Clever Senator Mitch has front-loaded “all the sweet stuff and delay[ed] all the painful stuff,” says Nicholas Begley in the Washington Post (quoted by Greg Sargent, Plum Line blog). Tax cuts happen right away, even retroactively, while the deep cuts to Medicaid don’t begin until 2021. Thanks, Mitch, for all the “Better Care.” You are piling up debts no honest man could ever pay off. Whether the harsh Medicaid cuts ever fully go into effect or not, the tax cuts for the rich are designed to be permanent. You have just made our glaring inequalities even worse. Do you really believe this bill increases liberty and freedom–of course you don’t. You know full well from seeing Obamacare work in your own state of Kentucky that, as Josh Marshall summarizes, the ACA “took a pot of money and plugged it into the system to provide secure coverage for a large number of Americans who were neither destitute nor solidly in middle class or who had medical statuses which made it onerous or impossible” to get coverage. “Take away the money and those people all lose their care.” Your version of freedom–or the version you cynically pretend to believe, more likely–is a truly sickening fantasy. Compared with “other” advanced and civilized countries, our taxes are not crushing. The real snowflakes: your greedy donor class.
And against all kinds of evidence, many people still say “give Trump a chance.” I get that trolling “snowflakes” and “elites” is a thrill, but if this bill means Trump is delivering for them, our Country is devolving even faster than I thought, and not in a good way. Trump will not abide blame for any of the carnage and premature death that follows. I do hope that enough people will be hurt or embarrassed or shocked by GOP rapaciousness to bother to vote next year, when everybody, not just the folks in Georgia or Montana or South Carolina, gets a chance to express buyer’s remorse over our sorry bunch of legislators.
Shall we skip all the fake news and go straight to the Senate healthcare–and-by-the-way-big-tax-cut–bill? Will Trump sign this bill, even though it is probably just as “mean” as Paul Ryan’s House bill? Trump managed to appeal in 2016 to both the pro-oligarchy voters and the pro-ochlocracy (endless demands from the plebes) voters. Now he will have to choose. Master brander that he is, he will try to distract and evade blame no matter what, but the McConnellCare bill guts Medicaid in the name of freedom. The struggling Trump voters, and even relatively well-off Trump voters, who think Medicaid only benefits THOSE people are in for a surprise. Maybe not right away, McConnell is figuring not on his watch, but sooner than many voters think, they are going to find their parents kicked out of nursing homes and into their spare rooms, or worse. Will Trump realize before he signs a bill that presidents do get blamed for the consequences of their actions? (Not to mention stuff that they really shouldn’t get blamed for.)
Republicans have persuaded millions of fairly prosperous but more-insecure-than-they-may-know voters that the real governmental problem is “ochlocracy,” or never-ending-demands from the masses of “other” and undeserving people. In fact, the US stands alone among advanced economies in its stingy-and-inefficient-at-the-same-time healthcare system. A universal risk pool could really cut down on overhead costs, but we just aren’t ready to go there yet. Obamacare took several right-of-center (Heritage Foundation before Jim DeMint) ideas and some technocratic ideas and made giant steps toward access to health care, but did not create a robust public option, let alone move toward a Medicare-for-all system. Now the Republicans are on the verge of a huge cutback of healthcare access, and at the same time a huge tax cut for the wealthy.
If you believe we do not have enough inequality of wealth and opportunity, McConnell and Ryan are your guys. If you thought Trump would usher in a golden age of terrific healthcare for everybody, you may be out of luck. Ciao ciao sayonara ochlocracy, hello even-more-rock-solid oligarchy. And Mr. Trump, will he be blamed? I thought he was toast when he disrespected POW John McCain, so what do I know? Prince Harry may say nobody wants to be king, but he doesn’t know our Trump.