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Friday Talking Points [326] -- A Democratic Economic Platform For Next Time

[ Posted Friday, November 7th, 2014 – 17:14 PST ]

Not a fun week to be a Democrat, was it?

President Obama called the 2010 midterms a "shellacking." He demurred on providing a label for the 2014 midterms, but others sprang into the void. The most notable label so far (the one seemingly most repeated, at any rate) is that Democrats suffered an "ass-kicking" this past Tuesday night. At this point, I won't quibble over terms. Democrats got beat, and they got beat pretty badly.

Some called this election "the Seinfeld election," since it was essentially "an election about nothing." This is somewhat of an oversimplification, but it does point out how the two parties pretty much had a handshake agreement that they weren't going to lay out any sort of economic agenda for average Americans at all, they were just going to fling mud for the entire cycle. Republicans have always been better at flinging mud, and so they won. But they didn't beat any sort of shining Democratic agenda, because it largely didn't exist. If I had to use a television metaphor from Seinfeld, I think I'd have to call it "the Soup Nazi election," because it was mostly anger and pique that drove the voters ("No elected office for you!") than anything else.

Democrats need a coherent message on helping the middle class in today's economy, and they need to all be singing from the same songbook next time around. Many have pointed this out, but what I'm going to do in the talking points section of today's column is to take the idea one step further and lay out what I think Democrats should consider running on next time around. The 2016 election will have a presidential contest, so it should be easier for Democrats to rally around one platform (assuming the Democratic nominee articulates this platform, of course). This is the platform I'd humbly suggest they use. But more on that in a bit.

The inside-the-Beltway punditocracy is doing what it always does after an election (these days, at least), proclaiming that a spirit of "gettin' stuff done" now prevails across Washington, with wide-eyed predictions that Congress and the president will now start working together for the betterment of all. Insert your own "What are they smoking now that weed's legal in DC, and how can I get some?" joke here, as it would be entirely appropriate.

My prediction of what will get done in Washington in the next year is: not much. Or maybe: the barest of minimums. Other than a few minor issues that Republicans and Obama already agree upon, my guess is that there will be no grand bargains struck. There's a very simple reason why I feel this is true, and it is that the Republicans don't have a whole lot of motivation to get a lot of things done. For better or for worse, any large changes are going to be laid at the feet of President Obama (as President Clinton is still held responsible for welfare reform, for instance), and included as part of his "legacy." Are Republicans really all that eager to add to the Obama legacy? Probably not.

That's the big picture, but the smaller picture shows the same thing. Republicans in Congress just won a smashing electoral success by essentially doing nothing but mercilessly block Obama's agenda. That, to put it another way, is a winning formula for them with their base voters. Many Republicans -- including many who will be running for president in 2016 -- are going to be goading the Republican Party to just coast for two more years on absolute obstructionism, after which (they will say) Republicans will capture the White House and hold onto both houses of Congress. Why mess with a good thing?

Republicans don't really have much of an agenda, other than being against stuff. Obamacare? They're against it. What do they want done instead? Nobody knows, because the House has not acted, despite Republicans holding the majority for the last four years. Immigration reform? They're against that, too. What would they do instead? Again, no bill from the House. On issue after issue, Republicans have skated on being against everything Democrats are for, without ever having to put on the table what they'd do instead. This is because they know that the minute they do propose something, a large portion of their own party is going to be obsessively against it.

The House is the place to look if you want to see how things are going to work in the next two years. John Boehner can't get anything done not because President Obama won't compromise with him, but because his own Tea Partiers won't compromise with him -- not one tiny bit. So why should we expect Mitch McConnell to have any better luck over in the Senate? McConnell is not only going to have to attempt to corral unruly Tea Partiers (as Boehner has been doing), but with the added complication that a number of them will be actively running for the presidency next year (Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul, to name just three off the top of my head). Each potential candidate will be trying to stake out their own absolutist position on every single issue, and you can bet that they're not going to be interested in compromising with President Obama, Senate Democrats -- or even Mitch McConnell. Their campaign theme -- for all of them -- will be: "Why settle now for a compromise? If you just vote for me we can have all of what we want after 2016 -- no retreat, no compromise, no surrender!"

This dynamic will begin immediately, next January. But Democrats shouldn't become complacent, either. It is true that the in-party/out-party situation has flipped, and a good way for the out party to get in the news is to strongly fight against what the in party is trying to do. This is going to include filibusters and vetoes galore, one assumes, and I am certainly not advocating that Democrats fail to make as much political hay out of these fights as they possibly can (hey, it just worked pretty well for Republicans, didn't it?). But at the same time, Democrats have to be for things too, not just against everything the Tea Partiers are dreaming up.

President Obama, if he keeps his promise this time, is going to lead the way on this front. He will be announcing a new immigration and deportation policy in the next few weeks. This is going to enrage Republicans, which is actually all to the good. The more extreme things Republicans say about both Obama and immigrants, the better it will be for Democrats in 2016. Will the House finally fall into the impeachment trap? It's a distinct possibility, especially since John Boehner's "sue the president" idea is dying a slow death already. Will some Republican House members say some highly offensive things about Latinos? That's pretty much a certainty. Will the House pass immigration legislation? Highly doubtful, unless it is a "deport them all" bill to appease the Tea Partiers.

President Obama knows full well that the House Republicans are never going to act on their own. A bipartisan bill (which received a whopping 68 votes) passed the Senate -- a year and a half ago. John Boehner swore he wasn't going to bring the Senate version up for a vote, because the House was going to act on its own and force the Senate and the president to accept their plan for immigration reform. A year and a half went by, and nothing happened in the House. Nothing is precisely what is going to happen in the House on the issue in the lame-duck session. Absolutely nothing would have been what the House would have done on the issue for the next two years -- whether Obama acts or not. It's pretty funny to hear John Boehner threaten that "if Obama acts, the House will do nothing," since it is such an empty threat -- nobody in their right mind thinks the House is going to do anything anyway.

But Democrats who want to win back Congress and retain control of the White House in 2016 need more than just immigration reform to convince the American public that they have a bright vision for the future of America. Running on the bleakness of the Republican vision for the future is just not good enough. You've got to tell the people what you'd do to help them, and you've got to be extremely specific. It's refreshing to hear Democrats offer platitudes about income inequality, but then they rarely follow up this high-flown rhetoric with any actual concrete plans which will help a waitress, a firefighter, a teacher, or a blue-collar worker live a better life for themselves. The psychological economic malaise in the country is pretty deep right now, yet neither party even attempts to tap into this by offering people a vision for how their lives could be improved.

Democrats need to fill that vacuum with a few tempting ideas for the middle class. It's not that hard to do, as there are so many issues which bring widespread feelings of economic insecurity. After we quickly take care of this week's awards, our talking points this week show one possible path towards a platform Democrats should be able to easily embrace. The country is just waiting to hear a few good ideas, and they're tired of nobody even bothering to do so -- that's my own takeaway from this week's elections, at any rate.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

There's really only one option for Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week: Senator Jeanne Shaheen from the great state of New Hampshire, who was pretty much the only Democrat in a tight race who prevailed at the voting booth this year. Shaheen was targeted early on because Republicans thought it'd be an easy seat for them to pick up. Fortunately for her, Republicans then nominated carpetbagger Scott Brown, fresh off being defeated in a Senate race in Massachusetts.

For winning a tough race when all other Democrats lost theirs, for keeping a New England Senate seat firmly in Democratic hands, for providing one bright spot on the map last Tuesday night, and -- most of all -- for the fact that we won't have to write the words "Senator Scott Brown" ever again, Jeanne Shaheen is the only possible winner of this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week. Congratulations!

[Congratulate Senator Jeanne Shaheen on her Senate contact page, to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Um... the Democratic voter base, who refuse to turn out for midterm elections?

Snark aside, there were certainly plenty of candidates to choose from in the "disappointing" category this week. Of these, the biggest standout was probably Senator Kay Hagen, because Democrats knew that if the news from either New Hampshire or North Carolina was bad on election night, the news for the rest of the states would also likely be pretty dismal. Hagen losing North Carolina was the bellwether for how the rest of the election played out, in other words.

But Hagen's race was always going to be close -- everyone knew that. Instead of giving the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week to one of the candidates or incumbents who lost their Senate races this week, though, we're going to give it to a Democrat who actually won his race, after his challenger just conceded today. Because Senator Mark Warner's race in Virginia wasn't supposed to even be close. He was supposed to waltz to victory over a has-been Republican political consultant, Ed Gillespie. He didn't. The race turned into one of the closest (if not "the closest") of the night. It was today before the race was definitively called, in fact. And nobody saw it coming.

So even while we congratulate Senator Warner for squeaking out a win, we also have to award him the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week, for how close he came to losing what was supposed to be an easy race for Democrats. We realize this is perhaps contradictory (and perhaps controversial), but Warner was the one who put the fear of double-digit Republican Senate gains into the picture on Tuesday night, so we're standing by this decision.

[Contact Senator Mark Warner on his Senate contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 326 (11/7/14)

This week's talking points are not going to be the usual septet of suggestions for Democrats to use to explain their political positions and explain their take on the news from last week. It's kind of pointless to do so, really, after the 2014 midterm elections.

Instead, this week's talking points are aspirational. This is, to put it another way, what I wish Democrats would say, and say soon. Democrats complain that Republicans didn't lay out much of an agenda in the election. True, but then Democrats didn't do much better, really. There was plenty of fearmongering on both sides, and very little positive vision for the future.

The most important issue of those going to the polls in 2014 was the economy. Democrats need to present their vision of how the American economy can work better for the middle class, because they are losing all hope of any positive change from either political party. Democratic politicians sometimes seem shocked to realize that the public doesn't realize that they are the ones who have fought for the middle class, but much of this fighting is rather remote from the average person's life. This is a polite way of saying the people are always interested in the "What have you done for me lately?" question. Liberals and progressives have won every improvement in the workingman's life for the past century? Fine and good -- but where do we go from here?

In this past election, for instance, raising the minimum wage should have been the defining issue of every single Democratic candidate out there. It should have been a national push by all Democrats to absolutely define the two parties by their stance on this issue alone. Would Democrats have been successful in pushing all other issues off the table? No, but they might have at least put the spotlight on one of theirs, instead of playing defense against all the Republican issues.

That's just one example. Democrats have been wringing their hands over "income equality" and the growing gap between the shrinking middle class and the one percent, but they have been notably silent when it comes to proposing any plans to solve the problem. Now, income equality is a big and complicated issue, so what I'm proposing is to set forth an agenda which at least gives the little guy a bit of help. Make the lives of the middle class a little easier, and you will reap political support as a direct result. Instead of "what have you done for me lately," lay out what Democrats will do in the future, if enough of them are elected.

There are dozens of economic policies to choose from that would make the lives of the middle class easier. I've picked seven, mostly for their wide appeal across party lines, but also for being directly connected to the average salary-earner's life. This avoids getting into the weeds of federal actions which might have a broad effect on the American economy, but which are not felt very much by average people. I should admit that the last one might not completely fit this description (because it does require some charts to show what is going on), but it's long been a bugaboo of mine so I tossed it in anyway.

So, here's my positive economic message for the future, presented as talking points (these need no individual introduction this week, I should mention). I heartily encourage all Democrats to consider running the next time around on just such a platform.

 

1
   Minimum wage hike, with COLA

"Democrats want to raise the federal minimum wage, Republicans fight to keep it below a living wage. Democrats believe that anyone working full time deserves not to be below the poverty line. This is really a form of corporate welfare, because a full-time worker at a major corporation's store can make so little that they need food stamps or other public assistance just to survive. This means the taxpayers are paying what the corporation should be paying that worker. I find that outrageous, personally. Why should the taxpayers have to subsidize someone who works hard and puts in a long day -- why shouldn't he or she be earning enough to put food on the table for their family? This is not even a partisan issue -- the voters are overwhelmingly supportive of raising the minimum wage, no matter where you go in America. In 2014 -- in the midst of a very Republican election -- four states voted to raise their minimum wage. Despite all four being deep red Republican states, all four measures easily passed -- by a vote of 55 percent in South Dakota all the way up to a whopping 69 percent in Alaska. Not only will Democrats fight to raise the minimum wage everywhere in this country, we demand that such a raise have a cost-of-living adjustment built in. If we add a so-called 'COLA' to the minimum wage -- the same way Congress did with their own pay a few decades ago -- then we will never have to have this political fight again. If the minimum wage rose gradually over time, then we wouldn't find ourselves in this situation every decade or so. If getting a yearly COLA is fine for congressmen, then it should also be fine for the hardest working Americans out there. Raise the minimum wage. And add a COLA on the side."

 

2
   Paid sick leave

"California and a few other states are showing what Democrats can do for working people, because paid sick leave is now mandatory there for employers. Democrats realize that hard-working American men and women are now sometimes forced into the agonizing choice of staying home to care for a sick child (and losing a day's pay), or going to work anyway because otherwise you won't be able to buy food (all while worrying about the sick child alone at home). This scenario happens every day for millions across this country, and it is wrong! Democrats will push for a federal law which mandates paid sick leave for every worker in the country. Every paycheck you get, you will earn a few more hours of paid sick leave which you can take in an emergency. This will benefit everyone, because who really wants someone making their lunch in a sandwich shop who is too sick to really be working? That counterperson now loses pay if they do the right thing by staying at home when they're sick. We think that's just flat-out wrong. Democrats will fight to make paid sick leave universal -- for both part-time and full-time workers."

 

3
   Paid vacation leave

"America is supposed to be an exceptional country, with our economy leading the rest of the world. But you know where we fall woefully short? We have no mandatory paid vacation leave for our workers. Pretty much every other industrialized country on the face of the planet mandates a certain amount of paid time off for every worker, every year. Democrats will fight for a federal law making paid vacation leave mandatory for all workers. Why should American workers not enjoy two weeks of paid time off every year? Even three weeks wouldn't be excessive. In some of Europe, five or six weeks is the law -- for every fast-food worker, for every janitor, for every receptionist. American workers are getting shafted, to put it bluntly. With corporate profits and Wall Street stocks at an all-time high, it's pretty hard for Big Business to argue that it'll hurt the bottom line. The 'one percent' might not be able to rake off such enormous profits if everyone got two weeks of paid vacation leave, but you know what? I'm actually OK with that."

 

4
   Cap credit card rates

"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has already saved American consumers billions of dollars, but Congress needs to give it a stronger tool to protect average Americans. Democrats are in favor of a new usury law which would place a cap on the interest rate credit card companies could legally charge. Say, ten percentage points above the prime rate. We can quibble over the exact point to fix such a cap at, but what should be obvious is that this change is necessary. Credit card companies are currently charging rates that would make a loan shark blush. This is ripping off the American consumer, and it needs to be reined in. Credit card companies and the big banks will howl, but I am willing to bet that they'll continue making a big profit after the change -- I'm not too worried about their bottom line, instead I am worried about the bottom line of someone with a credit card with a 29 percent interest rate. That is simply too high, and it needs to be changed."

 

5
   College tuition fully deductible

"Democrats are proposing a major change in tax policy, one which every parent across this country will loudly applaud. We want to make every dollar spent on college tuition fully deductible on your income taxes. Middle class families struggle with college costs, which have risen at a mind-boggling rate. Even with financial aid, middle class parents are still expected to foot a whopping portion of the costs of college. We think that every dollar spent on a child's education should not be taxed on your income tax form. That is money invested in the future -- in your child's future and in the future of America. It is hard enough for parents to pay for college and this would make their lives a little bit easier. How could anyone be against making college tuition fully tax deductible?"

 

6
   Charity fully deductible

"Charity begins at home, and Democrats want to make it easier for Americans to give money to worthy charities. Charitable givings should be fully deductible on every American's income taxes -- and not just those who itemize their deductions, either. Money you donate to your local church or synagogue, donations to the Red Cross or disaster relief, to the A.S.P.C.A. or animal rescue organizations -- money donated to whatever non-profit causes each American chooses -- should all be tax deductible. All of it. If a waitress gives 25 bucks to Planned Parenthood or a suburbanite donates to a megachurch in Texas, they should be able to write such donations off in full. Democrats want to make one change to the income tax forms -- move charitable donations from Schedule A to Form 1040 -- which will mean all charity will be fully deductible for all American workers, because we think it's the right thing to do."

 

7
   Scrap the cap on earnings

[One note on this one: I created the charts below in 2012, so all figures quoted, including the actual cap amount, are slightly off (the cap has slowly been moving upwards each year) from where they will be for the 2014 income tax season -- but by such a minute amount that the difference would only even be visible on the first of these charts. In 2012, the cap was at $110,100, and it will be $117,000 for 2014. The basic concepts are the same, however.]

"Why should you pay ten times the tax rate a millionaire pays? How does that make sense? Democrats want to reduce the rate of payroll taxes for ninety-four percent of American workers, by making the other six percent pay the same as everyone else.

"This requires some explanation. Right now, Social Security taxes on earnings are 'capped.' This means that once you make a certain amount of money -- just over $100,000 -- you stop paying anything at all on the rest of your wages. So here is a chart of what this means, for people who make up to $150,000 a year:

Social Security Tax By Income

"Everyone right up to the cap pays 6.2 percent. But you'll notice the dropoff at the cap -- someone making $150,000 a year is paying only 4.6 percent of their earnings as tax. This shouldn't seem fair to anyone, but it gets far, far worse when you expand the chart. Here is a chart of people making up to a million dollars a year:

Social Security Tax By Income

"Someone making a cool million a year winds up paying only 0.7 percent tax. While firefighters and nurses are paying 6.2 percent. The chart gets truly obscene when you expand it into the real 'one percent' -- all the way up to a $100 million a year:

Social Security Tax By Income

"At five million a year, you're paying less than 0.1 percent tax. At 75 million, you're paying less than one one-hundredth of a percent -- 0.009, to be exact. OK, now, everyone who thinks this is fair, please raise your hand. Nobody? That's what I thought.

"Democrats will save Social Security and we will not do so by cutting benefits or raising retirement ages. Not only will we make the trust fund solvent for the next 75 years by scrapping the cap on earnings, we can bring down the tax rate for 94 percent of American workers at the same time. We can guarantee that we will reduce the rate for everyone to at least a flat six percent, which will put some more money in a lot of people's pockets, every paycheck. Why should your CEO be paying a tiny fraction of the tax rate you must pay? It sounds insane, and it is. Democrats will fix this gross inequality by scrapping the cap altogether -- so your CEO is paying the same rate on earnings as you are."

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

88 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [326] -- A Democratic Economic Platform For Next Time”

  1. [1] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    What with the Orangeman already waving red flags like a drunken fool and McConnell already poisoning the well, I just don't see how we can expect to see any bipartisan cooperation. I think they're pretending.

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    There's a very simple reason why I feel this is true, and it is that the Republicans don't have a whole lot of motivation to get a lot of things done.

    I disagree...

    Republicans have a HUGE motivation for getting things done...

    It's called the 2016 Presidential Election..

    Look at it this way...

    We have had 6 years of nothing but acrimony and political agenda and bullshit with the country left in tatters...

    Sweep the GOP into power up and down the board and suddenly this country is turned around and everything is going good...

    No motivation to get things done?? Shirley you jest?? :D

    Michale

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    JFC,

    I see ya survived yer drinking binge.. :D

    What with the Orangeman already waving red flags like a drunken fool and McConnell already poisoning the well, I just don't see how we can expect to see any bipartisan cooperation. I think they're pretending.

    Ahhhhh A big steaming plate of fried crow, courtesy of Michale, with a side order of sour grapes..

    Eat up, my friend. You've earned it... :D

    Michale

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    Republicans in Congress just won a smashing electoral success by essentially doing nothing but mercilessly block Obama's agenda.

    You have to ask yourselves...

    WHY did Republicans win such a Nuclear Shellacking simply by blocking Obama's agenda??

    Say it with me now...

    Because the American people are overwhelmingly AGAINST Obama's agenda....

    Immigration reform? They're against that, too. What would they do instead? Again, no bill from the House.

    This is simply not factually accurate...

    The House is fully supportive of the Senate Immigration reform legislation..

    But they need assurances from Obama that he will faithfully execute the legislation AS IT IS WRITTEN...

    To date, Obama has refused to give such assurances... Simply put, Obama CANNOT be trusted...

    So, the onus is on the President, not House Republicans...

    and a good way for the out party to get in the news is to strongly fight against what the in party is trying to do. This is going to include filibusters and vetoes galore, one assumes, and I am certainly not advocating that Democrats fail to make as much political hay out of these fights as they possibly can (hey, it just worked pretty well for Republicans, didn't it?).

    So, you are advocating that Democrats be.... oh I can't say the "O" word!! Oh what the hell..

    OBSTRUCTIONIST!!????

    And there isn't any incongruity by advocating such action for Democrats when the Republicans were slammed unmercifully for the last 6 years for that very same action???

    Michale

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    Running on the bleakness of the Republican vision for the future is just not good enough.

    Really???

    Apparently, Republicans ran on the bleakness of the Democrat vision of the future and did a bang-up job, eh?? :D

    Basically your entire FTP this week can be summed up in one way..

    "Democrats, keep talking about what you have always been talking about and that will win in 2016."

    To which I say, "RIGHT ON!!!" YES!!! Democrats keep doing the same ole same ole and it will guarantee a GOP government like the one Democrats had in 2009... :D

    Michale

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    "If you don't like my policies, go out there and win an election"
    -Barack Obama, Oct 2013

    Your wish is the American people's command, Mr President :D

    Michale

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Democrats want to raise the federal minimum wage, Republicans fight to keep it below a living wage.

    Minimum wage jobs are NOT supposed to be living jobs... They are stepping stones jobs...

    It's utterly ridiculous to think that a guy or girl flipping burgers should make as much as a first year police officer or make MORE than our service men and women..

    Utterly.... Ridiculous..

    Here's a thought... If people want a better paying job, let them WORK for it!!

    What a concept, eh!!!????

    Michale

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    So even while we congratulate Senator Warner for squeaking out a win, we also have to award him the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week, for how close he came to losing what was supposed to be an easy race for Democrats. We realize this is perhaps contradictory (and perhaps controversial), but Warner was the one who put the fear of double-digit Republican Senate gains into the picture on Tuesday night, so we're standing by this decision.

    I'll grant you that Warner is deserving of a shame-down..

    But I have (what I think is) a much more appropriate awardee of the MDDOTW award...

    "I'll be very very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans. It's been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader. It's not always been a good place for women to present ourselves."
    -Soon-To-Be FORMER Senator Mary Landrieu

    For playing the race card and sexism card because she has nothing else to run on, I think Landru is deserving of the MDDOTW award...

    REMEMBER THE ARCHONS!!! :D

    Michale

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/223434-report-dnc-to-launch-top-to-bottom-review-of-midterm-strategy

    Oh look... Democrats are going to do an "Election Autopsy"...

    Sound familiar?? :D

    I have a suggestion for Democrats..

    Care more for Americans than you do for illegal immigrants...

    Work harder for Americans than you do for immigrant criminals..

    Care more for your country and less for your Party...

    Democrats will find that things like that works wonders... It seems to work for Republicans...

    Just a thought....

    Michale

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Democrats have been wringing their hands over "income equality" and the growing gap between the shrinking middle class and the one percent, but they have been notably silent when it comes to proposing any plans to solve the problem.

    CW,

    perhaps that is why the public didn't trust democrats, didn't get enthused, and didn't get to the polls. i recall mentioning this concern a few weeks ago, vis-a-vis your column proposing a victory lap for marriage equality. dems have been fighting and winning culture war issues, which is admirable. however, as thomas frank points out, those issues are much more motivating to the right, who are in a constant state of backlash over degrading what they see as traditional values. meanwhile, as you say, dems have been silent on the issues where the majority of the population actually support their views - namely, economic issues.

    democrats claim to support the poor and middle class, and don't follow through (perhaps because that is not the source of most of their campaign funds). even obamacare, for all its fanfare, essentially nipped around the edges and left intact the explotative core of the health care industry. when democrats get out front and make a firm commitment to make the uber-rich pay the same percentage as the rest of us for social security, then maybe people will believe that they mean it and vote for them in an election without a new president on the ballot.

    that not being the case, all the dems have left is social issues, where their greatest advantage lies among the young (and less likely to understand or vote in midterm elections). further, claiming to support the middle class economically and then doing a pro-corporate about-face on fiscal and labor issues erodes support among the "professional left," who generally do understand policy and get to the polls for midterms. as a democrat, i do wish the elections this week had gone differently. but given the duplicitous triangulation of the pro-corporate democrats and the unapologetic enthusiasm of the pro-corporate republicans, is it any wonder that people swung back to the group who showed commitment to their cause, however misguided it might be?

    JL

  11. [11] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    was my comment eaten by the comment monster?

  12. [12] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Democrats have been wringing their hands over "income equality" and the growing gap between the shrinking middle class and the one percent, but they have been notably silent when it comes to proposing any plans to solve the problem.

    CW,

    perhaps that is why the public didn't trust democrats, didn't get enthused, and didn't get to the polls. i recall mentioning this concern a few weeks ago, vis-a-vis your column proposing a victory lap for marriage equality. dems have been fighting and winning culture war issues, which is admirable. however, as thomas frank points out, those issues are much more motivating to the right, who are in a constant state of backlash over degrading what they see as traditional values. meanwhile, as you say, dems have been silent on the issues where the majority of the population actually support their views - namely, economic issues.

    democrats claim to support the poor and middle class, and don't follow through (perhaps because that is not the source of most of their campaign funds). even obamacare, for all its fanfare, essentially nipped around the edges and left intact the explotative core of the health care industry. when democrats get out front and make a firm commitment to make the uber-rich pay the same percentage as the rest of us for social security, then maybe people will believe that they mean it and vote for them in an election without a new president on the ballot.

    that not being the case, all the dems have left is social issues, where their greatest advantage lies among the young (and less likely to understand or vote in midterm elections). further, claiming to support the middle class economically and then doing a pro-corporate about-face on fiscal and labor issues erodes support among the "professional left," who generally do understand policy and get to the polls for midterms. as a democrat, i do wish the elections this week had gone differently. but given the duplicitous triangulation of the pro-corporate democrats and the unapologetic enthusiasm of the pro-corporate republicans, is it any wonder that people swung back to the group who showed commitment to their cause, however misguided it might be?

    just askin'

    JL

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    Oh look... Democrats are going to do an "Election Autopsy"...

    Sound familiar?? :D

    I have a suggestion for Democrats..

    Care more for Americans than you do for illegal immigrants...

    Work harder for Americans than you do for immigrant criminals..

    Care more for your country and less for your Party...

    Democrats will find that things like that works wonders... It seems to work for Republicans...

    Just a thought....

    Michale

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    was my comment eaten by the comment monster?

    It seems to like the taste of URLs... If you had a URL in your comment, try replacing the long URL with a tinyURL..

    I have found that it helps..

    Michale

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    Oh look... Democrats are going to do an "Election Autopsy"...

    Sound familiar?? :D

    Wasserman Schultz said the new committee, whose membership will be announced in the coming weeks, will look at the party's tactics, messaging, get-out-the-vote operations and digital efforts in recent nonpresidential elections. The group plans to report back in February at the DNC's winter meeting.

    You see the point??

    "tactics" are the problem...

    "Messaging" is the problem...

    "get out the vote" is the problem...

    NONE of those are the problem...

    The problem for Democrats is that the American people just aren't buying anymore what the Democrats are selling..

    In 2008, the Democrats promised the country a utopia where everyone is excellent to each other... The promised an economic paradise where no one wants for everything.. The promised a country at peace and no more war..

    What did they deliver??

    More wars.. Incompetent leadership... Racial strife even BIGGER that it was. Joe and Jane Sixpack's lives WORSE than before.. A Party in power that pits American against American for the benefit of non-American criminals..

    THAT is the United States Of America under Democrat rule...

    By all means, Democrats.. Ignore the REAL problem your Party has... Such concentration on the irrelevant will only insure a GOP POTUS and a larger GOP Congress in 2016....

    So, have at it....

    Michale

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    JL,

    I have been thinking about what you have been saying...

    If I understand you correctly, what you are saying is that the American people WANT the Democrat Party agenda, they just don't trust THIS Democrat Party to give it to them...

    In other words, today's Democrat Party is NOT the Democrat Party that ya'all believe in...

    Now, if THAT is indeed what you are saying, then I don't have a problem with that.

    Mainly because that's what *I* have been saying since I voted for Obama and he was found wanting...

    Today's Democrat Party is NOT what ya'all want in a Democrat Party...

    We are in complete agreement..

    Michale

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Mainly because that's what *I* have been saying since I voted for Obama and he was found wanting...

    Today's Democrat Party is NOT what ya'all want in a Democrat Party...

    We are in complete agreement..

    Just to make sure we're clear..

    I agree with you that this Democrat Party can't be trusted to follow thru with the agenda ya'all want...

    I still disagree that the Nuclear Shellacking Of 2014 wasn't about the policies of President Obama.

    It clearly was...

    Obama himself even said so...

    Michale

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    Whoooaaaa

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/president-vp-may-differ-immigration-strategy-obama-angrily-cut-biden_818457.html

    Looks like Biden is not on board with Obama's Amnesty For Criminals program...

    Even within Obama's own Administration, people are thinking it's a bad idea...

    Michale

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Looks like Biden is not on board with Obama's Amnesty For Criminals program...Even within Obama's own Administration, people are thinking it's a bad idea...

    Completely false.

    It is with no quantum of sadness, Michale, that I must point out, once again, that you have failed - purposefully, I hasten to add - to accurately comment on a news article you, yourself, cite.

    This is precisely why the comments sections are becoming nothing more than the 'Michale Show' - which is really disappointing, considering that the American Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

    Hopefully, this situation won't deter robust participation in the annual CW.com fund-raising drive. I, for one, have a new and very simple strategy for contributing to this premier blog site.

    And, just for the record, I don't read all of the comments anymore like I used to. I just responded to this one because that's what I do when Biden's name comes up in the usual, if tiresome, derogatory manner. :)

  20. [20] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    I remember when you wrote about the 'Scrap the cap on earnings' a few years ago and thinking how brilliant it was!

    Here's what I don't get - why on earth are Democrats not talking about this and, more importantly, showing these charts?!

    Okay, that's not really a serious question. But, still, that would be one sure fire way of demonstrating what distinguishes Democrats from Republicans and of providing a stark choice for voters which might improve voter turnout.

    Of course, that presumes that there really is a difference between the policies prescribed by Democrats and those by their Republican colleagues.

    And, there lies the rub ...

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    Completely false.

    Ya know... Usually when someone makes such a bold-faced proclamation like that, they back it up with... ya know... FACTS....

    I have the reported testimony of "several" eyewitnesses who were present at the meeting and witnessed the exchange..

    Now, if you have any facts to counter that.... By all means.. Go fer it... :D

    And, just for the record, I don't read all of the comments anymore like I used to. I just responded to this one because that's what I do when Biden's name comes up in the usual, if tiresome, derogatory manner.

    Derogatory???

    "WhatchutalkinaboutWillis???"

    It wasn't derogatory whatsoever... I was APPLAUDING Biden for having more than an ounce of common sense and actually APPEARING to put Country before Party...

    That's almost UNHEARD of in... ya know... a DEMOCRAT!!

    Here's what I don't get - why on earth are Democrats not talking about this and, more importantly, showing these charts?!

    Because Democrats don't WANT to "scrap the cap"... They make too much $$$ by the status quo...

    Of course, that presumes that there really is a difference between the policies prescribed by Democrats and those by their Republican colleagues.

    Geeee... WHO, amongst us, has been saying that EXACT same thing for going on 10 years now??? :D

    Michale

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    "WhatchutalkinaboutWillis???"

    Oh carp!!! Now I am gonna get slammed for being a racist!!! :D

    Michale

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Ya know... Usually when someone makes such a bold-faced proclamation like that, they back it up with... ya know... FACTS....

    Say what!?

    Now, you're not telling me that you didn't actually read past the headline of the article you cited and purported to comment on, are you???

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    You accused Biden of being disloyal to the President of the United States when he is nothing of the sort.

    The day that Joe Biden even hints of disloyalty to the president is the day that Biden resigns. Don't hold your breath.

    I call that being derogatory.

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, worse than that, Michale, you are being dishonest.

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Oh carp!!! Now I am gonna get slammed for being a racist!!! :D

    Hardly.

    But, you are doing wonders for your own credibility ... if you know what I mean and I truly believe that you do.

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    You accused Biden of being disloyal to the President of the United States when he is nothing of the sort.

    I was applauding Biden for being loyal to the American people against a President who is anything but...

    Sheet, even when I single out a Democrat for an "atta boy!!" I am a bad guy! :D

    The day that Joe Biden even hints of disloyalty to the president is the day that Biden resigns. Don't hold your breath.

    The day that Bidens takes a stand against the moronicness and incompetence of President Obama (as he did there) is the day I buy him a beer... :D

    Michale

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:
  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I was applauding Biden for being loyal to the American people against a President who is anything but...Sheet, even when I single out a Democrat for an "atta boy!!" I am a bad guy! :D

    Try as you may, Michale, I will never believe that you are that obtuse. :)

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Damn.

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    I just wish that Democrats were as passionate about loyalty to their country as you are about loyalty to Obama...

    We wouldn't be in the mess we're in now if they were..

    Democrats would not be in the mess they are now if they were...

    Michale

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    Try as you may, Michale, I will never believe that you are that obtuse. :)

    Apparently, I am because I haven't a clue what yer talking about.. :D

    Michale

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    The mark of a country's leadership is how his/her enemies see them...

    The rest of the world, and China in particular, sees Mr Obama as a weak leader in the autumn of his presidency. China-watchers say Mr Xi’s ebullience since he took power has been spurred by the view that Mr Obama has only a limited window in office. After that, Hillary Clinton, or a Republican, will take over. Either would be tougher on the world stage than Mr Obama. Even if that is wrong, Mr Xi has shown Mr Obama little respect since their first summit in California last year. Mr Obama warned his Chinese counterpart to stop the cyber attacks on the Pentagon and other targets. China’s cyber-incursions increased. Earlier this year, the White House indicted five Chinese nationals for cyber-espionage, including a senior military officer. None are likely to be brought to trial. It was the kind of empty gesture Beijing has come to expect of Mr Obama.
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/eea501ba-6528-11e4-91b1-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz3If9Dd3cU

    A leader must be respected and a little bit feared to be effective...

    Obama is laughed at...

    2016 simply cannot come fast enough..

    Michale

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    For Obama, no midterm lesson — and no compromise in sight
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/nov/9/joseph-curl-for-obama-no-midterm-lesson-and-no-com/

    What have always said??

    For Obama and the Democrats "compromise" means "Do it our way or we'll do it anyways."

    Some compromise...

    Michale

  35. [35] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Please forgive, but I can't resist a mini rant.

    Plutocrats and Replutocans:

    That's the persistent trend line of the two party system in the United States. Always has been, with some changes in slope. The Constitution was devised by slave holders and slave traders... products of the mercantile triangle dealing in molasses,slaves and rum, if I remember 4th grade history accurately. It's in our political DNA.

    CW highlights modest reforms that would significantly help the average citizen.

    Yet, behind the scenes, under cover of smoke and mirrors, Obama is still pushing the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership. Which seems suspiciously NAFTA like to me. As in "Sucking Sound 2." Or maybe a Reverse Treaty of Nanking.

    What with recent reversals, maybe this is a good time for Democratic rank and file to ever so politely demand a bit more from their "representatives." CW's 7 points seems a good start.

    The Supreme Court's Dickinsonian reply to those seeking to moderate the institutionalized political bribery known as "campaign finance" in 11 seconds:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZrgxHvNNUc

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    woo hooo!! a rant!!! :D

    products of the mercantile triangle dealing in molasses,slaves and rum,

    "Why is the rum always gone?"
    -Captain Jack Sparrow

    :D

    Yet, behind the scenes, under cover of smoke and mirrors, Obama is still pushing the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership. Which seems suspiciously NAFTA like to me. As in "Sucking Sound 2." Or maybe a Reverse Treaty of Nanking.

    How do you like your POTUS now??

    He's also suggesting that the Internet would be better regulated if it were classified as a utility...

    Yea, turning something over to government control.. WHAT could go wrong???

    What with recent reversals, maybe this is a good time for Democratic rank and file to ever so politely demand a bit more from their "representatives."

    I have been saying that for almost a decade... Why start now??

    I love your rant!! :D

    Michale

  37. [37] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    since my earlier comment seems permanently eaten and unlikely to return, let me just summarize:

    I wrote a couple weeks ago on the "victory lap" entry that democratic victories on social equality have obscured their awful performance on economic equality. perhaps last week's election is evidence that my concerns were well-founded.

    JL

  38. [38] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    If I understand you correctly, what you are saying is that the American people WANT the Democrat Party agenda, they just don't trust THIS Democrat Party to give it to them...

    yup, that's pretty much it. i would expand that point to say that the democratic party's economic agenda is much more popular than their social agenda. don't get me wrong, i'm all in favor of marriage equality and the right to abortion and contraception. but those are culturally divisive issues. in essence, dems have been winning on the issues that motivate their opponents and going directly against their purported goals on issues where their official stance is the most popular. mix that in a capital-shaped bowl, cook on high for six years, and voila, republican majority!

    JL

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    But what you describe is a self-fulfilling prophecy of mass suicide...

    Let's take your position that the majority of Americans actually support the Democrat agenda...

    Yet, they overwhelmingly and unequivocally put into power, on a MASSIVE scale, leaders who actively fight AGAINST that agenda...

    Thereby leading to the all-but death of the Democrat Party as a viable force...

    Americans are many MANY things, but suicidal is not one of them.. Neither are they bat-shit crazy, as I pointed out before...

    Now, consider another interpretation...

    6 years ago MANY Americans (myself included) were fed up with the incompetence of the Republican party... Add to that frustration, a charismatic rising star who made his utter lack of qualification his best selling point... We elected this guy PRECISELY because he wasn't qualified...

    "Aye, fer sure, you have to be lost to find a place that can't be found, elseways everyone would know where it was."
    -Barbossa

    We reasoned that, if a man is not qualified to be President, that makes him the PERFECT choice for President, because it was "qualified" people who got us into this mess...

    Now, 6 years later, reality has set in... Every American has buyer's remorse...

    So, now the vast majority of Americans are saying simply "The Democrats way is not working. Let's give the other guys a chance again. Maybe they have learned their lesson and will put Country before Party. Gods know, Democrats aren't doing that."

    In other words, Americans were convinced 6 years ago that maybe, JUST MAYBE, the Demcorat agenda will work..

    Now, they know that it DOESN'T work...

    So, now it's time to give the other guys a try...

    On the one had, you have an interpretation that defies all logic and reason...

    On the other hand, you have an interpretation that is logical, rational and, above all else, takes into account the fickle nature of the American people. Fickle... Not bat-shit crazy....

    Employing Occam's Razor, it appears that the latter explanation is the simplest and, therefore, more likely to be accurate...

    Irregardless of whether you accept Door #1 or Door #2, in the here and now, the Democrat Party agenda is dead...

    Will it resurrect in 2016?? Probably not...

    Because, the DP will make their agenda like Bernie and will parade it around as if nothing has changed...

    But, like Bernie, eventually it will start stinking up the place...

    What it all boils down to is that Democrats have to change their MESSAGE, not their messaging...

    I said the exact same thing in 2010 and 2014 proved me right beyond all expectations I thought possible...

    Democrats better learn this quick. Else all Republicans have to do is find someone who will run a disciplined campaign in 2016 and it will be lights out for the Democrat Party for at least 8 years...

    Michale

  40. [40] 
    TheStig wrote:

    M-33

    "How do you like your POTUS now??" The rant is about is about the Constitution and a system of political and economic power hoarding that derives from it. It's about a money pump that mostly serves 400 families in the US. But since you ask, B-. As I have said many times, to be interested in politics is to know disappointment.

    "Yea, turning something over to government control.. WHAT could go wrong???. "Broadband" and Cable for two things. Monopolists have carved up the markets, leaving the consumer with high prices, mediocre service and no alternatives. Teddy R. got it right. Big government is the only effective check against big corporations. Were it not so, but it is.

    "I have been saying that for almost a decade... Why start now??"

    I've been saying this for better part of three decades now....and for some reason the slide continues.

  41. [41] 
    TheStig wrote:

    M- 33.

    Re Obama. Look at my choices. Old Man McCain (with a side of Loopy Lady) in 2008. Bigus Dickus Romney (and Eddy Munster) in 2010.

    From Douglas Adams:

    “On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”

    “Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”

    “I did,” said Ford. “It is.”

    “So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”

    “It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”

    “You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”

    “Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”

    “But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”

    “Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in.”

    I was afraid the wrong lizards would get in...and stand by my decision. At least I've got health insurance.

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    "How do you like your POTUS now??" The rant is about is about the Constitution and a system of political and economic power hoarding that derives from it. It's about a money pump that mostly serves 400 families in the US. But since you ask, B-. As I have said many times, to be interested in politics is to know disappointment.

    And yet, ya still keep voting for the same disappointment over and over again..

    In short, you try the exact same thing over and over, hoping to get a different result...

    The very definition of insanity...

    Put another way...

    You vote Democrat because they say the right thing but do the wrong thing...

    You won't vote Republican because they say the wrong thing and MIGHT do the wrong thing...

    So, it seems to me that the ONLY logical course of action is, if Democrats are screwing you over time and time and time again, maybe it's time to go with something new...

    THAT is the entire problem... Ya'all think that DEMOCRAT way is the ONLY way and that, as long as ya'all vote Democrat, EVENTUALLY something good MIGHT come of it...

    Is that logical???

    Michale

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:
  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    I was afraid the wrong lizards would get in...and stand by my decision. At least I've got health insurance.

    OK.. YOU got health insurance that you don't have to pay an arm, a leg and your next born for...

    What about the Americans who have health insurance so crappy that they can't afford to go to a doctor...

    Where is that famed compassion that liberals are famous for???

    Michale

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    What about the Americans who have health insurance so crappy that they can't afford to go to a doctor...

    Where is that famed compassion that liberals are famous for???

    What about the people who LIKED their insurance and lost it after it was promised they could keep their insurance???

    Aren't they Americans too???

    The problem is Democrats only care about those who think like they do.... Anyone else can go frak themselves..

    That's not the America that I grew up in or fought and bled to defend...

    If there is ONE sentiment that can express the Obama Era it's "MY WAY OR THE HIGH WAY"....

    And ya'all STILL think that Democrat is better than Republican...

    Despite ALL the evidence to the contrary...

    Michale

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    Obama prepares to defy voters' will -- again
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/article/2556001

    This is why the Great Nuclear Shellacking Of 2014 happened and THAT is why there will be an even BIGGER shellacking in 2016...

    Because Obama and Democrat leaders insist on putting their own agenda before the will of the American people..

    The American people by an overwhelming 78% majority want Obama to concentrate on JOBS and the ECONOMY...

    But Obama and Democrats put their own agenda first..

    TrainWreckCare
    Global Warming (Yet There Ain't No Warming)
    Amnesty For Immigrant Criminals

    Those things and so much more, are way way WAY down on the American people's list of priorities...

    But they are at the very top of Obama's and Democrat's priorities...

    And THAT is why Democrats were decimated in 2014..

    And THAT is why Democrats will be again, decimated in 2016...

    You heard it here, first...

    Michale

  47. [47] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    But what you describe is a self-fulfilling prophecy of mass suicide...

    that's precisely what the clinton/obama strategy seems to be - placate the campaign donors, underwhelm the base and rev up the opposition. a second ago you were agreeing with me about this.

    If I understand you correctly, what you are saying is that the American people WANT the Democrat Party agenda, they just don't trust THIS Democrat Party to give it to them...

    especially on issues of economic equality.

    JL

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:

    If I understand you correctly, what you are saying is that the American people WANT the Democrat Party agenda, they just don't trust THIS Democrat Party to give it to them...

    If this is true (which I am not convinced it is) then the solution is obvious...

    Ya'all quit voting Democrat until the Party is willing to do your bidding..

    I think me and David have gone round and round on this issue..

    Michale

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    that's precisely what the clinton/obama strategy seems to be - placate the campaign donors, underwhelm the base and rev up the opposition. a second ago you were agreeing with me about this.

    I agree that THAT is what Democrats are doing..

    I DON'T agree that it's what the American people are doing..

    The American people aren't stoopid.. Well, usually they're not..

    The American people won't vote politicians into office that would fight against the very agenda that you claim the American people support...

    At worst, the American people will allow the status quo...

    But the message the American people sent to the Democrat Party was clear, unambiguous and unequivocal...

    "YOUR PRIORITIES ARE NOT OUR PRIORITIES.. CHANGE YOUR WAYS OR THE SHELLACKING WILL CONTINUE AND GET WORSE"

    Michale

  50. [50] 
    Michale wrote:

    I agree that THAT is what Democrats are doing..

    I DON'T agree that it's what the American people are doing..

    But I am more than willing to concede that you MIGHT be right...

    It's just that the evidence is not sufficiently convincing yet..

    Michale

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:

    Obama to Chinese President: I Want to 'Take the Relationship To a New Level'
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obama-chinese-president-i-want-take-relationship-new-level_818897.html

    "Yer not..... sleeping with it, are you??"
    -Peter Venkmen, GHOSTBUSTERS

    :D

    Michale

  52. [52] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Yer not..... sleeping with it, are you??"
    -Peter Venkmen, GHOSTBUSTERS

    http://sjfm.us/temp/GB2.mp4

    :D

    Michale

  53. [53] 
    Michale wrote:

    In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass… Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not."
    -Jonathan Gruber, Obamacare architect

    There you have it.. Straight from the horse's mouth..

    Low Information (a nice way to say "stupid") voters is what was needed to pass TrainWreckCare...

    TrainWreckCare will not survive this final SCOTUS ruling..

    Anyone wanna make any wagers?? :D

    Michale

  54. [54] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    TrainWreckCare will not survive this final SCOTUS ruling..

    Ironicaly for you Michale, Chief Justice Roberts will find a way - legally and politically - to save Obamacare, once again ... because he understands, as well as anyone else, how a stupid SCOTUS decision can negatively impact his legacy for time immemorial.

  55. [55] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    On a related note, do you understand the basics of how an insurance pool, in general, and a healthcare insurance system, in particular, works toward achieving an overall outcome where everyone benefits?

  56. [56] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ironicaly for you Michale, Chief Justice Roberts will find a way - legally and politically - to save Obamacare, once again ... because he understands, as well as anyone else, how a stupid SCOTUS decision can negatively impact his legacy for time immemorial.

    The problem with that scenario is that it's only a small minority of Americans who would think that such a ruling would be "stupid"... And THOSE would be the people who are profiting BIG $$$ from the abomination...

    The vast majority of Americans would applaud such a ruling...

    Michale

  57. [57] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The vast majority of Americans would applaud such a ruling...

    Well, I seriously doubt that they'll get the chance.

    Instead, I think it will be time for you to resign yourself to the fact that Obamacare is the law of the land, is helping millions of Americans and will help many more, and, to be sure, will be improved over time.

  58. [58] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well, I seriously doubt that they'll get the chance.

    That's because you are not aware of the circumstances which prompted the SCOTUS to take the case...

    There was absolutely NO REASON for the SCOTUS to take the case.. There wasn't a SINGLE rulings of all the full Federal Court rulings that were in conflict.. Each full Federal Court upheld the position of the IRS...

    So, if the SCOTUS was going to rule in favor of the IRS, there is absolutely NO REASON for the SCOTUS to take the case..

    The simple fact that the SCOTUS *DID* take the case, indicates at least FIVE Justices are prepared to rule against the Administration...

    TrainWreckCare's days are numbered.. This much is certain...

    Michale

  59. [59] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale, you make a good point. No, you make a very, very good point. :)

  60. [60] 
    Michale wrote:

    Michale, you make a good point. No, you make a very, very good point. :)

    Why, thank you! :D Thank you very much..

    Now, playing my own Devil's Advocate, there IS a chance that one of the 5 will have their minds changed by the arguments...

    But considering that the administration hasn't had too much success of late in the SCOTUS, I would say it's 80-20 that TWC will not survive..

    At least, the Federal Subsidies won't...

    Michale

  61. [61] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Now, playing my own Devil's Advocate, there IS a chance that one of the 5 will have their minds changed by the arguments...

    I predict that the fifth vote in favour of the law will be that of the Chief Justice, himself. He has a record, you know. :)

    I also think he's going to enjoy making the plaintiff's lawyer(s) squirm as they try to make their utterly frivolous case. Oh, to be a (cockeyed optimistic) fly on the wall ...

  62. [62] 
    Michale wrote:

    But that still begs the question..

    Why agree to hear the case to save the law when it doesn't need saving??

    The **ONLY** reason to hear the case is to support the plaintiffs and rule against the administration.

    There is absolutely NO OTHER REASON to hear the case. There wasn't any conflict in the lower court rulings...

    So, the only logical conclusion is that the SCOTUS has 5 members who disagree with the lower court's rulings and they took the case to make it right...

    Michale

  63. [63] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    All of that would make sense, Michale, if the case being heard wasn't so wholly lacking in merit.

  64. [64] 
    Michale wrote:

    I predict that the fifth vote in favour of the law will be that of the Chief Justice, himself. He has a record, you know. :)

    Or, maybe the Chief Justice feels so guilty about how he could have stopped the monstrosity the first time and failed to do so.. Seeing what an incompetent train wreck of a mess Obamacare is, he has had a change of heart on the viability...

    That makes more sense considering the facts... :D

    Michale

  65. [65] 
    Michale wrote:

    JL,

    I meant ta ask ya...

    How did your Father-In-Law like the elections??? :D

    Michale

  66. [66] 
    Michale wrote:

    All of that would make sense, Michale, if the case being heard wasn't so wholly lacking in merit.

    The case ONLY has "lack of merit" if you ignore words, meanings, common sense and the stated intent of the designers of the law at the time i was implemented...

    Like I said, the simple fact that the SCOTUS even took the case is a pretty solid indication as to how they are going to rule...

    Michale

  67. [67] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm afraid to say, Michale, that, once again, you are flat-out wrong.

    The plaintiff's completely spurious argument is that state subsidies are A-Okay but federal subsidies are not. They are taking a phrase out of context and extending meaning to it that was most decidedly NOT intended by the drafters and designers of the law.

    There is a simple way to fix this, you know. Congress just has to amend the wording to make explicit their intent that Americans who qualify for subsidies can avail themselves of this support whether they are enrolled in a state exchange or a federal exchange.

    It really does go without saying that this is the case. It just makes no sense at all that this law would provide for subsidies in a state exchange but not in a federal exchange. That would be called defeating the purpose and intent of the law.

    What plausible argument could possibly be made by the plaintiffs in this case? Quite simply, there is no plausible argument.

  68. [68] 
    Michale wrote:

    The plaintiff's completely spurious argument is that state subsidies are A-Okay but federal subsidies are not. They are taking a phrase out of context and extending meaning to it that was most decidedly NOT intended by the drafters and designers of the law.

    They are not taking a phrase out of context.. It's plain english..

    And the designer of the law is quoted AT THE TIME saying that the idea behind separating the subsidies and making them ONLY for states is to FORCE the states to set up their own exchanges..

    It really does go without saying that this is the case. It just makes no sense at all that this law would provide for subsidies in a state exchange but not in a federal exchange. That would be called defeating the purpose and intent of the law.

    It makes PERFECT sense if the idea is to force states to set up their own exchanges, which is EXACTLY what the intent was, as quoted by one of the architects of the law...

    What plausible argument could possibly be made by the plaintiffs in this case? Quite simply, there is no plausible argument

    The argument I just made above...

    But you have to ask yourself..

    If there is no case on behalf of the plaintiffs, WHY did the SCOTUS take the case, if there was no case??

    The ONLY logical and rational explanation is that the SCOTUS feels the lower courts ruled wrong and they are going to make it right...

    Michale

  69. [69] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Show me where the architects of the law made their intention clear that the federal exchange would be excluded from the subsidy option.

  70. [70] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ask and ye shall receive.. :D

    Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who helped design the Massachusetts health law that was the model for Obamacare, was a key influence on the creation of the federal health law. He was widely quoted in the media. During the crafting of the law, the Obama administration brought him on for consultation because of his expertise. He was paid almost $400,000 to consult with the administration on the law. And he has claimed to have written part of the legislation, the section dealing with small business tax credits.

    After the law passed, in 2011 and throughout 2012, multiple states sought his expertise to help them understand their options regarding the choice to set up their own exchanges. During that period of time, in January of 2012, Gruber told an audience at Noblis, a technical management support organization, that tax credits—the subsidies available for health insurance—were only available in states that set up their own exchanges.

    A video of the presentation, posted on YouTube, was unearthed tonight by Ryan Radia at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank which has participated in the legal challenge to the IRS rule allowing subsidies in federal exchanges. Here’s what Gruber says.

    What’s important to remember politically about this is if you're a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits—but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that's a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this. [emphasis added]
    http://reason.com/blog/2014/07/24/watch-obamacare-architect-jonathan-grube

  71. [71] 
    Michale wrote:

    Words have meanings and bow to no political master...

    Michale

  72. [72] 
    Michale wrote:

    On January 10, 2012, in a speech at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Gruber said that "by not setting up an exchange, the politicians of a state are costing state residents hundreds and millions and billions of dollars....That is really the ultimate threat, is, will people understand that, gee, if your governor doesn't set up an exchange, you're losing hundreds of millions of dollars of tax credits to be delivered to your citizens."

    What more do ya need???

    Michale

  73. [73] 
    Michale wrote:

    IF WORDS MEAN ANYTHING, OBAMACARE IS IN REAL TROUBLE
    The Supreme Court will rule on whether the IRS can ignore the text of the law.

    http://spectator.org/articles/60918/if-words-mean-anything-obamacare-real-trouble

    This is why TrainWreckCare is going to die an ignoble death...

    Michale

  74. [74] 
    Michale wrote:

    Illegal Immigrant Drunk Driver Hits And Kills 3-Year-Old Waiting For Ice Cream
    http://dailycaller.com/2014/11/11/illegal-immigrant-drunk-driver-hits-and-kills-3-year-old-waiting-for-ice-cream/

    Once again... Obama and the Democrat policies and agenda result in the death of a child...

    Michale

  75. [75] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale

    What Gruber said doesn't make a lot of sense. And, in fact, he has recently said that he made a mistake by saying that only states that set up exchanges would have premium subsidies available.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/26/us/politics/ex-obama-aides-statements-in-2012-clash-with-health-act-stance.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3As%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A10%22%7D

  76. [76] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    From the link above,

    Mr. Gruber backed away from his comments on Friday. But the remarks embarrassed the White House and could help plaintiffs in court cases challenging the payment of subsidies in 36 states that rely on the federal exchange.

    “I made a mistake in some 2012 speeches in describing the tax credits,” Mr. Gruber said in an email on Friday. “It is clear from all my writings and modeling that I did over this same time period that tax credits are assumed to be available in all states. This is the only sensible reading of the Affordable Care Act and is corroborated by every single person who helped craft the law.”

    I guess we'll see next summer how the SCOTUS interprets the applicability of the subsidies within the context of the healthcare law as a whole and whether or not they will instruct Congress to change the language of the law to make it more explicit with respect to availability of subsidies in the federal exchange.

  77. [77] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Here's another link that goes a long toward explaining Gruber's mistake ...

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/07/24/watch-obamacare-architect-jonathan-grube

  78. [78] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Wait, that's the link you provided, Michale!

    Don't tell me you didn't read your own link, again. :)

  79. [79] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    What Gruber said doesn't make a lot of sense. And, in fact, he has recently said that he made a mistake by saying that only states that set up exchanges would have premium subsidies available.

    OF COURSE he said he made a mistake!!

    But it doesn't change the fact that intent is clearly established..

    Clinton said "I made a mistake" when he got caught with Lewinksy...

    That doesn't change the facts...

    I guess we'll see next summer how the SCOTUS interprets the applicability of the subsidies within the context of the healthcare law as a whole and whether or not they will instruct Congress to change the language of the law to make it more explicit with respect to availability of subsidies in the federal exchange.

    But you overlook the one damning fact that simply CANNOT be explained except by one explanation..

    The SCOTUS took the case even though there was no lower court conflict..

    That right there is a pretty good indicator on how the court is going to rule..

    But yer right.. We'll know for sure in June.... I lay the odds at 20% that TrainWreckCare's subsidies will survive...

    Michale

  80. [80] 
    Michale wrote:

    “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. Call it the stupidity of the America voter, or whatever.”
    -Gruber

    Gruber made a mistake saying that as well..

    Doesn't mean that's not how he feels...

    With regards to his claims on the subsidy, Gurber's mistake is not that he wasn't accurate. He was. The law is clearly worded..

    Gruber's mistake is that he SAID it...

    Because now his own words will doom TrainWreckCare..

    Yer right. It was a mistake. A HUGE mistake...

    Michale

  81. [81] 
    Michale wrote:

    The election is finally over in Alaska....

    No surprise, the GOP took it...

    I called that one.. :D

    So, the election results sits as follows:

    Democrats lost 8 seats and gained 0 seats.

    Republicans lost 0 seats and gained 8 seats.

    The 2015 Congress sits at 53 GOP 46 Dem & Ind.

    LA is an interesting race.. Democrats in Congress are considering actually VOTING on and approving the Keystone Pipeline to help Landru defeat the Archons.. :D

    Once again, proving that the Democrat Party is actually the Hypocrite Party...

    It really won't matter. Landru is finished in Louisiana... Even if she manages to win (by hook or by crook), the GOP will still control the Senate...

    "It's a great day to be alive, I know the sun's still shining when I close my eyes"
    -Tim McGraw

    :D

    Michale

  82. [82] 
    Michale wrote:

    LA is an interesting race.. Democrats in Congress are considering actually VOTING on and approving the Keystone Pipeline to help Landru defeat the Archons.. :D

    Once again, proving that the Democrat Party is actually the Hypocrite Party...

    It's rather ironic, eh??

    Democrats won't approve the pipeline, even though it will mean over 50,000 new jobs for Americans..

    But, when ONE job, just one measly job, is at stake, the job of a Dem Senator???

    Well, THAT's different!! THAT's important!!!

    Democrats... {{eyeroll}}

    Michale

  83. [83] 
    Michale wrote:

    GOP Image problem??

    Gallup: Dems plunge to record low
    http://www.politico.com/story/2014/11/poll-democrats-favorability-low-112809.html

    Ya'all wish!!! :D

    Michale

  84. [84] 
    Michale wrote:

    Just hit me..

    There should be a law...

    When a President is elected, he divorces himself from ANY political affiliation.. He doesn't campaign for his Party, he is not the leader of his Party, he gives up any and all Party affiliation. He (or she) is not a Democrat, is not a Republican, they are simply PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

    PERIOD...

    What ya'all think???

    Michale

  85. [85] 
    Michale wrote:

    Hearings floated as Hill Republicans seize on Gruber Obamacare comments

    Jordan said House Republicans have been sending each other a blizzard of e-mails and text messages this week, and he expects the interest in "bringing [Gruber] up here to talk" will gain traction as members return to Washington. House Republicans will gather Thursday evening for their first series of votes since the election.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/11/12/hearings-floated-as-hill-republicans-seize-on-gruber-obamacare-comments/

    Looks like Gruber's comments will be front and center very soon..

    Give him a chance to explain why what he said then is diametrically opposed to what he is saying now...

    Michale

  86. [86] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    When a President is elected, he divorces himself from ANY political affiliation.. He doesn't campaign for his Party, he is not the leader of his Party, he gives up any and all Party affiliation. He (or she) is not a Democrat, is not a Republican, they are simply PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

    PERIOD...

    What ya'all think???

    that happened once already. the president's name was george washington, and historians consider him one of the top three presidents ever. however, there's no consensus on causality. maybe washington's greatness was further enabled by his refusal to affiliate with a political party, or maybe his refusal to affiliate with a party was only possible because of his already-epic greatness.

    JL

  87. [87] 
    Michale wrote:

    that happened once already. the president's name was george washington, and historians consider him one of the top three presidents ever. however, there's no consensus on causality. maybe washington's greatness was further enabled by his refusal to affiliate with a political party, or maybe his refusal to affiliate with a party was only possible because of his already-epic greatness.

    So, there IS precedence to think that it might actually be GOOD for the country...

    We should give it a try... :D

    I would venture to say that, at the time of his election, Obama was thought to have that "greatness"....

    Maybe if he had shown the integrity of Washington, we wouldn't be where we are at now, eh??

    Food for thought...

    Michale

  88. [88] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    So, if the SCOTUS was going to rule in favor of the IRS, there is absolutely NO REASON for the SCOTUS to take the case..The simple fact that the SCOTUS *DID* take the case, indicates at least FIVE Justices are prepared to rule against the Administration...

    I just learned that it only takes FOUR Supreme Court Justices to decide in favour of taking a case, not five. And, so, it is quite possible - I would argue, very probable - that the Chief Justice wanted no part of this undertaking and will, in the end and once again, save Obamacare.

    This should, at the very least, temper your bubbling certainty regarding the demise the Affordable Care Act.

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