Friday, September 20, 2013

Traitors, Food, Health and the Pope

So much to say…so little time…
A  TRAITOR IN OUR MIDST!  For the past three months Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Marco Rubio have waged a holy war against their more moderate Republican colleagues in the House, goading them into voting to defund Obamacare.  Cruz, Lee and Rubio have targeted moderate Republican districts, run 30 second ads, staged town hall meetings, made hundreds of speeches and issued thousands of press releases; all designed to shame what they referred to as the “surrender monkeys in the House” to stand up and defund Obamacare.  Then, on the very day that Boehner announces that the House WILL do exactly what Cruz, Lee and Rubio have worked so hard to achieve…pass a continuing resolution to defund Obamacare…these three idiots say “never mind.”  The stand before reporters and say that defunding Obamacare is not worth shutting down the government.  They say that it will take at least two more elections to repeal the law.  After weeks of bullying House Republicans to take a politically suicidal vote on principle they say they won’t be able to do the same in the Senate.  Lucy just pulled the football away from Charlie Brown.  Words cannot describe the vitriol now being directed at Cruz, Lee and Rubio from within the Republican caucus.  Over the past three months Cruz, Lee and Rubio have raised their national profile, raised millions for their campaign war chests, added hundreds of thousands of names to their campaign mailing lists…and inflicted irreparable harm on their party.  Democrats are smiling!
HOUSE DEFUNDS FEEDING CHILDREN:  If that sounds like pandering then so be it.  Yesterday the Republican led House voted to strip $39 billion from the food stamp program over the next ten years.  The idea here is to cut government spending, reduce unnecessary waste fraud and abuse and force “those people” to get off the government dole and go to work.  76% of food stamp recipients are elderly, disabled, homeless military veterans and children.  Another 23% are working families that don’t earn enough at their job(s) to take care of their families.  “Those people” make up the remaining 1%.  The number of families on food stamps has risen from 2,000,000 in 2000 to over 6,400,000 in 2011.  This is not a matter of waste fraud and abuse.  This is about the effects of a weakened economy brought about by greed and ineffective government oversight.
REPUBLICANS HAVE A PLAN:  Republicans have railed against the Affordable Care Act since the day the president signed it into law.  We have commented many times that if Republican’s find the law so appalling they should offer a detailed alternative.  We’ll they finally did.  The just released Republican health care plan offers individuals and families who purchase health insurance tax deductions of $7500/person and $20,000/family.  It expands access to tax deferred health savings accounts, permits companies to sell policies across state lines and allows small businesses to join together to seek better rates from insurance carriers.  It also caps damage awards for pain and suffering, emotional distress and similar noneconomic damages at $250,000 unless a state has a higher cap.  First of all let us just say that we appreciate the effort.  It has been a long time coming.  Now let’s have a discussion on the merits.  We imagine that this plan will be well received by those who have a substantive income and money in the bank.  But it fails to take into account the ever increasing numbers of poor, working poor and disabled who don’t have the income to really benefit from a tax credit?  How does it help them buy the coverage they need?  And what of the 30 million who don’t have insurance for whatever the reason.  Under the Republican plan they will still be able to obtain free treatment in emergency rooms while the rest of us pay the bill.  Setting access aside; what about lowering the cost of health care?  Remember, before Obamacare there was bi-partisan agreement that the cost of health care was skyrocketing out of control and presenting a danger to our economy.  We find little effort here to reduce the cost of those services.  Basically this Republican plan is designed to make health care more accessible and affordable for the top 1% wage earners.  It does not control cost and it does nothing to help the remaining 99% of the country.
THERE’S A NEW POPE IN TOWN: …and we like him.  Pope Francis has caused quite a stir in the halls of the Vatican.  In his first interview as Pope, Francis offered a frank assessment of the institution and his place as its leader: “I am a sinner…It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre.  I am a sinner.”  We find his humility, his openness to the gay community, to the role of women in the church, and to returning to the simple teachings of Christ…that being a good person and treating others with kindness and mercy supersedes “small minded rules”…to be a breath of fresh air.  You can find excerpts from the interview below.

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