Medicaid

Michigan Medicaid Waiver

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 16/05/2018 - 10:00am in

The State of Michigan Legislature is applying for an ACA Waiver as I pointed out in my post Why States Should Not Be Allowed to Alter the ACA with Waviers This is a relief valve for “counties” with high unemployment. In effect if Michigan counties have a high unemployment rate (8.5% or above), the unemployed […]

Alex Jones Claims KKK Full of ‘Black Who Hate Other Blacks’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 14/05/2018 - 11:56pm in

More madness from the ever fertile mind of real conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. In this short piece from Sam Seder’s Majority Report, Seder and his friends chuckle over Jones’ pronouncement that, ‘at the mid-level, the KKK is full of Blacks, who hate other Blacks’. Jones begins by lamenting how the globalists are using race to divide America. After making this absurd statement, he then goes to comment how the Democrat party repeatedly screws Black people over, ‘but they keep voting for them anyway’.

Apart from pointing out the impossibility of Blacks joining a White supremacist organisation, which does not allow Blacks to join, Seder and the others go on to joke about the glass ceiling that must exist in Klan. After all, Jones’ comment makes it seem as if Blacks just get stuck in mid-management after joining the Klan, and can’t rise higher.

Jones is, of course, talking massive rubbish. He’s also wrong about the Democrat Party. They were the more right-wing party of the two before 1968, when Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights legislation, and the acts for Medicare and Medicaid. At that point they moved left, and to gain votes, the Republicans then adopted the ‘Southern Strategy’ to gain the votes of disaffected, racist Whites.

But Jones isn’t alone in promoting this weird view of history in which the Democrats have always been right-wing racists. The Republicans are trying to promote this view generally, and I’ve seen it parroted on sites like Kathy Shaidle’s Five Feet of Fury. It’s another part of their attack on the Left that asserts that Nazism is a form of Socialism.

Galbraith: Is This the End for the Deficit Drones?

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Public opinion is turning on those who seek to cut our social safety net.

In wars, sometimes there comes a moment when the tide turns. The collapse of Ludendorff's offensive in 1918 presaged the Armistice;  failure in the Ardennes meant the end for Germany in 1944.  

Today we have two drone wars in a similar state. One is mainly in Pakistan. Built on a gee-whiz technology that can't do what it promised, this war has claimed too many victims for too little effect. It is a diplomatic disaster and its days are numbered, almost surely, for that reason.

The other drone war is in Washington. The drones are in groups with names like the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and Campaign to Fix the Debt. They drone on, and on, about the calamities that await unless we cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

That the goal of the deficit drones is to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid has been plain for years to anyone who looks at where the money comes from. It comes largely from Peter G. Peterson, a billionaire former secretary of Commerce under Nixon, who is Captain Ahab to Social Security's Moby Dick. And when one trick, such as privatization, falls flat, his minions always have another, whether it's raising the retirement age or changing the COLA. But a cut by any other name is still, and always, just a cut.

Peterson's influence is vast; practically the entire DC mind-meld has bought his line to some degree.   

The other day I was on CNBC, supposedly to discuss the debt ceiling, but the topic was Social Security all the way. My host, Andrew Ross Sorkin, was very blunt: “If now isn't the time to cut entitlements,” he asked, “when would be?” My answer – in a word, never – is not one he seemed to have thought possible before.

Yet there is no good reason to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. These are insurance programs. They keep the elderly, their survivors and dependents, and the disabled, out of dire poverty. We can afford this. There is also no financing problem; if there were, investors would not be buying 20-year US bonds at 3 percent. These days when some economists say that cuts are needed, they say it's only for show – to establish “credibility.” Old-timers may remember, that's what DC insiders once said about the war in Vietnam.

And like Vietnam, this war is getting old. We're beginning to realize, we don't need it. If the United States really faced some sort of deficit or debt crisis, something would have happened by now. Simpson and Bowles – those brave men who were going to lead us toward budget balance – who remembers them? The super-committee? The fiscal cliff? All gone. Yet Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are still here. The economy is still stable. And interest rates are still low. The debt ceiling? On that, the president stood up and the Republicans gave way.

It's true that the sequesters and the continuing resolution lie ahead. But if you are going to refuse blackmail over the debt ceiling, why yield to it on anything else? The blackmailers must know by now which side the public will take.

And then on Monday we heard from President Obama. As part of his great speech, which settled so many questions, he gave a little economics lesson. Here's what he said:

“The commitments we make to each other — through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security — these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”

This is exactly right. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are not merely a transfer from the young. They are part of the fabric of our lives. They free us all – every single one of us, young and old  – to be less worried, less fearful, a bit more independent, and a little less cautious than otherwise. Certainly old people are better off when they have a regular income and health insurance. But working people are also better off, directly and indirectly, every day.

There are some, like Mr. Peterson and his allies, who don't like this. Their motives are plain. But now the president seems to have made his choice. The word he used was “commitment.” Again, exactly so. That's what Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are. President Obama  took a great step, when he said so.

Now it's time for Congress to stand with him, to say no to blackmail, no to fake fixes, no to disguised cuts, no to fear -- and no to those deficit drones.  

James K. Galbraith is the author of “Inequality and Instability:  A study of the world economy just before the Great Crisis.”   He teaches at the University of Texas at Austin.

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6 Reasons the Fiscal Cliff is a Scam

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 23/11/2012 - 3:53am in

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The so-called "fiscal cliff" is a mechanism for rolling back Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Stripped to essentials, the fiscal cliff is a device constructed to force a rollback of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as the price of avoiding tax increases and disruptive cuts in federal civilian programs and in the military.  It was policy-making by hostage-taking, timed for the lame duck session, a contrived crisis, the plain idea now unfolding was to force a stampede.

In the nature of stampedes arguments become confused; panic flows from fear, when multiple forces – economic and political in this instance – all appear to push the same way.  It is therefore useful to sort through those forces, breaking them down into separate questions, and to ask whether any of them justify the voices of doom.

First, is there a looming crisis of debt or deficits, such that sacrifices in general are necessary?  No, there is not.  Not in the short run – as almost everyone agrees.  But also: not in the long run.  What we have are computer projections, based on arbitrary – and in fact capricious – assumptions.  But even the computer projections no longer show much of a crisis. CBO has adjusted its interest rate forecast, and even under its “alternative fiscal scenario” the debt/GDP ratio now stabilizes after a few years.

Second, is there a looming crisis of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, such that these programs must be reformed?  No, there is not.  Social insurance programs are not businesses. They are not required to make a profit; they need not be funded from any particular stream of tax revenues over any particular time horizon.  Reasonable control of health care costs – public and private – is necessary and also sufficient to keep the costs of Medicare and Medicaid within bounds.

Third,  would the military sequestration programmed to start in January be a disaster?  No, it would not be.  Military spending is set in any event to decline – and it should decline as we adjust our military programs to our national security needs.  The sequester is at worst harmless; at best it's an invitation to speed the process of moving away from a Cold War force structure to one suited to the modern world.

Fourth, would the upper-end tax increases programmed to take effect in January be a disaster?  No, they would not be.  There is no evidence that the low tax rates on the wealthy encourage them to spend or invest, no evidence that higher tax rates would deter the spending and investment that they might otherwise do.

Fifth, would the middle-class tax increases, end of unemployment insurance and the abrupt end of the payroll tax holiday programmed for the end of January risk cutting into the main lines of consumer spending, business profits and economic growth?  Yes, over time it would.  But the effects in the first few weeks will be minimal, and Congress could act on these matters separately, with a clean bill either before the end of the year or early in the new one.

Sixth, what about all the other cuts in discretionary federal spending?  Yes, some of these would be very damaging if allowed.  Simple solution: don't allow them.

In short, Members of Congress: if you can, just pass the President's bill on middle-class taxes, and, if you can, eliminate the domestic sequester. Then, please go home.  Enjoy the holidays. Come back in January prepared to extend unemployment insurance, to phase out the payroll tax holiday gradually, to restore stable funding to necessary programs and to start dealing with our real problems:  jobs, foreclosures, infrastructure and climate change.

James K. Galbraith is the author of The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too, and of a new preface to The Great Crash, 1929, by John Kenneth Galbraith. He teaches at the University of Texas at Austin.

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