This press release suggests that serious people continue to take our effort seriously. Granted, it’s taking forever — WheelTug grandparent Borealis is, if nothing else, the perfect stock for those who plan to live forever. But who knows? Television took more than 20 years to commercialize, too, but it caught on. WheelTug might, too.
How could anything with John Hodgman and Al Franken not be amusing? This video explains “net neutrality” in a way that might resonate with those of us who did not get it in the past. A good weekend “watch.”
FOUR(TY THOUSAND) DEAD AMERICANS
As the Republicans launch their fifth Congressional investigation into Benghazi and the talking points attendant thereto . . . with Lindsay Graham and the others constantly talking about four dead Americans as though they would do anything to save American lives (short of upping the appropriation for diplomatic security which might have saved those) . . . it should be noted that in fighting so hard to prevent, and then voting 52 times to repeal, access to affordable health care, they were ignoring forty thousand dead Americans — per year. Roughly ten dozen a day, whom a 2009 study estimated were perishing for lack of health insurance coverage.
Now comes this study crediting Romneycare — which basically IS Obamacare — with saving about 300 lives a year in Massachusetts alone. Three hundred whom Mitt and the Republican Party now regret having given access to health care.
It is bizarre. It is unChristian. And it is simply incorrect to assert that they do want everyone to have access to health care — just in some better way — because when they controlled the White House and both branches of Congress from 2000-2006, they proposed nothing. Except for Mitt, in Massachusetts, whose conservative Heritage Foundation approach they now all decry.
Is it possible that when Republicans say something with enormous certitude, in lockstep, dripping with ridicule . . . they could be wrong?
In 1993, President Clinton’s first budget got not a single Republican vote in the House or the Senate. Not one. Because — said Republican House whip Dick Armey — “The impact on job creation is going to be devastating.” (More than 11 million jobs were created in each of bill Clinton’s two terms — nearly 23 million in all, more than six times as many as under all three Bush terms combined.) And because — said former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich — “The tax increase will…lead to a recession…and will actually increase the deficit.” (There was no recession and the long rise in our Debt as a share of GDP begun by Ronald Reagan in 1981 was finally reversed. Until, that is, the Republicans regained control.)
Said former Republican Senate Finance Committee Chair Bob Packwood: “I will make you this bet. I am willing to risk the mortgage on it…the deficit will be up; unemployment will be up; in my judgment, inflation will be up.” (Wrong, wrong, and wrong.)
Said Republican Senate Banking Committee Chair Phil Gramm: “The deficit four years from today will be higher than it is today, not lower.” (Nope.)
The only one who got it right — at least partially — was former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. “Republicans,” he said, “would take America in a different direction.” (And so they did, once Clinton left office and they regained control. Job creation stagnated even as taxes for the rich were slashed and deficits went back up through the roof.)
So do you know what? Their absolute certainty that Obamacare will destroy America (or that something in the drafting of the initial talking points on Benghazi was worth convening five Congressional committees to investigate) — all this may be no more valid than was their unanimous vocal certainty over the 1993 budget.
Republicans may want 320 million Americans to have to start worrying about pre-existing conditions again, but most Americans would probably rather not. Republicans may long for the days when health insurance policies included lifetime caps on benefits, but most Americans probably don’t. Republicans may hate that the Koch brothers, and the rest of us fortunate enough to have lots of investment income, have to share an extra 3.8% of it to fund preventive care and to close the prescription drug doughnut hole and to provide subsidies for those who can’t afford full fare — but most Americans — while they respect and applaud the talents and contributions of the wealthy — probably don’t. Especially when they are told that these new higher tax rates on dividends and capital gains are still lower than they were when Ronald Reagan left office.
Republicans may be certain Obamacare will fail, just as they were certain Clinton’s budget would doom the economy. But Obamacare is succeeding, just as Clinton’s budget did. And it may wind up saving tens of thousands of American lives a year, even as it restrains the growth in health care costs, and that’s not nothing.