–Republicans fall into Obama trap

An alternative to popular faith

04/01/10: (AP) “GOP wary of health law repeal push in fall races”

You read it here, “Republicans are on the wrong side of history.” (Sabotaging health care, March 24, 2010).

As I’ve told you, historically I’ve voted for Republicans, because I’ve felt they better understood the economy. Though they never have been leaders for social improvements, whether Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare or human rights, they traditionally have been strong for business, which benefits everyone. Though they always have had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into anything that smacks of human benefits for the less fortunate, at least a strong minority of Republicans did participate in passing these major intitiatives.

Not this time. An astounding 100% toed the party line. As if that weren’t bad enough, after the vote they all picked up the right-wing mantra, “repeal and replace.” What a horrible, self-destructive plan.

First, repeal isn’t going to happen. As more people see what they receive from the program, they will be less likely to want to give it up. And many of these perks are quite attractive: Millions more people covered, restrictions on dropping people from coverage, no pre-existing health declinations, ability to change jobs without losing your insurance. Even the insurance industry will begin to like it, because they won’t have to spend millions evaluating for pre-existing conditions.

Second, because repeal isn’t going to happen, those voters calling for repeal will become disillusioned with the Republican party for failing to fulfill its pledge. In short, the Republicans will disappoint everyone.

Make no mistake. That 100% vote was an unmitigated disaster, compounded by the failure of Republican leadership to understand what has happened. If each Republican had voted his/her conscience and beliefs, some could have voted for the program “with misgivings,” and the party would have been able to claim it “participated” in one of the great movements in American history.

Instead, for many years and many elections, well into the future, Democrats will be able to throw this in Republican faces — “the party that voted against health care.” The Republican party, by pandering to the extreme right, has positioned itself as a fringe party, left behind in the social march to the future.

And this I regret most. We need the Republican support of business. The Democrats, left to their own whims, will tax, tax, tax, especially business and wealthier Americans, the very ones who supply employment for all and make our economy grow. A one-party Congress will hurt America.

I curse the Republican leaders, who have fallen into Obama’s trap. (As I write this, here arrives yet another “repeal and replace” letter from John McCain.) This Grand Old Party has been McCained, Palined and Fox Newsed into believed and following the strident voices of the religious right.

Remember this Republicans: Those voices may be loud, but they each carry only one vote, just like the more numerous moderate voices. It’s too late to undo that shameful 100% vote, but now is the time to move away from “the party of ‘No.” to the party of progress.

First step: Disavow the McCains, the Palins and the Fox News right-wing panderers. Go to your strength, which is business and jobs. Teach voters that strong business means employment, and employment means wealth. Teach America you know the path to the American dream.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

13 thoughts on “–Republicans fall into Obama trap

  1. Rodger stick to MMT. This analysis is ludicrous.

    1) On history the GOP was much more receptive to the Civil Rights Act. On the others you are correct.
    2) This legislation and the horrible polling it receives is entirely a Dem creation. They chose the path of not seriously involving the GOP because they knew they had the majorities required to pass whatever THEY wanted. So all the crap in this legislation like the Louisiana Purchase or the Cornhusker Kickback (which they expanded) is to BUY Dem votes.
    3) Even after the Scott Brown election (why did he win Rodger?) when all appeared lost, the GOP offered to start from scratch and hammer something out. INSTEAD, Pelosi charged forward and rammed this through.
    4) Look at the polling: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latestpolls/health_care.html
    5) Substantively, the people this helps immediately is a very small number. It will affect many negatively for the next 4 years or so. So when seniors start seeing Medicare slashed but receive no real benefit they are going to be pissed…and they vote.
    6) Lastly, and I know MMT may not care as much about this, the legislation does not address costs. That is what upsets people. Very few people in this country are unhappy with their care. They feel costs are too great. This bill does nothing. So when costs continue to rise, taxes continue to rise, and service gets no better OR worse…what does that leave the Dems with?


    1. What is MMT?

      Re. #1) They weren’t leaders, but “receptive” is good. They actually were receptive on all the social programs, to greater or lesser degree. This receptiveness gave them some cover.

      Re. #2), “They chose the path […]” is the Republican’s story. They claim they were oh so willing to negotiate, but those bullying Dems wouldn’t allow it. Well, perhaps, but I always am suspect of any group that votes 100% for anything. Reminds me of Saddam’s elections, where he reportedly received 100% of the votes.

      It is impossible for a large group of people sincerely to vote 100% for or against any controversial subject.

      Re. #3) “[…]start from scratch […]” A political ploy to derail the process. There was no reason to “start from scratch.” More than a year’s worth of negotiation had already taken place. The Republicans knew that starting from scratch would accomplish nothing the previous year didn’t. They hoped to stall the plan into failure, as an election year gambit.

      But I don’t blame them for playing politics. There was plenty on both sides.

      Re. #4) Your polls were yesterday’s news. They were taken when people didn’t know what the plan offers. Months will pass before people understand it. I am predicting the Republicans will rue the day they voted 100% against it. Apparently, you predict otherwise. We don’t need to argue. In seven months we’ll know who’s right.

      Meanwhile, you will hear less and less of that “repeal and replace” mantra. It’s a dead loser.

      Re. #5) […]”when seniors start seeing Medicare slashed” […] Regular Medicare is not being slashed, but if it is, the seniors will vote Republican in November. I’ll be proved wrong and you’ll be proved right. See how easy this is?

      Re. #6) Every social program has costs. The fundamental question is, should the federal government pay to provide insurance for all Americans without it? Or should we simply let them do without?

      There are two costs Americans should worry about: The premiums and the taxes. If you have been reading this blog, you know I am opposed to all tax increases, because they not only are harmful, but unnecessary. The government neither needs nor uses your tax money.

      I suspect that for the vast majority of people, premiums and taxes will not go up, as a result of the plan. Having said that, the one thing I hate about Democrats is their propensity to tax, tax, tax. And they have no idea why.

      Federal deficits (aka “money created”) are beneficial; taxes are destructive. The federal government should pay for our defense, education, health care and retirement. That’s the purpose of governments.

      Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  2. I should add that Medicare D was a big social program that helped millions (and also Pharma/Ins… just like this bill) and it was GOP. Also, Bush certainly did more than anyone when it comes to the AIDS epidemic in Africa.


    1. Yes, it is a wonderful program, that costs money, and against which, 100% of Democrats did not vote. It will be improved under the new plan, despite the 100% Republican vote.

      Helping foreign AIDS victims also costs money. Why is that O.K., but paying to insure uninsured Americans is not?

      The Republican hero Reagan added to the deficit (for which I applaud him, because it stimulated the economy), and Bush II cut taxes, (for which I applaud him, because it cured the recession Democrat Clinton’s surplus caused).

      Every party has good ideas and bad ideas. This latest Republican vote had nothing to do with ideas, however. It was a political strategy to oppose, oppose, oppose that you will see, failed miserably.

      This is danger time for the Republicans.

      Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  3. MMT=Modern Monetary Theory

    Bill Mitchell, Warren Mosler, etc.

    Rodger I found your two posts on this topic to, in short, imply that GOP never does anything for the social welfare. I was just trying to point out that they have in the past. I also found the prediction/language surrounding the party’s demise incredibly bombastic. Hell, people were saying the same the last year of Bush. Look at all the elections since Obama…GOP for the most part.

    You and I generally agree on all the monetary implications on most things. We disagree on the political strategy, implications, and outcome.

    The fact remains that the Dems couldn’t even get their own to all vote on this bill. The GOP also campaigned on this topic so this isn’t like the early 90s. They weren’t just saying No.

    Let’s revisit in November in short term. In long term this will have no effect on the GOP. They will make their adjustments to the bill during the next few election cycles.


    1. Warren told me he wants to be President. I’d vote for him.

      Re. “[…]GOP never does anything[…]” I said the opposite. I contrasted former GOP parties and this one. In the past, they participated.

      Re.“[…]couldn’t even get their own all to vote on the bill[…]” that was my point. In any large group, it’s impossible for 100% to agree on a controversial subject. Many Democrats voted their belief, despite pressure from the President, Rahm Emanuel et al. I respect that.

      The Republican’s 100% vote demonstrated pure politics, with scant consideration for the bill’s merits. They were little soldiers, marching to the drum of their leaders. I don’t respect that.

      Last election I voted for Mark Kirk, Republican, because I think he is smart and honest. I didn’t choose him so he could be an automatic vote of the RNC.

      Over the long term, political parties do disappear. A party, whose most vocal and cheered leader is Sarah Palin, has problems. This is one time I hope I’m wrong.

      Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  4. Roger the GOP/McCain campaigned on this issue. Yes, they voted against the version they had shoved upon them. Yes there were politics behind that vote…just like all votes.

    But Roger the GOP was voting with the American public. Discount the polls all you want but the fact remains the bill is unpopular and has been for 6 months. I have more respect for a party that reflects the will of their constituents.

    We have our bets in place regarding the outcome.

    The good news is I plan on honoring my bet. I’m a Highland Parker! Would be happy to buy you a beer anytime to discuss MMT. I’m a newbie and trying to get a better handle on it.



    1. Polled people had no idea what was in the plan, and most still don’t. So what did the polled people vote against? They were influenced by the Palin, O’Reilly, Beck scare tactics, to the point that 39% of Americans thought the government should “stay out of Medicare” and another 15% were “not sure.” Think about that!

      There is strong anti-government sentiment these days (example: Tea party), originated by President Reagan, who famously said, “[…] government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” while he expanded government by running the biggest deficits in our history.

      Why pay for Congress if all we need is polls? The public is notoriously fickle when they don’t have the facts. At one time, 69% of Americans favored invading Iraq and 80% favored bombing and sending troops to Vietnam.

      Running a government by polls is cowardly and useless, as are the politicians who cite polls.

      Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  5. Rodger,

    The trouble is that just as 2008 TARP bill was more about bailing out banks than rescuing the economy, the healthcare reform law is really just a health insurance bailout bill. The insurers have no obligation to guarantee issue of coverage of any adult before 2014 (and they’re already fighting the more immediate obligation to cover children) and there is no cost control on premiums before or after 2014. Without cost controls, the individual mandate and the premium “affordability credits” are nothing more than a $500 billion subsidy of the insurance industry.

    There was a bill (HR 193 Americare) on the table that. according to a Commonwealth Fund study, would have provided 100% coverage starting 2011, would not raise taxes. but would reduce National Health Expenditures its first year and every year thereafter (the President’s plan is only expected to cut the rate of increase– bending the cost curve– over 10 years). Alas, the Americare bill would do that by subsidizing coverage through the existing Medicare system, and of course its unthinkable for Congress to “reform healthcare” without first bailing out private insurers.


    1. “[…]100% coverage starting 2011, would not raise taxes, but would reduce National Health Expenditures its first year and every year thereafter[…]”

      I liked the essence of Americare, which was Medicare for everyone. The devil is in the details, however.

      Covering those millions with pre-existing conditions, plus those millions who cannot afford insurance (supposedly 30 million people), by subsidizing them through Medicare, and without tax increases, is mathematically impossible, unless its done the way I’ve been suggesting: Federal deficit spending.

      There is nothing wrong with “bailing out” private insurers, banks, stock brokers, car companies and anyone else, because all this money eventually winds up in the hands of employees. This is a fact lost on many economists, who think money stops with its first use. Money never stops.

      Eventually, all federal spending stimulates the economy. Beowulf, if the federal government had given you $10 trillion last year, we would be fully recovered this year.


  6. Rodge the f’ing Democrats didn’t even know what was in the bill!

    What does Harry Truman have to do with one bill? FYI, I am a big fan of his and actually just finished McCullough’s bio two days ago. I presume Jimmy Carter also had piss poor numbers upon leaving.

    You would have a point if you demonstrated all the wonderful things about the bill and how the GOP had no bill. The bill itself as weak and the GOP offered up its own solutions.

    You harp on the coverage of millions..my girlfriend is an ER doctor. The majority of these millions get healthcare as it is. People don’t die on the street because they don’t have insurance in this country.

    As to the overage of young people. that could actually be viewed as a tax since it forces healthy young people to participate. If they don’t they get fined (taxed).

    Regarding your disdain of FOX and the polling on Iraq, perhaps the polling on Iraq is indicative of the idiots on the left like MSNBC (Olberman, Maddow, etc.).

    I actually think that Bush has a chance to be like Truman or Reagan. Admittedly a long shot but if Iraq comes through and becomes a productive nation it will be because of Bush. Personally I love my Samsung television and South Korea didn’t get to where it is in 5 years.

    “There is nothing wrong with “bailing out” private insurers, banks, stock brokers, car companies and anyone else, because all this money eventually winds up in the hands of employees. This is a fact lost on many economists, who think money stops with its first use. Money never stops.”

    He should of recapitalized consumers rather than banks. This is slow and painful because only automatic stabilizers are keeping the deficit going. The Federal plans have been too slow and top down.

    Payroll tax holiday baby!! I haven’t read enough of your blog but I am guessing you agree.


  7. Hit enter too early sorry. I meant to add that if the Dems had added just a few things on the GOP agenda that the public also supports then I would agree with you if the vote was the same. Perhaps something like tort reform. All those other countries that the Dems point to don’t have a litigation system like ours. At the very basic level a country like the UK has a loser pay all rule. That alone would change the face of litigation in this country.

    As it is, comparing this to a game changer, noble risk like the Marshall Plan or Truman Doctrine seems off key to me.


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