The so-called raging success and/or failure, depending on who you ask, of the Affordable Care Act passed by President Barack Obama is often stated as such without question in right-leaning and left-leaning echo chambers of the politisphere. The right has deemed it as a colossal deficiency or a strain on the United States, while the left has deemed it a progressive triumph for the very same country.
It goes without saying that all government operations have their fair share of faults, but the Affordable Care Act included a section beyond the normal text and into the fine print that, when implemented correctly, achieved what it set out for, but caused a reaction that any intellectual could have foreseen from a mile away.
The HospitalReadmission Reduction Program portion of our country’s healthcare alteration allowed the government to levy penalties on companies offering Obamacare policies who’s readmission rates soared after the passing of the ACA. A patient who is readmitted, classified as someone who is granted assistance within 30 days of the previous discharge of that very same hospital, will be denied service.
If the service is not denied and the company performs the necessary treatment, the federal government penalized said companies to an unaffordable degree. In just one year after the passing of this amendment, the New York City Presbyterian Hospital lost$1 million after readmitting patients with heart attacks, congestive heart failure, and lung infections.
This particular example is indicative of the ACA hitting the bull’s eye of the wrong target. While readmission rates have decreased, a clear correlation of mortality rates of citizens relying on Obamacare has increased at a troubling rate. Post-discharged patients with pneumonia and heart failure mortality rates steadily increased in the cited investigation monitoring patients over periods of time after admission. Death rates of those who were denied service raised “0.27% from period 1 to period 2”, then “0.49% from period 2 to period 3”, and finally “0.52% from period 3 to period 4”.
This is not to dismiss the successes of Obamacare, as to do so would be ignorant and refusing to acknowledge that the DNC has done something noteworthy in the past 5 years since the ACA’s passing. The uninsured rate declined from 17.3% in 2013 to 10.8% midway through the year of 2016, reported by a Gallup study. The decrease in the previously stated statistic rations out to roughly one million more people insured that the top 3 cities in the US combined (NYC, Los Angeles, and Chicago). However, with that being said, nothing is ever perfect, most certainly when it comes to government-run entities and programs. When the effects of such mishap result in easily-preventable deaths, feedback and outcry of the public is necessary to demand change in Washington.
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Hearings, dialogue and debate are, or at least should be, means to an end in a functioning democratic society. Unfortunately, they’re too often ends unto themselves. Promising to study a problem or hold a hearing “to look into it” is what politicians do to make it appear as though they’re interested without ever having to risk their necks by endorsing a particular idea.
So when likely incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced plans to bring back a select committee on climate change that had been disbanded by the previous Republican majority, it was reasonable for some of the incoming freshmen Democrats to question its real purpose. If committee hearings are going to be held, they’re insisting the hearings be about meaningful climate legislation instead of even more learned testimony on science that’s was settled long ago. As Evan Weber of the Sunrise Movement put it to Politico, “We’ve been talking about the science for the past two decades.”
The incoming Democratic House majority will find it tempting to spend much of the next two years doing little more than poring over Donald Trump’s tax returns, which they will presumably issue a subpoena for early next year. Likewise, the current administration’s cabinet is full of individuals as venal as their chief. It will certainly be refreshing to finally see them all held accountable for their misconduct.
That said, governments don’t build and retain confidence among their citizens merely by diligently investigating corruption. People have proven over and over again that they are willing to tolerate a great deal of unethical behavior in their leaders if, in exchange, they feel they are receiving a reasonable degree of economic and physical security, or even just listened to.
The GOP has mastered the art of creating the illusion that people are getting something in return when they vote for them. Whether it’s so-called “tax relief” or protecting jobs by getting tough on immigration, the Republican Party has consistently been able to convince a significant number of Americans it’s looking out for them even as it stabs them in the back. The antidote to their misleading and often dangerous rhetoric isn’t hearings; it’s direct positive action that translates into real change people can actually see and feel in their lives.
The leadership of the Democratic Party would be wise, therefore, to embrace incoming Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s call for the creation of a select committee that instead of just talking about climate change is charged with drafting legislation to do something about it. She is calling it the “Select Committee on a Green New Deal”.
The select committee shall have authority to develop a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “Plan for a Green New Deal” or the “Plan”) for the transition of the United States economy to become carbon neutral and to significantly draw down and capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality. ~ Section 2 A(i) of the Draft Text for Proposed Addendum to House Rules for 116TH Congress of The United States
Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution is similar in its approach, if not yet in its level of detail, to Canada’s Leap Manifesto. That document translates the progressive principles that emerged from the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s into concrete proposals aimed at achieving both equality and sustainability.
We want a universal program to build energy efficient homes, and retrofit existing housing, ensuring that the lowest income communities and neighbourhoods will benefit first and receive job training and opportunities that reduce poverty over the long term…We declare that “austerity” — which has systematically attacked low-carbon sectors like education and healthcare, while starving public transit and forcing reckless energy privatizations — is a fossilized form of thinking that has become a threat to life on earth.~ Leap Manifesto (Emphasis included in original)
I had the privilege of working as a DNC organizer for three years. I was hired as part of Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy following his election as Chair of the DNC in 2005. Dean’s vision for party-building paid off in 2006 when the Democrats took back Congress, and again in 2008 when Barack Obama won the presidency.
However, the organizing effort that arose from John Kerry’s defeat in 2004 took place in the context of growing opposition to the war in Iraq and a Democratic Party galvanized against the domestic policies of George W. Bush. Then as now, opposition was the driving unifying force on the left. The failure to clearly and consistently articulate what it was for quickly came back to haunt it in 2010.
Yes, there was the passage of Obamacare in 2009, but Democrats have traveled so far from the eloquence and clarity of leaders like JFK and RFK that even when debating universal healthcare they sound wonkish and inconsistent. As I learned upon my temporary return to the United States from Canada last year, even under Obamacare, plans with high premiums and deductibles are still the norm. Mandating the purchase of insurance that doesn’t really provide much coverage is a curious policy to emerge from a political party with a base that consistently argues healthcare is a right, not a privilege.
The Green New Deal and Leap Manifesto offer the left a way out of the political wilderness they’ve been wandering in since at least 1980. These initiatives provide something to be for. They can finally transform the left of the 21st century into a movement that wants to say YES! to something.
By uniting both labor and the environmental movement behind an effort that creates good paying jobs while providing the public with clean technologies that improve lives in both rural and urban communities, the Democratic Party could ensure itself decades of majority status not unlike the one it enjoyed from the 1930s through 1994. It seems like the obvious choice for them to make. So what’s taking Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Leadership so long?
The Republican party is ruining America. It’s time for the GOP to go the way of the dinosaur or endorse Joe Biden. In my past, I have actually been a Republican myself. At the age of 21, I started a local tea party chapter and volunteered with my local GOP central committee. I gave speeches to hundreds of Republicans, pumping them up to fight for smaller government and more freedom. In fact, I even ran for state assembly in California as a Republican.
I was an above average GOP solder. I would get mad when someone “disrespected the flag”, pledging my proud allegiance to it. My long-winded conversations with Republican senior citizens often included trading sentences like, “kids in school don’t even do the pledge of allegiance, can you believe what’s happening to the country?” I was that guy who thought that my flag worshiping was superior to another team’s.
Unfortunately for the Republican Party, I paid attention to what they did, not what they said.
The Republican Party and Big Government
Almost all modern Republican officials simply conserve the expanded power of government. The Democrats before put the policies in, and the Republicans do nothing to repeal them. In many cases, they even implement their own additional expansions. Be honest and ask yourself something: What major agencies or legislation have you seen the GOP shut down or repeal? The GOP had the House, Senate, and Presidency with the clear mandate of repealing Oabamcare, but they still haven’t. Why would the GOP not do what they promise? The answer is simple: because they lie. The GOP is not the party of small government; they are the party of rhetoric.
Republican apologists are allowed to have their opinions, but not their own facts. Simply put, Republican administrations in recent history have actually outspent their Democrat rivals. While Carter, Clinton, and Obama increased the national debt by 43%, 32%, and 74%, respectively, the recent Republicans did far worse. In fact, Reagan, H.W. Bush, and W. Bush raised the national debt by 186%, 54%, and 101%. This all adds up to a grand total of 149% and 341%. Of course, neither number is in any way tolerable. However, it is especially despicable that the party of small government raised the debt more than twice as much as Democrats.
The Democrat-Republican Cycle
America! The game Washington is playing with you is simple. Democrats advance a more intrusive and regulatory government while not getting too carried away with spending. Then Republicans, once in power, tend to maintain the size of government (sometimes slowing regulatory growth). But, they do nothing to remove newly established agencies or laws while exploding government spending. When Democrats find themselves back in power, they now have (thanks to Republicans) more money. Thus, they can build new government programs and agencies, furthering control over your life.
Two key factors make this Democrat-Republican cycle possible. First of all, that voters listen to what politicians say, not what they do. The second factor is that voters believe politicians govern according to the rhetoric they espouse. Unfortunately, voters do not pay attention to how politicians govern. Instead, many simply listen to what politicians say and prescribe their economic results to the politicians’ narratives. Because many voters don’t pay attention to details, Republicans can get away with governing like socialists but campaigning like capitalists.
Obama and Republicans
While Obama’s administration was running havoc over the economy, remember, Republicans in Congress passed budgets authorizing all of the abuse and waste. Yes, Obama spent hundreds of billions bailing out Wall Street. But who abandoned free market principles to save the free market system again?
A False Sense of Freedom
Republicans verbally campaign to shrink government and legislate like ardent supporters of big government. As a result, voters never get a chance to experience free market principles in action. Because Republicans are the fake opposition, party voters always experience big government, with or without the brand. Of course, big government will always win when it’s competing against itself.
Republicans are ruining America by tricking voters into attributing controlled-market economic results to free-market capitalism. Constituencies never actually vote for or experience free-market capitalism. Thus, they can never learn the vast differences between it and the two parties’ government-based solutions.
Because of the Republican Party’s fake opposition, voters simply toggle between two parties of controlled markets. The only difference is that Republicans claim to be supporters of capitalism. Is it any wonder that the government continually grows when voters do not have another viable option? Schooling, media, and politicians all teach that the Republicans believe in a free market. How can we expect voters to believe any different? How can we not expect them to misunderstand what a free market really is?
The electoral cycle is eroding a once free and prosperous nation. It unfolds like this: the people vote for Democrats. When their policies fail, the people look for something else. Then, the people vote in Republicans who promise free market solutions. But, the Republicans legislate like Democrats, causing the people to wrongly prescribe the resulting economic failure to free market capitalism. Lastly, the electorate returns to the Democrats to fix the alleged free market inadequacies. Rinse and repeat until the government demands 40% of your income and permanent rent on your home, until they demand that your kids learn their curriculum, until they instill the false belief that without them, society would collapse.
The Republican party is ruining America by promising capitalism and delivering more government. Without a doubt, the great, unspoken truth in politics is that Republicans lie.
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In light of recent events on the border, we have seen many American Democrats attack President Donald Trump. In fact, they have given him much of the blame for separation at the border. However, this policy has been law since Bill Clinton was president. When he signed it into law, there simply was not this much backlash. There was not mass anger when George Bush or Barack Obama enforced it: only when populist Trump did.
Border separation is wrong, but it is illogical to solely blame Trump. Attacks on the president are quite frequent from all sides of the aisle, but there is a particular note of interest in regards to them. Ironically, they never seem to criticize when criticism is due. The best way to look at Trump is objectively. Call out when he is good, call out when he is bad, and hope he does the right thing. But elitists often refuse to do this, and this created Trump and the anti-media populism movement.
Often times, everywhere from the media to college campuses, right populism receives negative attention. Common talking points include the notion that gun rights advocates do not care about children, and that those who want to replace Obamacare do not care about the poor. In many instances, such as these, people use strawman arguments against right populism.
In general, elitists refers to a number of groups. It references the mainstream media, first of all. In general, mainstream media shows considerable bias, thus molding the view of the people from a more elite standpoint. However, it also includes groups such as Antifa, which rarely allows those with differing viewpoints to speak peacefully. Both of these groups, ironically, allowed for Trump to rise.
When Trump came along, he was controversial. His supporters jumped on the train, while the elitists went to war with him. The media called him Fascist and called his supporters neo-nazis. Hillary Clinton even called his supporters deplorable. Whether a fan of Trump or not, it’s clear the coverage was biased. In fact, CNN spent 93% of their Trump-related news coverage in early 2017 on the Russia scandal. Though this is an important issue to cover, many others, such as the Obamacare replacement bill, were not given sufficient coverage because of this.
Does this mean the media shouldn’t ever criticize the president? Obviously not. A free press is key in a major society. But, if the media is going to be so extreme, it shouldn’t be so shocked with the result. Actions have reactions. In this case, elitist media bias created populist backlash. When the government and media appear corrupt, the people will stand against them.
Elitists, in this sense, created their own worst enemy. Though Trump’s lack of professionalism at times is not excusable, it also does not take away from the fact that elitism is what brought the man into office. Populism was due to rise, and Trump is merely the figurehead of the broader movement.
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