There are some argumentative political statements that I can never decide if it’s deliberately obtuse or an actual misunderstanding. Joe the Plumber comes to mind — a lot of people have no understanding of business taxes (or know the difference between gross and net). Maybe he really thought a million dollar gross plumbing business would throw him into the wealth tax level. Or he’s making a disingenuous argument — either bemoaning that a plumbing business netting a million dollars would pay increased taxes or deliberately failing to mention that a million dollar gross business isn’t anywhere near wealth-tax levels and letting people hear “million dollar” and assume as they assume.
“Won’t Medicare for All bankrupt the country” has become this year’s Joe the Plumber for me. Won’t private insurance bankrupt individuals and businesses? I pay around 3k a year for my family’s insurance. If universal health care meant my taxes went up 10k, not having to pay that 3k wouldn’t make me feel much better. But what I pay isn’t the sum of what my health insurance costs. My employer paid about 14,000USD for my medical and dental insurance. Legislation can ensure what employers currently contribute to wasteful private insurance becomes funding for Medicare for All.
If the entirety of my 3k went to Medicare for all, and the remaining 7k came from my employer … they would be saving 7,000USD on a single employee. Maybe all 10k comes from the employer. My taxes go down 3k, the company still saves 4k. Or maybe universal heath care costs 17k and the entirety of what both my employer and I pay gets redirected toward Medicare. The worst case in any of these scenarios is that we’ve broken even, I’ve got better coverage, people who change jobs don’t have lapses in coverage, and people who need to see a doctor or get medicine do so.
Yes, it’s possible implementing universal health care would be a net cost increase. While there’s logical consistency that removing profit, executive salaries, and general overhead would yield a lot of savings … having more people actually use their health care might yield a lot of additional expense. But the gross cost of universal healthcare is offset by what we currently pay — just like the plumbing company with a million dollars in gross receipts isn’t forking over 40% of that million dollars in taxes.
Something I never put much thought into — impeachment isn’t subject to jeopardy protections. Which means the House could continue to pursue judicial remedy to force witnesses and vote on additional articles of impeachment for the exact same event.
The Ohio House wants to ban bans on plastic bags? The party of less government … Unless you aren’t doing what I want you to do. Then we need a law! Obviously a *state* law because the Feds cannot possibly come up with a law that addresses the needs of such a diverse group of people. Sigh!
It irks me how many government officials fail to understand the law (or, at least, make statements that are legally absurd). Today, Devin Nunes says he will sue CNN for defamation. Why? Because CNN reported that a lawyer for Lev Parnas said Parnas knows something about some meetings Nunes scheduled with former Ukrainian prosecutors (and Parnas is willing to testify before Congress).
What’s the requirement for a defamation case? (1) False statement and (2) malicious intent. If Nunes said he intended to sue Parnas, that would be reasonable — still have to prove that the statement was false and uttered with malicious intent, but at least Parnas could have made a maliciously false statement. But a defamation suit against CNN would be an assertion that CNN made up a conversation with Parnas’ lawyers and did so maliciously to harm Nunes.
I’m certain Nunes statement was dramatization — and a way to avoid answering when asked if he did have involvement with the whole Ukraine fiasco. But someone who is responsible for writing laws shouldn’t demonstrate such ignorance of those laws.
Intellectually, I know that invoking one’s Fifth Amendment right is not an admission of guilt. But, any time I hear someone taking the 5th, my subconscious assumption is either that they’re guilty of whatever is being asked or the answer brings up some other admission of guilt. Because, seriously, why refuse to answer if the content of the answer is exculpatory and doesn’t implicate someone important to me?
In the same way, I intellectually know that my subconscious brain went somewhere not legally valid when Dr. Fiona Hill refused to answer a question citing executive privilege. The line of questioning was basically “you’ve been high up on the Russia desk for some time, so you’ve been on a lot of these phone calls with foreign heads of state”, “yes”, “is the content of this (the declassified 25 July phone call with Zelensky) call unusual”, PRIVILEGE! Which only makes me think that demanding personal favors that run counter to national interest (or having favors that run counter to the national interest demanded of him) isn’t unusual.
I like the point about putting more effort into turning the 50% of non-voters into voters … between single-issue voters who will never vote for a Democrat & the 30 or whatever percent that seriously think the Trump presidency is perfect, it’s not like there’s a lot of people to be swayed there. The huge pool of people who don’t vote? Offer free childcare & transportation. Get them engaged with some piece of the platform.
“The fragility of his ego stood in the way of national security” … Harris’ assessment of Trump’s interactions with N. Korea is a good quote, and not just about this particular issue.
So, if I go jack, say, a Lambo … and when the cops show up say I’m heading out to return it … that’s OK?! Because chatting with an Ambassador and telling them he doesn’t want anything from the Ukraine after knowing the whistle-blower complaint is headed to the House isn’t exactly a great defense. Similarly, saying the money got released after the complaint … not exonerating.
I always wanted to run for federal office on the platform of direct representation — more a technology than a platform. Develop a system that allows constituents to log in and vote for any legislation — basically like proxy voting for shareholders. I’d deliver summary and full text content of anything in advance of the vote, and I’d cast my vote as dictated by my constituents. And constituents could see the vote totals for each piece of legislation to prove that I am voting based on real input. Obviously, this platform suffers an immense privilege problem — it’s great for a demographic with free time to read through legislation and convenient Internet access. It also suffers a civic disengagement problem — does anyone actually want to read through the text of everything that’s coming up in my committees and to floor votes? It’s quite possible that I’d be voting against the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1865) because five people bothered to lodge an opinion … and only to troll the entire idea behind direct representation. And none of that considers the threat of malicious actors.
Once there is a platform available for one legislator, expending it to others in the same chamber is trivial. Adding the other chamber or state legislatures is an undertaking from a content-development standpoint (what *is* on schedule for the Oregon Senate today?), but the underlying development effort is the same. Somewhat like the National Popular Vote compact is an end-run around formalizing the eradication of the Electoral College, this would be an end-run around indirect representation.
But I’ve thought, of late, that starting at the Federal level is misguided — if for no other reason than the incredible amount of money it takes to run a campaign for federal office. But also because getting the six million or so Ohio voters set up for direct representation by their state Senator would be a logistical nightmare. It seems better to begin implementation at the local level — run for school board or a Township Trustee position where you are concerned about a few thousand voters. Use local offices as small proof-of-concept experiments. Maybe it doesn’t work out — maybe no one cares enough to check what’s being discussed and vote for their position. Maybe running and supporting the platform is too expensive or time consuming. Hell, maybe no one is interested enough in direct representation for a direct representation candidate to win in the first place.