it dried up. But this cycle not only is money not necessarily the screen that it used to be (you being one Fries, an Adelson or a fifth of two Kochs from having cash for the distance), it wouldn’t operate anyway if you actually have one of those top two tickets.

As of now Trump is Trapped. By success. Or more precisely by successful excess. And I don’t see any mechanism by which the Republican Party can chase him away. After all I saw polls today that had him leading both nationally and in North Carolina. How much of a loser do you have to be to quit while you are on top?

Tags: , , , Comments (14) | |

Republican Dilemma on ACA: the Good Parts Take Money

This will be short and sweet, consider it a Health Care Open Thread.

‘Repeal and Replace’ is a pipe dream. Because all the good parts of ACA including guaranteed issue, coverage of pre-existing conditions and inclusions of young people on their parents’ policy actually cost money. At least up front. Which has to come from somewhere. And that ‘where’ tends to come from the pockets of Republican leaning constituencies including medical equipment manufacturers, insurance companies, and medical providers generally. For example a huge part of projected ACA savings comes from reduction of payments for Medicare Advantage, originally billed as a way to leverage the ‘efficiency’ of private (and profit making) economic entities to public ones. Which efficiency calculation has proved problematic even before you calculate the ‘profit’ thingee. With the result that Medicare reimburses Medicare Advantage providing insurance companies with a 14% surcharge over traditional Medicare. Or I should say “reimbursed”, because most of the much ballyhooed “cuts” to Medicare trumpeted by Republicans have come from elimination of the surcharge. Itself rather problematic given that there seems to be no evidence of actual “efficiencies” in MA.

Republicans have no answer for this dilemna. Just about every specific item they oppose about ACA serves as an offset to the increased costs of guaranteed issue and coverage of pre-exisitng conditions. Including their so-called ‘death panels’ which after all are simply cost-benefit analyses of current provision of medical care. Or the same thing that private corporations spend millions on hiring consultants to address. Because when it comes right down to it ‘efficiency’ in the private corporative sense boils down to cost controls.

As a result Republicans are flailing. Their ‘solutions’ such as they are, including cross state border insurance sales and tort reform do little to nothing to having negative consequences on the actual provision of medical care to end-users (aka ‘patients’) but instead reduce burdens on insurance company and provider bottom lines. The same for repeal of the medical device tax and employer mandates and individual mandates. All increase cost while providing bubkis on the ‘available’ and ‘affordable’ fronts.

Those of us who followed health care reform on a daily basis back in 2009 saw that it was at times the rawest form of legislative sausage making. In order to enjoy the nice juiciness of the Bratwurst of Affordable Health Care you had to stomach the knowledge of the nasty bits that actually saved money on the price of the resulting Sausage Dog. And Republicans have no recipe to provide that same Red Hot that doesn’t decrease the quality or increase the sawdust component.

Hoisted by their own Weinar, err Petard.

Tags: , , , Comments (69) | |