Archive for the ‘#trump’ Tag

How Is the Fix In?   2 comments

So, the other day, someone on Twitter informed me that all Republic states had done away with paper ballots and that no states do hand-counting.

Last I looked Alaska was a Republican-leaning state and I fill out a paper ballot and feed it into a scanner. I’ve seen what comes out at the other end – a scanned copy of my ballot. I’ve seen the poll workers hand-count the ballots to assure they match the reading on the scanner before forwarding a report that verifies that the hand-count matches the scanner count. Then the paper ballots are forwarded in a locked box with guards to the Division of Elections.

Image result for image of russians meddling with election on facebookSo I went out and checked and 37 states have maintained paper ballots, some with optical scanners, others with a paper ballot that prints out after you use the digital machine, and most states that use electronic methods still have some form of paper trail attached.

Amid all of these ridiculous claims was someone up in arms because “Russia used Facebook to influence the election.”

So what?

I used Facebook to influence the election too. I posted on my social media accounts that I thought folks should vote for Gary Johnson rather than the Donald or She-Who-Would-Be-Queen. I offered reasoned arguments that you were free to accept or reject. I pointed out fallacies that you could believe or disbelieve. I posted scathing memes.

Oh, but wait, I’m an American citizen, so it’s okay for me to influence an election, because we all know nobody takes an American citizen seriously, right. But Russia … Russia … oh, my god, Russian agents expressed an opinion and some people might actually have been influenced by finding out that Hillary Clinton thinks the American people are idiots. The horror! And, of course, nobody can exercise their common sense and decide that they disagree with ads posted by Russians because … well, it’s Russia and we all know they have mind-control powers. The horror!

 

We have been subjected to 10 months of propaganda about Trump/Putin election interference without a scrap of actual evidence being produced. It is past time to ask an unasked question: If there were evidence, what is the big deal? All sorts of interest groups try to influence election outcomes including foreign governments. Why is it OK for Israel to influence US elections but not for Russia to do it? I seem to remember Angela Merkel saying something about how she wanted the US election to turn out. Why is it okay for her to do that, but not Vladimir Putin? Why do you think the armament industry, the energy industry, agribusiness, Wall Street and the banks, pharmaceutical companies, what’s left of the Moral Majority, George Soros, etc., supply huge sum of money to finance election campaigns if their intent is not to influence the election? Why do editorial boards write editorials endorsing one candidate and damning another if they are not influencing the election?

What is the difference between influencing the election and influencing the government? Washington is full of lobbyists of all descriptions, including lobbyists for foreign governments, working round the clock to influence the US government. Actual citizens’ opinions are the least represented in the government because we haven’t got any lobbyists working for us.

The orchestrated hysteria over “Russian influence” is even more absurd considering the reason Russia allegedly interfered in the election. Russia favored Trump because he was the “peace” candidate who promised to reduce the high tensions with Russia created by the Obama regime and neocon nazis like Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power. What’s wrong with Russia preferring a peace candidate over a war candidate? The American people themselves preferred the peace candidate.

Those who don’t agree with the electorate are the warmongers—the military/security complex and the neocons. These are democracy’s enemies who are trying to overturn the choice of the American people by keeping back information we had a right to know. It is not Russia that disrespects the choice of the American people. Russia is not in our streets throwing rocks through shop windows, burning cars and beating up people who voted for the constitutionally-elected President. Russia is busy dealing with its own issues while the utterly corrupt Democratic National Committee with its divisive identity politics, the military/security complex, and the left-leaning media undermine US democracy.

Whoever is producing the propaganda that these people believe about the election process should probably be looked at as someone trying to influence future election results because it is far easier to hack a nation-wide popular election than it is to corrupt 51 state-wide popular votes conducted by a myriad of election apparatuses.

The important question is who is it that is trying so hard to convince Americans that Russian influence somehow prevailed over our collective commonsense? It would appear that at the most, they released information that allowed us more information upon which to derive our opinions. Are we now saying that an uninformed vote is better than an informed one?

 

 

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Actions Speak Louder Than Twitter Storms   Leave a comment

I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I’ve taken some heat for complaining about some of President Trump’s actions and I’ve taken some heat for applauding some of his actions. I don’t care about his Twitter flurries. Those are not governance. Honestly, I find it refreshing that a politician says what’s on his mind before convening a focus group to find out what should be on his mind.

By and large, I was at least half-pleased with President Trump’s cabinet picks. I know lots of people disagree, but they would have disagreed if Trump had allowed Hillary Clinton to pick his cabinet for him. And, no, that’s not a joke. Some people seem to be unfamiliar with how the Constitutional election system works. Donald Trump won the presidency completely by the rules. Maybe your candidate should have not played fast and loose with state secrets on her unsecured private email server and bit her tongue before declaring that 40% of the country’s voters were irredeemable racists she would consign to a “deplorables” basket where she wouldn’t have to take their concerns seriously. You don’t have to be a Donald Trump fan to recognize that she was declaring she would be president for only some Americans. We’re lucky she didn’t win, which does not mean we are blessed that Trump did.

Image result for image secretary elaine chao in alaska

Alaska swung pretty hard to Donald Trump. They didn’t need my help and they didn’t get it, but a lot of people here think they made a right decision because of the Trump administration’s behavior toward Alaska. Since the beginning of the Trump administration, Alaska has been the host to at least three federal department chiefs — Secretaries Rex Tillerson (State), Ryan Zinke (Interior) and Elaine Chao (Transportation). Zinke and Chao came to Alaska at the behest of Alaska’s Congressional delegation. two come quickly to mind, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who was here a couple of weeks ago.

Both Zinke and Chao toured the state and talked to all walks of Alaskans and then said they hoped to be able to work with the State of Alaska and Alaska residents to develop infrastructure and allow reasonable resource development. Contrast this to the Obama’s administration’s cabinet visits. Antony Foxx (Transportation) and Sally Jewell (Interior) both visited Alaska, but they met only with Native groups, appeared to be hostile to the State government and announced they would further tighten regulations on the state so as to prevent development of infrastructure and further restrict resource development, hobbling our economy even more than the Jones Act and previous environmental regulations already do.

Last week Chao spoke with transportation officials and industry leaders in Alaska, coming to the conclusion that the federal government will more quickly advance projects, which have been delayed, often for decades, by a burdensome regulatory process.

This is no small matter for Alaska, which receives about $500 million annually for its transportation projects through the Federal Highway Administration. Southeast and Southwest Alaska benefit from federal highway funds through limited road projects, but federal funds are used to build Alaska Marine Highway System ships. Like all other states, Alaska matches federal dollars with a 10-percent contribution.

Toward alleviating project delays, Chao noted that Alaska has become only the seventh state to acquire an agreement with the federal government that allows it to conduct environmental reviews for state and federal highway projects. The agreement, which is under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), is expected to be signed in October, according to Chao.

Environmental protections will remain and the federal government will monitor the state’s reviews, but projects should be able to move forward more efficiently.

Actions speak louder than Twitter storms, disapproving pundits and shouting, rock-throwing protesters. There’s been considerable noise coming out of Washington, D.C. since Trump’s inauguration. It’s often difficult to know what’s true and what isn’t, because politicians and pundits present points of view favorable to their preferences, often ignoring the needs of states and even those of the nation.

I’m still not a Donald Trump fan. I doubt I’ll vote for him in 2020, but he’s doing some things right and it’s been a long time since Alaska has seen that coming out of the Oval Office. Alaskans, lets focus on what’s actually being accomplished for Alaska and tune out the rest of the nonsense.

Posted September 12, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in politics

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Hey, Trump Voters! How Do You Like Betrayal?   1 comment

So, I think a lot of people have heard that President Trump and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) have agreed to pursue a deal that would permanently remove the requirement that Congress repeatedly raise the debt ceiling.

Trump signs Harvey aid, debt ceiling packageThis is a gentlemen’s agreement that’s been leaked by administration insiders. The Oval Office meeting included an agreement that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would work with the two men over the next several months to finalize a plan. Congress would have to approve the plan, of course, but the leakers claim Senate Democrats believe they can finalize the arrangement by December.

One reason I didn’t vote for President Trump is one of the reasons I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton. I suspected Trump is still a Democrat. You do know you can join any political party you want and nobody actually asks you to prove you agree with the platform? One day in every four years, I’m a Republican so I can vote in the GOP primary. I’m back to being a Non-Partisan (an actual “party” designation in Alaska) by the general. So, I’m not surprised that President Trump has made this decision to betray American conservatives who voted for him. I kind of thought he would do something like this because he’s a closet Democrat and Democrats really don’t see anything wrong with debt.

I’ve spent a lot of blog posts talking about the danger of debt. Just as runaway debt in your household will force you into bankruptcy eventually, runaway debt in the government will eventually drive Washington DC into bankruptcy. Just like some households carry some debt and they do okay so long as they keep it under control, the national government can also carry some debt, but we are currently carrying more debt than all debt for the entire history of the United States. We’re in trouble, folks, and that periodic discussion of the debt ceiling helps us to remember that and encourages Americans to demand Congress do something about it.

It’s a lot easier to increase spending levels if the people don’t know what the national debt is. That’s how the government got away with running up debts in the 1950s and 60s. But in the 1970s, we started a very steep recession and the debt became a subject of common discussion. It forced the eventual passage of the Contract with America, which almost retired the debt.

No, Clinton did not have an actual surplus of funds. He raided the Social Security Trust Fund to make it seem like he had. And, now, we are $20 trillion in debt and going up and they want to move the problem out of sight so that we won’t care so much about it.

 

 

So, my question is –

Are you pissed off yet, Republicans?

Are you going to do something real about it?

No, I’m not saying vote for the Democrats. They are behind this stupidity!

I’m becoming convinced that voting does nothing, but if you’re going to vote, at least don’t vote for Dweedle Dee (GOP) or Dweedle Dum (Democrats). Instead, pick a third party you mostly agree with and vote for them. Take away the power from the elites – Congress and President Trump. Maybe a Libertarian President with a mixed Repubican, Democratic and Libertarian Congress would be more likely to address the debt and insist we do something about it.

Or maybe it will teach all of us that voting doesn’t do ANYTHING and we need to do something far different.

Trump’s Gambit   3 comments

Okay, I could choose to be embarrassed that the President of the United States responded in kind to threats from North Korea’s petulant child of a tinpot dictator. Promising “fire and fury” really does sound like a schoolyard threat.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/09/north-korea-us-airbase-guam-trump-fire-fury

And, maybe if I’d voted for Hillary Clinton, I’d surmise on how much better she would handle it … choosing to ignore that the Obama administration expanded two wars and got involved in at least four others while she was Secretary of State. For the record, in case you are unfamiliar with the cabinet secretary functions, the role of the Secretary of State is to, as far as possible, keep us out of war. Negotiation is a key part of the job. Since the US war footing expanded greatly during her tenure as Secretary of State, we can rightfully say she was a failure as Secretary of State.

Image result for image of north korea threatening guamYes, she would have issued a statement along the same lines as Barack Obama’s lukewarm admonitions to Kim Jong-Un, something like:

“You shouldn’t threaten other countries. We’re going to get tough and refuse to trade with you so your people can be even more starved than they are now, but you can continue getting more portly. Be a good little dictator now and run along. Go back to playing with your nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and leave the adults alone.”

You get my point? Past presidents at least since as far back as Bush 1 have treated Pyongyang like wayward children and the paternalism is probably one reason why Kim acts up. The other BIG reason is that he is the leader of a starving nation with a lot of enemies and he feels threatened, so he threatens loudly and talks big about what little he can do against us.

He can’t hit the US with a nuclear payload. His missiles can’t carry a payload … at all … yet. He could hit Alaska with an unarmed missile, but nobody would notice the difference in the Valley of 10,000 Smokes. It’s already been devastated by volcanoes, so there’s no risk to a national treasure. So why are we acting like the 4-pound cat is a danger to us? They aren’t even really a danger to Guam (which the Guam governor acknowledges”, although an unarmed missile would do some damage, assuming that THAAD battery in Guam didn’t take it down before it hit.

I’ve said before, the best thing we could do is get off North Korea’s back and let the organic movement toward reunification with South Korea slowly work itself out. The more the US interferes in the internal workings of Pyongyang, the more likely we are to cause a reaction with negative consequences. Puffing himself up and threatening something he hasn’t got the means to do is not an actual reaction that we should arm up for.

Frankly, when I hear US Presidents deliver their worn-out, “don’t threat us, we might starve your people some more” speech, I’m frankly embarrassed by the ineffectiveness of a powerful nation like the US tut-tutting an insignificant little country. It’s kind of like how I feel about our military getting our asses handed to us in Afganistan and Iraq … or for that matter, Vietnam. Are we stupid? Clearly it’s not that we can’t win these conflicts … it’s that we don’t try to win them … so why do we even get into them?

I’m also embarrassed that the government of the United States has used its sanction power to starve the people of North Korea. Really, you don’t think that works in Kim’s favor? Of course it does.

So President Trump threatened “fury and fire”. He gave Kim the same basketball trashtalk that the North Korean dictator has been spouting for years. It’s a little embarrassing that our President isn’t more grown up than that, but again … what is the real difference between that and the ineffectual pronouncements of Barack Obama and his predecessors? If we’re talking about outcome, there isn’t any. Pyongyang will continue to bristle and threaten until we back off and give them some breathing space and maybe allow some food shipments into the country. If Kim’s subjects weren’t starving, maybe they’d have the energy to plot a coup and take care of their own problem.

Just a thought. And, for all you Trump supporters out there who are so excited that your President is finally talking tough with the child-man of Pyongyang … President Trump appears to be making threats that he’d have to be a crazy man to actually do, so … yeah, not really very effective … anymore than Hillary Clinton would have been. So, there you have it … balanced analysis.

Sanctions? For What?   2 comments

I didn’t vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but the main reason I would have voted for Donald Trump rather than Hillary Clinton (for example, had I had a gun to my head and was required to vote for one or the other) was because of his relaxed stance toward Russia.

I have an 18-year-old son and a 24-year-old daughter, both now eligible for the draft — though the daughter has not yet been required to register. Thank you, President Obama, for balancing the ying-yang of male-female relations and requiring both genders to be killed in wars you start. That retroactively confirmed why I was right not to vote for you. I thought it was because you admire Marxist African dictators and have zero understanding of economics, but in reality, I voted against you because you’re a warmonger who never saw an 18-year-old you didn’t want to die in a war … unless, of course, they are your daughters.

But back to the moment ….

President Trump came into office talking strong defense without going to war. Okay, if I hadn’t had a third option who actually would have been a good president, that was a bit of weight in his direction since Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State had encouraged the Obama administration to advance two wars and get involved in four others and then bragged about it in her book Hard Choices. That was a recipe for my children being killed in one of her dirty little wars and so, if I hadn’t of loathed her before, I would not have voted for her in 2016. Disliking Trump’s misogyny simply didn’t outweigh Clinton’s warmonging and utter lack of diplomatic skills, which would likely endanger my children’s lives.

So, now, having won in part because of his stated desire to get along with the Russians (if not China), President Trump is now eager to sign sanctions against the country and says he will do so as soon as Congress forwards them to him.

I was encouraged when, after the election, Donald Trump decided to get along with China. I figure getting along with other countries is a better choice than not getting along with them and it’s really not our business what they do within their own borders … just as it is not their business what we do within ours.

So, whatever happened to getting along with Russia? Well, the Democrats (and there is increasing evidence that the Obama White House and Hillary Clinton were involved) cooked up an excuse for their anointed queen to have lost the 2016 election. It couldn’t be her hawkish war stance, her lack of any economic understanding, her attacking the women her husband assaulted, or her calling 40% of the electorate irredeemable deplorables. No, it had to be something far more insidious … like Russian operatives “interfering” in the election.

Let’s be clear about this. The backed emails came from Julian Assange of Wikileaks, who has never claimed anyone gave him that information. His organization has proven itself quite capable of doing its own hacking.

Moreover, there is no evidence that our actual election system was hacked. It would be virtually impossible to do so anyway. There are only three states with electronic voting machines. Those have had issues in the past, but an investigation showed they worked fine in 2016. One of the glories of our now-crippled federalist system is that elections are statewide affairs … even for the President of the United States. Ballot box stuffing is possible at the precinct level, but modern election practices would catch most of those.

So Wikileaks released information ahead of the US Presidential election that showed Hillary Clinton in a bad light. It’s recently come to light that Russia was the source for an anti-Trump report that came out around the same time. Both blocks of information served to improve the knowledge of the American public of the inner workings of the two major candidates for president. That’s a good thing! That’s what journalists are supposed to do and don’t. Assange and those mysterious Russian hackers did us a favor by informing us of information we the people had a right to know.

That’s not interference. That’s education.

So, now Trump wants to impose sanctions about Russian for “interfering in the election.” What does that tell us? That he didn’t have a deal with Russia to swing the US election in his favor? Perhaps. But more, it shows that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Instead of being friendly with Russia, President Trump has decided to risk a war with them instead.

Good going, Mr. President. You’ve fallen for the same stupidity that every other president since 1945 has fallen for. Let’s start another war that we don’t have the economic capacity to win. Let’s consume more young lives and end maybe set off World War 3. And, why?

Because, according to the elites in Congress, the American people apparently have no right to know the truth about their candidates, so it’s worth going to war to prevent such “interference” in our elections.

And, of course, journalists stroke the “Russia did it” line because they don’t want the American people to notice that Julian Assange did their jobs for them. But in case you’re wondering – Assange addressed this issue of Russian hacking the day of the election, before we even knew who the winner would be … when most of the opinion polls were showing that Hillary Clinton would be the winner.

https://wikileaks.org/Assange-Statement-on-the-US-Election.html

One Toe over the Line   Leave a comment

I’ve never really been into plays featuring political satire, but I used to be a fan of late-night comedians who poked fun at politicians and politics in general.

I don’t watch many these days. It’s just too vicious and not very funny anymore. Johnny Carson poked fun at every president, regardless of party. Jimmy Kimmel, not so much.

I am a fan of Shakespeare, however, and would love to see Julius Caesar acted live … well, except maybe not the version put on by The Public Theater for this year’s lineup of Shakespeare in the Park. In the modern retelling of the play, the theater group chose to create a clear reference to President Donald Trump as the protagonist. Some friends who live in New York saw that performance and were so shocked by the reference they left the performance.

Image result for kathy gifford trump head“I will not condone any group suggesting that we kill a sitting president,” Dorothy wrote. “I don’t support President Trump, but I won’t support treason either. Of course, they have the right to do what they want … say what they want … but I don’t have to condone it by sitting through their performance.” Dorothy and her husband, long-time devotees of theater, have decided to boycott The Public Theater, not just for this season, but for all future performances.

I’m 99% certain that Dorothy and Gene did not vote for Donald Trump. They both campaigned for Barack Obama on his first outing. I’m not sure about Dorothy, but Gene is a lifelong Democrat who ended his party affiliation when Barack Obama ran for a second term after what Gene, an accountant, thought was an economically appalling first term. He tells me he wrote-in Rand Paul on the 2016 Presidential ballot, which surprised me to no end. The man is in his 70s, changing his electoral preferences because our current system is that broken.

If this play took place in Caesar’s day, it’s likely the members of the theater group would not have lived to hear their reviews. In the weird modern-day world, the New York Times defended the play vigorously, though other media outlets have been more mixed in their response. This is part of the reason I believe we’ve reached a point, both domestically and internationally, where violence has replaced civil discourse.

Certainly the United States is no longer a society of educated (not necessarily schooled) and interested citizens willing to listen to someone else’s viewpoint without retaliating against them in violence and open displays of hatred.

I’m not fan of Milo Yiannopoulos, but I objected to the violence and suppression he faced when he traveled to Berkeley College last year. Students who took issue with Yiannopoulos’ views sought to silence him by attacking the building he was supposed to speak at along with burning objects and hurling debris. Similar behavior occurred when Ann Coulter attempted to speak there, but it also has occurred on other campuses. and even off-campus venues. I”m thinking that wearing a Trump t-shirt outside of a Trump rally is a dangerous thing to do. Universities attempting to encourage discussion of diverse perspectives now look more like totalitarian states rather than places where public discourse is encouraged.

This frightening turn of events most likely will have grave political and social ramifications. This country was founded on the principles of free speech and protection of the right of everyone to speak their minds. Is speech really free when it is designed to silence others? When does free speech become dangerous to society? And, which is more dangerous — the alternative perspectives being silenced or the speech of those trying to do the silencing?

I remember that libel and defamation lawsuits were a big deal when I was a working journalist, but I guess people have given up on countering the outrageous claims of tabloids and inflammatory speech. It appears you can effectively say anything about anyone, public or private, on any platform as long as you don’t intend to act on anything you say and so long as you don’t make someone so mad they take aggressive action against you.

Image result for berkeley riots 2017 imagesBut, hey, Kathy Griffin discovered there are a few faded lines remaining after she posted a sickening photo of President Trump’s decapitated head in her hand. The media actually did chide her for going too far. Still, 50 years ago, that sort of display would have gotten some serious attention by the Secret Service. I suspect had Ann Coulter appeared with an image of Barack Obama’s head in a similar fashion, she would have spent some time in an orange jumpsuit.

The political climate existing today is veering dangerously toward force as a means of silencing opponents rather than a culture of engagement. In an effort to enshrine toleration, a pluralistic culture has decided that the only views that should be tolerated are its own, subject to change with every alteration of their collective opinion.

Frankly, it’s a mentality seen on both the left and the right, across the media, and among voters, although there are some Trump supporters who recently showed a great deal of class. Americans increasingly see government as the means to achieve their ends and have become willing to employ its power to force others to comply.

President Gerald Ford said, “We can disagree without being disagreeable,” but nobody seems to listen to him anymore.

Kathy Griffin’s photo was disagreeable. The Public Theater group’s substitution of a Trump-esque Caesar was disagreeable. Trump supporters who punch out their opposition are disagreeable. There was a time when college students used to riot over the administration refusing to allow a speaker on campus. Now, they employ reverse censorship by silencing others through civil unrest or through public displays of murder. Through these means, they exercise their ability to promote censorship of these individuals and their ideals. And that is incredibly disagreeable.

Aristotle once said, “Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms.” We may be nearing despotism. When people produce public displays of ‘staged’ murder of any American citizen, we are all at risk. Anyone associating with that person has been given a message as to how they and their views are seen. 63 million people voted for Donald Trump. Surely, Kathy Griffin and The Public Theater company don’t want to see them dead too? Or do they?

This is the important question that bears asking. Leaders represent the views of the people who vote for them. We have a framework in this country for the peaceful transition of power and we have enshrined such civil rights as the right to peaceful protest and removal from office by vote. The founders knew there would be people of varying political sentiment living in America. Their design was not for open acts of violence to represent how opposing political viewpoints are viewed.

American and global civil discourse is at a crossroads. We can either accept that violence will rule how we interact with others both from behind the protection of our computer screens or openly in the public square or we can decide to rein in intolerance in the name of tolerance.

Once these types of acts become mainstream it is not long before societies devolve into chaos. Liberty-minded individuals know the power of civil public discourse and education. That is how we spread the ideals of freedom. We must start championing these values. We need to end the violence and hatred before a despot decides to end it for us.

  1 comment

So Rick has been gone for a month on a medical mission to Tanzania, which shows his really lousy timing. And I don’t feel qualified (enough) to analyze the Senate’s new-ish health insurance bill without my doctor-expert. But he found connectivity a few days ago and sent me his thoughts on the subject.

It’s disappointing that big places of Obamacare are left in place and Rick believes the current “repeal” legislation will merely slow the death spiral and not arrest it, but he notes that, for the most part, this is really a Medicaid reformation bill and that is definitely much needed. Block granting Medicaid to the states would improve quality of care and reduce overall costs. We’ve had 20 years of welfare reform to bolster the idea that states do it better than the federal government does.

Critics are savaging this idea, implying that “deep cuts” will hurt the quality of care. Some of them are even engaging in inflamatory and highly inaccurate rhetoric about people dying because of cutbacks. The problem with this is that nobody is proposing to cut Medicaid. Republicans are merely proposing to limit annual spending increases. But just like when Sarah Palin refused to allow the Alaska budget to grow chasing higher oil prices, in the upside-down world of Washington DC budgeting, this counts a “cut”.

The Washington Post contributes to this falsehood with a column explicitly designed to argue that the program is being cut.

…the Senate proposal includes significant cuts to Medaid spending…the Senate bill is more reliant on Medicaid cuts than even the House bill…spending on the program would decline in 2026 by 26 percent…That’s a decrease of over $770 billion on Medicaid over the next 10 years. …By 2026, the federal government would cut 1 of every 4 dollars it spends on Medicaid.

A New York Timesarticle even had a remarkably inaccurate headline as it shares out the dishonest rhetoric, especially in the first few paragraphs.

Senate Republicans…took a major step…, unveiling a bill to make deep cuts in Medicaid… The Senate measure…would also slice billions of dollars from Medicaid, a program that serves one in five Americans… The Senate bill would also cap overall federal spending on Medicaid: States would receive a per-beneficiary allotment of money. …State officials and health policy experts predict that many people would be dropped from Medicaid because states would not fill the fiscal hole left by the loss of federal money.

Here’s a chart showing the truth. The data come directly from the Congressional Budget Office.

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, it’s not a cut if spending rises from $393 billion to $464 billion.

Federal outlays on the program will climb by about 2 percent annually.

If opponents of reform want the program to grow faster in order to achieve different goals, that’s fine (everybody is allowed an opinion), but they should be honest about the numbers.

Of course, there is more than math involved here. There’s also policy.

The Wall Street Journal recently opined on the important goal of giving state policymakers the power and responsibility to manage the program. The bottom line is that recent waivers have been highly successful.

…center-right and even liberal states have spent more than a decade improving a program originally meant for poor women and children and the disabled. Even as ObamaCare changed Medicaid and exploded enrollment, these reforms are working… The modern era of Medicaid reform began in 2007, when Governor Mitch Daniels signed the Healthy Indiana Plan that introduced consumer-directed insurance options, including Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Two years later, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri applied for a Medicaid block grant that gives states a fixed sum of money in return for Washington’s regulatory forbearance. Both programs were designed to improve the incentives to manage costs and increase upward mobility so fewer people need Medicaid. Over the first three years, the Rhode Island waiver saved some $100 million in local funds and overall spending fell about $3 billion below the $12 billion cap. The fixed federal spending limit encouraged the state to innovate, such as reducing hospital admissions for chronic diseases or transitioning the frail elderly to community care from nursing homes. The waiver has continued to pay dividends under Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo. …This reform honor roll could continue: the 21 states that have moved more than 75% of all beneficiaries to managed care, Colorado’s pediatric “medical homes” program, Texas’s Medicaid waiver to devolve control to localities from the Austin bureaucracy.

By contrast, the current system in states that have not moved toward block granting is not successful. It doesn’t even generate better health, notwithstanding hundreds of billions of dollars of annual spending. Both Rick and I have worked in the medical field intersecting Medicaid and we’ve both seen how badly it works. Medicaid is what single-payer health insurance looks like and it isn’t pretty.

Avik Roy explained this perverse result in Forbes back in 2013.

Piles of studies have shown that people on Medicaid have health outcomes that are no better, and often worse, than those with no insurance at all. …authors of the Oregon study published their updated, two-year results, finding that Medicaid “generated no significant improvement in measured physical health outcomes.” The result calls into question the $450 billion a year we spend on Medicaid… And all of that, despite the fact that the study had many biasing factors working in Medicaid’s favor: most notably, the fact that Oregon’s Medicaid program pays doctors better; and also that the Medicaid enrollees were sicker, and therefore more likely to benefit from medical care than the control arm.

First, there are no Medicaid cuts, as the left is asserting, and second, Medicaid as currently operating, does such a poor job that it doesn’t have any effect on health outcomes. If the GOP actually did cut the program, it is entirely likely that people would actually get better care with no insurance at all. But that is not what is being proposed. The administration of Medicaid would move to the states, which was a highly successful improvement to welfare programs in the 1990s and is now working in a handful of states for Medicaid.

So whatever you’re hearing in the news is not news … it’s propaganda, created by those who don’t want to lose their power to control the lives of others.

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