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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Walker Trolls wrong about Tolls...

I don't know where these people get their information, but its been consistently wrong for ages. Chalk up another one, this time about adding toll roads in Wisconsin, an idea I've been pushing for years.


For many of us, we've been waiting patiently for years to see congress make toll roads happen. Now that just might happen. I think they should greet motorists at the state border, coming and going.

There is one regret; tolls could let Republicans off the hook when it comes to raising taxes to replenish the transportation fund, allowing them to keep their "no tax" pledge to a right wing lobbyist. Still, there's a good chance tolls won't cover all the costs, so who knows:


Congress may clear the way for states like Wisconsin to look at adding toll roads. Rep. Reid Ribble, R-8th Congressional District, told News 3 on "For the Record" that the federal highway bill moving through the House of Representatives may allow new states to toll.

"I think ultimately states will have the authority to toll on their own roads," Ribble said. "The federal government is not going to have the ability to mandate tolls, but they'll likely be given the authority to toll the interstate system if they choose." The bill would allow states that want to toll to apply to the federal government to do so a year from now.

A Marquette Law School Poll found in May 2014 that 55 percent of Wisconsinites polled were willing to use tolls to pay for highway projects,

The 2015-17 state budget requires that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation study the issue and find out how much money could be raised and where the toll roads would go. Lawmakers say an obvious choice would be to add tolls to I39/90 between the state line and Madison. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee was considering the bill Thursday and the full House is expected to approve the bill by next week. The current transportation measure will run out on Oct. 29. 

Democrats took a stand, and Television news coverage took a pass.

Why didn't WISC and WKOW cover the Democratic recusal and protest over the Republicans outrageous "reform" bill changing the states campaign finance laws? It was important for the public know for future reference what party was responsible for this open door to corruption, and what party fought it to the bitter end.

WPT's Here and Now thankfully stepped up with this short but respectful look at the Democratic recusal:


Rep. Peter Barca: "We'll be the only state in the nation ... we'll be the only one that will allow zero disclosure and NO DISCLAIMER."

Rep. Latonya Johnson: "The real reason that I'm recusing myself from voting for this bill Mr. Speaker, is because it SUCKS. THIS BILL SUCKS.
Here and Now also put together a video feature covering the WPR and WPT Wisconsin Survey by St. Norberts College. It appears the public's not too happy with the direction Walker and the Republicans are taking Wisconsin. Better late than never? I wish that were so:

Walker has done nothing to improve Minority Graduation Rates.

To put it in a way Republicans and their voters can understand; Scott Walker's Act 10 and voucher expansion isn't improving minority graduation rates. jsonline:


Even after 25 years of vouchers in Milwaukee and the expansion statewide, Walker is failing to close the graduation gap under Act 10 and vouchers. Especially for those Republicans who are pretending to care most about black student achievement.
The graduation rate for white students rose to 92.9% ranking third nationally, widening the gap between black and white students to 26.8 percentage points.
What a success? And while it takes from 8 to 12 years or so for current policy to show up as an improvement or failure in our national scores, Walker is taking credit for all the progress mad by preceding administrations, all the while tearing it apart:  
Wisconsin's gap in graduation rates between black and white students widened slightly in the 2013-'14 school year to become the largest in the country, at a time when many states are narrowing that gap, according to preliminary data released this week by the U.S. Department of Education.

Wisconsin's overall graduation rate rose by more than half a percentage point to 88.6% in 2013-'14, the most recent year available ... But the rate for African-American students held steady at 66.1%, failing to keep pace with gains seen by their Wisconsin counterparts and those in almost every other racial, ethnic and special-needs category.
The reason? Republicans have been focusing in on spreading private voucher money to higher income families with students already in private schools for mostly religious reasons, and not our economically challenged inner cities for improving public education.  
An estimated 26,900 students who live in the city of Milwaukee are using vouchers to attend 117 private schools, the vast majority of them religious. Public spending for the current school year will exceed $190 million. Once a school is running, is the fact that parents are choosing it enough to justify continued public funding? That's pretty much the case now.
Walker's Act 10 "tools" to fix education over his last 5 years have done nothing for elementary minority students reading and math scores. Instead of attacking Common Core and Tony Evers, and praising white student scores, legislators should have been working with the State Superintendent to improve minority graduation rates and basic reading:  
Fourth-grade reading scores for black students were the second worst. And black students in only three states had lower average math scores than Wisconsin's black fourth-graders and eighth-graders.
So will Walker be blamed 8 years from now when minority graduation rates still stink or possibly decline? I can hear the accusations of "Walker derangement syndrome" now.

Speaking of the State Superintendent Tony Evers, Republican efforts to oust Evers and change the state constitution isn't even close to what the public wants.
When asked if the head of the state Department of Public Instruction should be elected or appointed, a resounding 84 percent of Wisconsin Surveyrespondents favored keeping it as an elected position. The survey shows almost all Democrats -- 92 percent -- feel the superintendent should remain an elected position while 73 percent of Republicans agreed. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Businesses Shifting worker injury costs from Worker's Compensation to Social Security and Medicaid, at taxpayer expense.

When a communications tower painter fell to his death, his family was given a death benefit lump sum of $250,000. This was from an alternative to worker's compensation, because in some states, the company can opted out to save money. Had it been worker's compensation program, the family would have gotten as much as $1 million dollars. That family is now struggling on food stamps and whatever they could get from Social Security.

And that's the rub. Our social safety nets are being used by employers as a dumping ground for employees who have been killed or injured from work place injuries. They can save money, while taxpayers pick up cost.

Wisconsin is now going to cut workers comp even more than its already has, which means Republicans are not done attacking labor. The Progressive:
Wisconsin has the distinction of being the birthplace of the Worker's Compensation system: The benefit for the worker is that they don't have to go to court if they are injured. Next week, Wisconsin Republicans plan to throw all that out the window.

Rep. John Spiros in the Wisconsin Assembly and Sen. Duey Stroebel in the Senate (plan): Under the new system, worker's still will not be allowed to sue their employers for workplace injuries, but will be required to prove that the workplace injury wasn't their fault to receive their full compensation-- which is still codified at the meager rate. 

Wisconsin Republicans have actually figured out a way to make things worse for workers than before Worker's Compensation came along-- because at least in the bad old days of the Gilded Age, a worker might get justice in court. 

Allow the employer to choose the treating doctor for workers who don’t have group-health insurance coverage. This means they can send you to an unskilled “company doctor” for low quality treatment and a certain denial of your claim.

Allow the employer to avoid paying lost wages for a legitimate, conceded, claim by firing the employee while they are recovering. Require an employee to tell an employer, when they are hired, about any medical conditions they may have, or risk being denied benefits later on for any work injuries. 
Democratic politicians in D.C. want to put a stop to the cost shift, and save Social Security and Medicaid money the worker's compensation system should be paying out:

Ten ranking Democrats on key Senate and House committees are urging the Labor Department to respond to a "pattern of detrimental changes in state workers' compensation laws" that have reduced protections and benefits for injured workers over the past decade. The lawmakers cited an investigation by NPR and ProPublica, which found that 33 states have cut workers' comp benefits, made it more difficult to qualify for benefits or given employers more control over medical care decisions.  Democrats says the benefits cutbacks make federal action necessary, even though workers' comp is legislated and managed by states.

The lawmakers wrote. "The race to the bottom now appears to be nearly bottomless. ..."

"These workers … end up getting benefits under Social Security Disability or Medicaid [and] food stamps because they're not working," said Rep. Bobby Scott. "And so there is a strong federal interest in making sure that the workers' comp programs pay appropriate benefits."
Employers are draining Social Security: 
The federal trust fund that pays for Social Security disability benefits is expected to end up short of funds next year, and cost-shifting from workers' comp is partially blamed.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research is releasing a study Wednesday that estimates that more than 20 percent of the increase in federal disability cases is due to cuts in workers' comp programs.

Federal intervention may also come as the result of the "opt out" movement in Texas and Oklahoma ... South Carolina and Tennessee are considering opt-out laws now. 

Rep John Kline (R-MN), said, "shouldn't be designed to deny workers basic protections or shift costs to taxpayers." But Kline also defended "reform" ... The opt-out system saves employers 40 to 90 percent in claims costs. The opt-out alternative to workers' comp "harkens so unabashedly back to before the Industrial Revolution in terms of attitudes of employers."
Some businesses are banking on it, like Ashley Furniture's CEO:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, announced a new set of fines for Ashley Furniture for unsafe working conditions. The Wisconsin-based company has already received almost $2 million in penalties this year and OSHA has now issued $431,000 in new penalties. In a press release, Ashley Furniture officials said they "strongly disagrees with and will vigorously challenge the proposed citations." 

Ashley CEO Ron Wanek grabbed a flyer decrying federal regulations, including environmental, workplace and health care rules, saying, “This is what’s going to kill industry in the United States.”

Big Government Republicans piling up new rules and regulations, this time criminalizing photographs and videos of Hunters!!

There's nothing small about Big Government Republicans. Take for example this new possible regulation:
Could carrying a camera in a state park cost you thousands of dollars in fines and nine months in jail? Yes, if Wisconsin’s new “Right to Hunt” bill, which was introduced last week by Republican state Rep. Adam Jarchow, becomes law.
Goodbye freedom and Liberty: If you thought expanding gun play in college classes was a sop to the NRA and knuckle dragging gun addicts, wait till you see this nutting ass kissing bill for hunters:
A group called Wolf Patrol, which in recent months has attempted to document and monitor the trapping and hunting of wolves, bears, and other wildlife in Wisconsin … is nonconfrontational.

The proposed bill, however, would criminalize photographing or videotaping hunters, as well as what it calls “impeding a person who is engaged in an activity associated with lawful hunting.” It would also cover any “acts that are preparatory to lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping.” 
Wow, and this isn't even an Onion article. And what might come as a shock to pocket constitutional conservatives, this might have trouble Constitutionally, since pictures and video has nothing to do with hunting:
Justin Marceau, the Animal Legal Defense Fund professor of law at the University of Denver: “The idea you’re going to regulate who can take photos on public land is pretty shocking. You don’t see laws like that anywhere in the free world.” Marceau said components of the bill covering areas “preparatory” to hunting were also unusually broad.
We've also added the right to hunt into our Constitution, but sadly, they left off the right not to be photographed or recorded. What were they thinking?
Right to fish, hunt, trap, and take game. Section 26. [As created April 2003] The people have the right to fish, hunt, trap, and take game subject only to reasonable restrictions as prescribed by law.

Walker administration private emails, some undisclosed, okay with true believers...

All because Scott Walker had to open his trap, criticizing Hillary Clinton over her private emails.

No big deal, Scott Walk and his staff didn't violate any state laws when they used private email accounts to conduct government business discovered in a John Doe investigation. According to Walker and his band of legislative pirates, the partisan John Doe probe was a long drawn out hit piece to defeat Walker in his reelection bid. Never mind that it ended up uncovering a secret email account use to conduct campaign time on the taxpayer dime, along with private email communications between Walker and his staff:

WKOWGovernor Scott Walker says he simply didn't remember his staff used personal email to communicate about state business throughout 2011. It is not illegal for state officials to use personal email for official business. 
He didn't remember? You gotta wonder who then redacted his email address and their contents before turning them over in an open records request:
Urban Milwaukee: Madison TV station WKOW asked Walker last May 28 whether some of his staff used personal email for business. “I don’t know,” said the governor. “I mean, not that I’m aware of.” 

WKOW reported in its bombshell story ... “In the first year of the Walker administration, state business was conducted through more than 300 personal emails. Some of the emails were sent to or from Governor Walker’s own personal address,” the station noted, “but we aren’t sure how many due to the fact that both his personal and official email addresses are redacted in the records.”
It was a big deal though when presidential candidate Hillary Clinton used a legally allowable private email account to conduct government business.  And dragging out an investigation over Clinton's use of private emails during her run for president is supposedly not an attempt to destroy her chances of winning either, even though Rep. Kevin McCarthy admitted as much:
U.S. Justice Department lawyers told a federal court that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email account was not against the law, nor was it illegal for her to unilaterally determine which messages were considered work-related and necessary to return to the State Department for record keeping.
Republicans are working under a different set of standards, based on principled conservative values that are constantly changing.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ryan wants time with family, a privilege he's denied Working Americans!

Some people deserve privileges and some should work harder to earn them. That's Paul Ryan's message to Americans who want more family time, but still don't deserve it. Our ivory tower elitist career politician is now being called out as a hypocrite, since he's voted against a family leave act.

It's fun to watch the overtly authoritarian Republican Party try to deal with their own overtly authoritarian lawmakers make overtly ridiculous demands that as policy, they normally oppose.

The initial reaction to Ryan's demand, that the House speaker be given more family time, was met with praise. And that's unfortunate, because that was exactly what Ryan wanted:


It wasn't long before his record on family leave for the American public leaked out. Ryan hypocritically doesn't believe Americans deserve what he deserves, time with their family, plain and simple:
Paul Ryan's request for family leave has critics crying hypocrite: Paul Ryan's request for family time as a condition for his campaign for House Speaker has drawn criticism from those who see the Wisconsin congressman's demands as hypocritical.  critics, including fellow politicians, have been quick to point out that it conflicts with his established opposition of paid family leave measures.

In 2009, Ryan voted against the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act … Ryan has also delayed action on the proposed Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act. Ryan's congressional office was not among those listed in a January Huffington Post article as offering paid maternity or paternity leave for staffers.
 Ryan may get what he wants...:
The House Freedom Caucus (HFC) stopped short of formally endorsing Rep. Paul Ryan for Speaker on Wednesday but said a “super-majority” of the group backs him, handing the Wisconsin Republican enough votes to win the top leadership post.
...but still not take the job, with this one "truly" major caveat:
Ryan told reporters, “If I can truly be a unifying figure, then I will gladly serve.”
The kicker to all this came in the form of a Tweet about advice from our hypocritical governor Scott Walker:

 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Democrats Recused themselves from GOP campaign corruption bill.

Republicans in congress said it was unfair Democrats rammed ObamaCare down everyone’s throats without a single Republican vote. Poor babies.

And yet, Republicans ramming Act 10 and now campaign finance down the throats of legislators voters who want to take money out of elections is okay? Who listens to the public anyway, when we have “leaders” who know what’s best, and "hold listening sessions so it gives the appearance the administration is reaching out." - Lobbyist Bill McCoshen. 
Cap Times: Democrats in the Wisconsin Assembly (stood up and) recused themselves en masse from a Wednesday evening vote on a contentious GOP proposal to reshape the state's campaign finance laws. The bill passed shortly before 8 p.m. with the unanimous support of the chamber's Republican members, with no Democrats casting votes. Democrats cited state statute 19.46, which prevents public officials from "taking any official action substantially affecting a matter in which the official ... has a substantial financial interest."

"Because the bill has a direct financial interest for myself ... I feel it is necessary to recuse myself given the direct self-interest that this bill provides for members of this body," said Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, leading the arguments.
Sen. Jon Erpenbach put it this way:
“If we do something wrong, we should be investigated,” added Sen. John Erpenbach (D-Middleton), his voice rising with emotion. “I don’t want any part of this bill. People are cynical enough already. Let’s not give them another reason to hate politicians.” 
This outraged Rep. Robin Vos, the biggest whiny asshole ramming crony government down our throats. Silly Democrats should take Vos' juvenile overly broad advice:
Vos accused Democrats of setting a "seriously dangerous precedent" by recusing themselves, noting legislators could make the same argument for voting on the state budget or issues that affect their hometown.

"I have never been so disappointed in the members of the minority." Vos said Democrats took their leadership's cue to "walk off a cliff" and called their actions "silly in the extreme."
Yes, it's  those power hungry Democrats who are being extreme in all this.


And Rep. Joel Kleefisch, a man who resently transformed from legislator to neanderthal, observed:
He was saddened to see Democrats engage in a "stunt."
Going back to the future on campaign finance is also the Republicans idea of being more "progressive" than Democrats. Ouch:
Rep. Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee: "...stop the theatrics ... we will operate under the current existing state law throughout history forever. Is that what you want? Because that doesn't sound very progressive to me."

Benghazi Committee Wheels Fall Off, revealing CIA Sources Name.

Amazing. This from the Daily News:
It now appears to be Trey Gowdy’s turn to come clean. He’s the republican congressman who is by default in charge of the Benghazi committee. And he just admitted to a game changer.

Gowdy and the republican Benghazi committee have been attacking by using a variety of government documents which have been heavily redacted to the point that it’s never been entirely clear just what context they would be in if not for all of the redactions and blackouts. After democrats asked the CIA to declassify the documents so that the public could see what was really being presented, the CIA responded by stating that it had never asked for anything to be redacted. When questioned under pressure, Gowdy admitted that he himself decided to redact large portions of the documents based on his own personal judgment of what information he did or didn’t want the public to know.
Last night on All in with Chris Hayes, Huffington Post reporter Jennifer Bendery humorously revealed this outrageous Trey Gowdy blunder:
Bendery: "...the CIA said, 'oh no, that wasn't classified information,' and Trey Gowdy said 'yea well, we need to protect it, and he put it up on the committee website and outed the name of a CIA source...in the subject line."


Ending GAB, Republicans save us from Nazi Tactics.

With the backing and blessing of Scott Walker, Republicans are about to get rid of the Government Accountability Board, the state elections and ethics watchdog. And the reasons for doing so are baffling:
Many Republicans say the legislation is needed to ensure ethics laws are enforced fairly and people's free speech rights are protected.
Walker and the Republicans are striking out against the John Doe probes, investigations they thought victimized conservatives and were politically motivated. After stacking the courts with conservative activist judges willing to support their claims, Republicans have successfully suckered in their emotionally invested voters. And what about former Gov. Jim Doyle's travel gate fabrication, and Hillary's Benghazi and private email attacks? They're completely different, as one Walker supporter told me the other day. It's a disconnect I see a lot from the hypocritical right wing.

It's all about "liberty" and "free speech," and not about investigating what appeared to be illegal activity by Republicans during the recalls. They're essentially saying Democrats should have been investigated too, you know, just to make things equal.

NAZI TACTICS: Republicans say the John Doe probes of politicians remind them of Nazi Germany. Oddly, that same comparison doesn't apply to John Doe probes of anyone else suspected of illegal activity. WPR's Shawn Johnson noticed that, and unlike other media outlets, played the audio proof in his report:


Sanfelippo: "You're okay with the tactics employed by the SS and the Nazi's in WW2?"
Keeping these more radical statements out of the public eye and their local news reports only emboldens the Republican authoritarian takeover of our state. Like this segment from WISC, featuring Republican Dave Craig pushing bullshit like protecting our constitutional liberty's and being fair prosecuting crimes, blah, blah, blah...:



One of the few Republicans that gets it, but still votes the wrong way, Sen. Luther Olsen, highlighted the most glaring problem with the new partisan oversight board, filled with 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Seriously, reporters never once asked about this?
Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) said he had concerns about eliminating the judges and about putting equal numbers of appointees from both parties on the new commissions. In controversial cases, the two boards could deadlock and end up doing nothing, he said. "If it's set up so they never agree on anything, then nothing gets investigated," Olsen said.

Here's Common Cause's Jay Heck with what this all means, and a marker when voters were warned about what would happen...and it has already. From the Mitch Hank Show:

Walker desperately scrambling to borrow for Transportation, budgeting he ignored running for President.

It's become evident watching Scott Walker scramble to restore cut transportation, that he wasn't just lying about running the state remotely during the budget debate process, but he really did have Wisconsin in his rear view mirror running for president.

Instead of making his arguments against road building delays during budgeting, he's now begging his pirate hoard to change their minds. This is charge card GOP budgeting at its most obvious, leaving the bill to the next generation to pay for.

Democrats like State Sen. Jon Erpenbach are relishing the fact that Republicans now need their vote to pass funding. But like Erpenbach said below, they'll only consider the idea if the funding problem is solved by adjusting the gas tax for future budgets.
"They knew this day was going to come and they didn't do anything about it on finance and now they're going to say the Democrats are going to bail us out. Well yeah, we will help if it's a good fair plan that not only deals with the bonding situation but also possibly looks at a gas tax or a long-term solution where we can get on a road where we'll know we have X amount of dollars to pay for roads."
Another words, restore the old indexed yearly gas tax increase and deep six the Grover Norquist no tax pledge, a gimmick that has no place in the budget process. I also back a toll for traffic coming in and out of Wisconsin (no tolls within the state) with federal approval.

It's telling and embarrassing to watch Walker now making the case for running up debt and trying to solve a problem he didn't have time for just a few months ago. From WISC's Jessica Arp and WKOW:



And oh by the way, there's already lots of money in the transportation fund to pay for a few of these delayed projects: Jakes Economic TA Funhouse.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

GOP Lobbyist Bill McCoshen: "...hold some listening sessions so it gives the appearance the administration is reaching out."

In a WKOW Digging Deeper investigative report by Greg Neumann about withheld emails by the Walker administration, Wisconsin voters learned a valuable lesson about those Republicans sham "listening sessions." Listening sessions, like their attack on Common Core, that never seemed to change their minds.

One of the most unashamed bottom feeding lobbyists, Bill McCoshen, arrogantly pulled back the curtain on Republican listening sessions in a just released email. Hat tip to Rock Netroots for pointing it out:
GOP lobbyist Bill McCoshen advised the administration to take a step back: "Delay the collective bargaining changes until the recalls are over. Maybe even hold some listening sessions so it gives the appearance the administration is reaching out." 
That's right; the "appearance" of "reaching out." Would you believer there wasn't one word of outrage in the comments section by conservative viewers duped by their own party's scam? It's not a surprising development either, from this outwardly authoritarian Republican administration.

Awhile back I featured McCoshen's jaw dropping ads that clearly admitted to Wisconsinites that money does the talking now at the state Capitol:


Just as obvious is this graphic at McCoshen's lobbying firms website, where he brags, "He has since become the capitol's quintessential insider lobbyist, in a good way.Go ahead laugh, it really is that openly crass and surreal: 




Monday, October 19, 2015

Judge Rebecca Bradley's Free Ride to the Top...beats working.

I'll be darned, it looks the party of "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" is really the party of "it's who you know" crony appointments.

After appointing her twice before, Scott Walker could have let Judge Rebecca Bradley earn her place on the State Supreme Court, by running a competitive campaign and convincing voters she was qualified for the job. Nope, we're talking Scott Walker here after all. Credit Bradley too, her taste for free rides to the top of the legal ladder was just too tempting.

Another thing. After hearing how the ex-judges at the nonpartisn GAB couldn't hide their obvious political biases...



...Walker claims Judge Rebecca Bradley has no such inclination, and Bradley agrees. After all, why would anyone question her impartiality with a resume filled with the following...
She has served as president of the Milwaukee chapter of the Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers group, and has belonged to the Republican National Lawyers Association and the Thomas More Society, a Catholic legal group.
What's so biased about the libertarian Federalist interpretation of the law, or pushing conservative orthodoxy via the National Lawyers Association? Am I just being partisan?

But Bradley clearly differentiated herself from those other judges overseeing elections at the GAB, on Upfront with Mike Gousha. Despite her activism, she has been able to put all that aside...?



But as we've heard from other Republican legislators, judges are not impartial, but in fact partisan with an agenda:
Speaker Robin Vos: "The notion that people are nonpartisan is difficult for people to accept, every human being has partisan inclinations."

State Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin): "It's impossible for the GAB to be entirely nonpartisan in its current form … make the agency completely partisan."

Scott Walker: “More so than an investigation, I think it’s appropriate just to get rid of (the board) and replace it,”
The day after the state Supreme Court ruled to end the (John Doe) investigation, Wisconsin Club for Growth — the conservative group at the center of the John Doe investigation — led the charge to abolish the GAB.
“GAB was a bad idea whose time has gone,” the group’s director, Eric O’Keefe, told radio host Charlie Sykes. “They need to eliminate it.”
So if ex-judges can't separate their partisan beliefs on the GAB, why would we think "Justice" Rebecca Bradley wouldn't be just as partisan a conservative activist Supreme Court Justice? 

The GOP's Tax Cut Economics: Repeal of Affordable Care Act will increase deficits, toss 50 million off coverage.

The Affordable Care Act is about to get repealed via reconciliation, needing only 51 votes in Senate. Republicans will tell you the cut in ObamaCare taxes will spur on new jobs and increased federal revenues. Like everything based on supply-side economics, it's a false assumption that will toss tens of millions of Americans of their insurance.
If Congress establishes this year that it can fully repeal ObamaCare via reconciliation, and the next president is willing, Congress could repeal ObamaCare for good in 2017.
But don't worry, supposed "patient centered" reform will create competition, lowering brain and heart surgeon fees dramatically. Maybe we'll see their services offered on Groupon someday too.

Republicans have asked CBO to score their proposed repeal of ObamaCare, and all the tax cuts they say are slowing the economy with "dynamic scoring."

Supply side-macroeconomic-dynamic scoring: It goes by different names but the end result is the same; a failed theory that has never worked. But fear not, Republicans are making a valiant effort to breathe life back into dynamic scoring, by forcing the CBO to use their trickle down, macroeconomics formula based on the belief in fairy dust, hoping for a different result this time around:
(The) opening salvo for the 114th Congress, in a “largely party-line vote of 234-172,” Republicans in the House adopted a rules package that included a provision asking the CBO, and the Joint Committee on Taxation, or JCT, to use so-called dynamic scoring in their evaluation of a proposed legislation’s budgetary impact. This move would make it easier for policymakers to enact more tax cuts based on the conservative trickle-down mythology that tax cuts for the rich grow the economy. A growing body of empirical research undermines the conservative economic mantra that tax cuts for the rich grow the economy. 
As an interesting aside, the article suggested this possible safe guard:
Given this, CBO and JCT should develop a macroeconomic model that considers how a proposed bill would impact inequality—and therefore economic growth.
What Repeal would do: GOP dynamic scoring will cover up the devastating effects of repeal with dreamy theories of job creation and cheaper health care costs. In reality, tens of millions will lose their health care coverage:
CBO and JCT estimate that repealing the ACA would have several major effects, relative to the projections under current law: Including the budgetary effects of macroeconomic feedback, repealing the ACA would increase federal budget deficits by $137 billion over the 2016–2025 period. 

Excluding the effects of macroeconomic feedback—as has been done for previous estimates related to the ACA (and most other CBO cost estimates)—federal deficits would increase by $353 billion over the 2016–2025 period if the ACA was repealed. 

The uncertainty is sufficiently great that repealing the ACA could reduce deficits over the 2016–2025 period—or could increase deficits by a substantially larger margin than the agencies have estimated. However, CBO and JCT’s best estimate is that repealing the ACA would increase federal budget deficits by $137 billion over that 10-year period. 

Repealing the ACA would cause federal budget deficits to increase by growing amounts after 2025, whether or not the budgetary effects of macroeconomic feedback are included. 

Repealing the ACA also would affect the number of people with health insurance and their sources of coverage ... the number of non-elderly people who are uninsured would increase by about 19 million in 2016; by 22 million or 23 million in 2017, 2018, and 2019; and by about 24 million in all subsequent years through 2025.

In most of those years, the number of people with employment-based coverage would increase by about 8 million, and the number with coverage purchased individually or obtained through Medicaid would decrease by between 30 million and 32 million.
A few things to keep in mind when reading the following; GOP insurance plans include government subsidies, and a few of their plans roll back employer exemptions, which could see workplace coverage dropped:
How Would a Repeal Affect the Budget and the Economy Over the Next 10 Years? Repealing the ACA would increase deficits by $353 billion over the 2016–2025 period, excluding the budgetary impact of macroeconomic feedback. 

An end to the ACA’s subsidies for health insurance coverage would generate gross savings for the government of $1,658 billion over the 2016–2025 period. Those savings would stem primarily from eliminating federal subsidies for insurance purchased through exchanges and from reducing outlays for Medicaid.
But....
Those gross savings would be partially offset by the effects of eliminating several ACA provisions related to insurance coverage that are projected to reduce federal deficits. 

In addition, increases in employment-based coverage stemming from a repeal would reduce revenues because most payments for that coverage are exempt from income and payroll taxes. 

In sum, those effects of repealing the ACA would increase federal deficits by $502 billion over the 2016–2025 period, and the net savings from repealing the ACA’s coverage provisions would thus be $1,156 billion.
The net savings of $1 trillion results from doing away with the insurance subsidies, which Republicans said they would continue (but smaller) in their "plans." And most importantly, the figures here don't include the net savings from the ACA, just expenses:
The estimates discussed elsewhere in this report do not include any savings or costs associated with changes in discretionary spending. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Affordable Care Act Successes downplayed by GOP expectations of perfection, but only on Democratic programs.

While the Affordable Care Act has given 16 million more people (marketplace and Medicaid expansion) the ability to get health insurance, that's not good enough for Republicans and right wing think tanks. Yet they would never think to compare the old system that shed as many sick people as possible for higher profits, with the Affordable Care Act.

Criticism of a GOP plan, renamed ObamaCare, by Republicans is crazy enough, but saying the whole thing has failed because it wasn't perfect suggests to me that trying anything would be a waste of time. And yet their own chaotic "plans" use huge parts of ObamaCare as well.

The ACA marketplace signed up 10 million people. That was the initial rush. That now expected to become more of a trickle. But is that failure?

So here's the deceptive meme now that's as ridiculous as ever. That's because the ACA is nothing but a marketplace of private insurance plans. If it's failing, blame the private sector, not the government that simply gave them a national mall for Americans to shop in.
Two nonprofit health insurance co-ops that were established under the ACA announced on Friday that they were going out of business for financial reasons ... the latest in a string of eight such coops that have closed their doors in recent months ... That means that only 15 of the original 23 co-ops will remain in business next year.
Some ideas work, and some don't work so well right? But 15 workable coops is still pretty good. Republicans are also not exactly touting the fact that because the Obama administration is playing hardball with the coops to rein in spending, some have been forced to close.

The benefits are clear (click to enlarge):



The GOP plans all have one huge flaw in common; they would allow Americans to buy stripped down plans with little coverage but high monthly premium payments and deductibles. Sure junk insurance policies will be cheaper, but the risk of bankruptcy and death increases dramatically, not a good trade-off. And that's American exceptionalism at work?

Here's how ObamaCare is paid for, meaning it isn't adding to the deficit, but reducing it. True freedom and liberty for all by the way is a single payer system where not one dime is spent on bills by individuals and not one doctor is excluded, ever: