Will more people be killed tonight on Sharknado 5 or Game of Thrones?
From the New York Post:
By Keith J. Kelly | August 3, 2017 | 10:0 PM
Salon, the struggling digital publisher, is having trouble paying its rent.
A landlord who late last year evicted Salon from its New York offices for nonpayment of $90,000 in back rent is now trying to force the digital publisher to pay more than $700,000 for the unused portion of a five-year lease that is slated to run through September 2019.
Salon had been paying over $300,000 a year to Vbgo Penn Plaza for offices at 31 Penn Plaza, near Madison Square Garden./span>
There’s more at the original. Salon was evicted last December, but the Post stated that they had set up offices somewhere else in Manhattan. But, call it karmic justice that a left-wing publisher which rails against capitalism can’t pay its bills to the capitalists. Humorously enough, Salon published Secret Service refuses to pony up for Trump Tower’s sky-high rents: The Secret Service is no longer going to have a command post in Trump Tower to a financial dispute with Trump just 10 hours and 21 minutes after the Post story about them being unable to pay their own rent.
One rather obvious fact: a ‘digital publisher’ can publish from anywhere. I ‘publish’ The First Street Journal from a rural farmhouse in Estill County, Kentucky, via a contract with a site hosting service in Massachusetts. Salon is somewhat bigger than my poor site, but they don’t need to be in the priciest city in America; they could have their offices in upstate New York or Down East Maine or Lexington, Kentucky for a small fraction of what a place in Manhattan costs. Heck, an internet-based company ought to barely even need an office; their editorial staff could work via videoconferencing and Skype, their writers could make their submissions from home, and their sales staff can work from anywhere.
31 Penn Plaza currently advertises office space availability on the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 17th floors, ranging between 21,178 and 27,084 ft²; did a digital publisher really need over 20,000 square feet of office space, or was that mostly vanity? It was their choice to sign a five-year lease at such “a cutting edge office destination located steps from New York’s Penn Station, Herald Square, Lincoln Tunnel, and minutes from Grand Central Station.”
I am somewhat amused this couldn’t have happened to a more deserving bunch.
Cross-posted on RedState.
From The Washington Post’s Wonkblog:
By Ana Swanson | August 4 at 8:34 AM
The U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July, according to government data released Friday morning, surpassing economists’ expectations and suggesting the economy continues to thrive after an extended streak of job gains in recent years.
The unemployment rate ticked down to 4.3 percent, compared with 4.4 percent in June, and wages rose by 2.5 percent from the year before to $26.36 in July.
“It was pretty solid across the board,” said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JP Morgan. “It suggests there is really no slowing in the momentum of the labor market.”
That first part was unremarkable, the kind of story one would expect the day the official unemployment numbers are released. The writer continued to note that the job growth numbers are very similar to those in 2016. But further down was the part I found most significant:
July’s additions also signify a notable turning point for the U.S. economy: After accounting for shifts in population, the level of employment has returned to what it was at in November 2007, before the recession decimated the job market, according to research published Friday morning by the Brooking Institution’s Hamilton project.
“It does not mean there’s no slack in the economy, [or] that we’re at full employment. But it does mean the job losses from the great recession are behind us,” said Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, one of the report’s authors.
And the Brooking Institution’s article:
by Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Ryan Nunn, Lauren Bauer, and Audrey Breitwieser | August 4, 2017
The Jobs Gap Has Closed
The Great Recession caused labor market devastation on a scale not seen for many decades. Millions of jobs were lost in the United States during 2008 and 2009, leaving the labor market with a hard road to recovery. Indeed, that recovery has required many years of job growth, and it was only in April 2014 that total employment reached its pre-recession level.
However, this milestone did not mark a return to pre-recession labor market conditions. Because the U.S. population is growing, simply reaching the previous number of jobs is not sufficient to return to pre-recession employment rates. At the same time, more baby boomers have entered retirement, somewhat offsetting the effects of population growth and reducing the number of jobs needed for a full economic recovery.
In order to accurately track the progress of the labor market recovery, The Hamilton Project developed a measure of labor market health—the “jobs gap”—that reflects changes in both the level and the demographic composition of the U.S. population (more details regarding the jobs gap methodology are provided in appendix A). Beginning in May of 2010, The Hamilton Project has calculated the number of jobs needed to return to the national employment rate prior to the Great Recession, accounting for population growth and aging.
In figure 2, we apply the jobs gap methodology to three other recent recessions: 2001, 1990, and 1981. Compared to these recessions, the jobs gap during the Great Recession was much larger and took years longer to close. The recessions of 1981 and 1990 involved smaller and briefer jobs gaps, with recovery to the demographically adjusted, pre-recession employment rate after 40 and 48 months, respectively. The 2001 recession saw a more gradual decline in jobs, and a slower recovery; the jobs gap from the 2001 recession did not close before the Great Recession started. The fact that the labor market was not necessarily at full strength at the start of the Great Recession is one reason the closing of the jobs gap does not necessarily signal an end to “slack” in the labor market: the under-used labor that could be profitably employed.
An Uneven Recovery
The labor market recoveries depicted in figures 1 and 2 reflect the overall experience of the entire United States. However, not all regions of the country or demographic groups experienced the same recovery—while some groups have reached and substantially exceeded their pre-recession employment rates, others have lagged behind. Because the payroll employment data (from the Current Employment Statistics survey) do not include information on demographic characteristics, we use individual-level Current Population Survey (CPS) data in these calculations. These data are less current than the payroll data—we use individual-level data through May 2017—and the growth in employment measured in the CPS is somewhat lower. Given these differences and the distinct features of the CPS data, we will now implement the jobs gap concept as an “employment rate gap,” defined as the difference between the demographically adjusted 2007 employment-to-population ratio and the actual employment-to-population ratio at a given point in time.
There’s a lot more at the original, but there is one huge point to be made here: since we never recovered fully from the 2001 recession — worsened in part by the September 11th attacks, the starting zero point for the 2007 recession was lower than it would have been had we fully recovered from that; even though we have, finally, made up the job losses from the 2007 recession, we are still behind where we ought to be, which means that there is still growth potential out there. Given that the 2007 recession began while we were still roughly 4½ million jobs behind full recovery from the 2001 recession, and the Hamilton Projects calculates that we have just now recovered the jobs from the 2007 recession, does than not mean we are still 5 million jobs, adjusting for population growth, behind where we should be, based on jobs prior to the 2001 recession?
But there’s more:
The employment rate gap recovery has been uneven in other respects: notably, women have outperformed men. Two male-dominated occupation groups—production and construction—were particularly hard hit during the Great Recession. Employment in these occupations remains low relative to other occupations, contributing to weaker employment growth for men over the last ten years. In addition, the employment rate of men aged 25 to 54 had been falling for several decades prior to the Great Recession, driven by forces that are still not entirely understood, but possibly contributing to the disparities between the employment trajectories of men and women.
Figure 4 shows the employment rate gap separately for men and women. The immediate employment loss from the recession was somewhat less severe for women, with the gap reaching a trough of -2.9 percentage points in 2011. By contrast, the employment rate gap for men reached a low point of -5.5 percentage points in 2010. Men have considerably more ground to make up than do women to regain their pre-recession employment rate: the gap for men stands at -1.6 percentage points, while it has closed entirely for women. However, it is important to note that men remain employed at a much higher rate than women, even with their relative decline over the past ten years: 65.7 percent of men and only 54.8 percent of women are employed.
One wonders how the gap for women could have reached zero, while for men it remains down 1.6 percentage points, yet the total gap is zero.
The authors claim that “forces that are still not entirely understood” have contributed to a falling employment rate for men for decades, but, the fact is that those forces are completely understood: both automation1 at home and the ever-increasing importation of manufactured goods have depressed the need for manufacturing employees, jobs which have primarily been held by men. Whether the professional economists understand this, they can address themselves, but it speaks to why the white working class have abandoned the Democrats in recent elections.2
I wrote the title for this article, “The Lost Decade,” before the article itself. But, when we consider the unrecovered jobs from the 2001 recession, it might be more accurately — though less prosaically — The Lost Seventeen Years. With an average job creation rate thus far under President Trump of 179,000 per month, and still being 5,000,000 jobs behind where we should have been considering employment in 2000, it should take roughly 28 more months to close that gap, assuming that the job creation rate remains unchanged.3 Twenty-eight more months takes us until November of 2019, so this article might most accurately been entitled The Lost Two Decades.
We have noted that several recent coal mining operations have been started since Donald Trump became President, but even with those start-ups, automation means that there will be fewer coal mining jobs in those facilities. The President can try to set policies to encourage more American manufacturing, but that will depend entirely upon one thing: will American consumers choose to buy products made here? We are in our current economic situation precisely because consumers have not taken such choices.
- See George Jetson’s job: what if there aren’t any jobs in the future? ↩
- The Democrats were the ones in power; if things do not get better under President Trump, we can count on a lot of those Trump voters to choose Democrats by the 2020 elections. ↩
- We have previously noted that even if the stretch between the end of the last recession and the beginning of the next one equals ten years, the time of the longest gap in recent history, the next recession would begin by July of 2019. ↩
Our farm house is a definite fixer-upper. We tore down the awful drywalled ceiling in the living room our first week here, and ordered new tongue-and-groove bead board from Meade’s Do-It Center. It took a couple of weeks for my order to arrive, and after that, I had to sand it, use a very light stain, Minwax Natural #209, and then add two coats of Minwax fast drying polyurethane clear satin finish. The instructions for the stain specified a minimum of eight hours drying time before the finish, so that added two days.
Well, my wife, younger daughter and I started the installation around 1:00 PM today; click on any photo to enlarge:
This was not an easy installation, as the words plumb, level and square do not describe a single thing about the house. More pictures below the fold. Continue reading ‘Just in case y’all think I don’t do any work in my retirement!’ »
Alpha Natural Resources filed for bankruptcy two years ago when the American coal industry went into free fall.
Now a revamped version of the coal mining company is planning to go public on the New York Stock Exchange. And it’s giving a lot of credit to President Trump for what it sees as its strong prospects.
Contura Energy (), which acquired Alpha’s core assets in bankruptcy, said it plans to raise as much as $162 million in an initial public offering as soon as next week.. . . .
Contura is poised to become the third American coal mining firm to go public this year, joining Ramaco Resources and Warrior Met Coal (), which formed from the ashes of bankrupt Walter Energy.
While still a shell of its former self, the coal industry may be stabilizing after years of destruction.
There’s a lot more at the original.
President Trump’s policies favor more production of coal, but they will take time to have a major impact, if they ever do: the coal industry fell on hard times due to economic factors just as much, if not more, than government regulations, and the decline began well before the Obama Administration. Natural gas is cheaper to produce, and cleaner burning, than coal, and, thanks to hydraulic fracturing, natural gas and petroleum is being captured where it was previously impossible to extract.
How many coal mining jobs will be created? We have no way of knowing, not yet. But for the miners who get those jobs, it will be a Godsend.
Cross-posted on RedState.
From the Opinion Page:
By Daniel Hoffman1 | July 28, 2017
Russians are fond of a proverb, “besplatniy sir biyvaet tol’ko v mishelovke”: “Free cheese can be found only in a mousetrap.”
Having long considered the United States its main enemy, the Kremlin deploys a full quiver of intelligence weapons against America and its national security agencies, political parties and defense contractors. Its intelligence services, though best known for clandestine operations to recruit spies, also run covert “influence operations” that often use disinformation to try to affect decisions or events in rival countries. A central tool of those operations is “kompromat,” “compromising material”: things of seemingly great value that are dangled, at what appears to be no cost, before unwitting targets. This is the “free cheese” that ensnares victims in a trap.
I know all this from having spent much of my 30-year government career, including with the C.I.A., observing Soviet, and then Russian, intelligence operations. I came to realize that President Vladimir Putin, who spent his formative years in the K.G.B., the Soviet Union’s main intelligence agency, and served as director of its successor agency, the F.S.B., wants, as much as anything, to destabilize the American political process. For all his talk of desiring friendly relations, Mr. Putin favors a state of animosity between our two nations. By characterizing the United States and NATO as Russia’s enemies, he can attack within his own borders what threatens him the most — the ideals of liberty, freedom and democracy, of which the United States has been a defender.
This background is necessary for understanding the real meaning of the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower between Kremlin-connected Russians and three representatives of Donald Trump’s campaign: his son, Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, then the campaign manager. The evidence that has emerged from this meeting strongly suggests that this was not an effort to establish a secure back channel for collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign but an influence operation with one simple objective: to undermine the presidential election.
No conclusive proof has yet emerged that the Kremlin arranged this meeting, and the Russians involved have asserted they were not working for the Putin government. Mr. Kushner himself told Senate investigators that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. But to me, the clearest evidence that this was a Russian influence operation is the trail of bread crumbs the Kremlin seemed to have deliberately left leading from Trump Tower to the Kremlin. This operation was meant to be discovered.
And, with this article, written by an OpEd contributor who is a former CIA station chief, The New York Times has:
- Admitted that there is no actual evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign;
- Claimed that the lack of evidence means that the Trump campaign was duped by the Russians; and
- Claimed that the election result was due to the American people being duped by the Russians.
Mr Hoffman continues to tell us how President Putin, himself a former KGB officer, has “resurrected the art of covert influence often in conjunction with cyberwarfare,” and then concluded with:
The most effective method to combat Russia’s intrusions into our political process is to be clear, transparent and honest with ourselves about how the Kremlin operates and what it hopes to achieve. The Trump campaign did not need to collude with the Kremlin for Russia’s cyber and covert influence campaign to be considered a serious breach of our electoral process, and hence our national security. The Trump administration and both parties in Congress need to speak with one voice against Russia’s attack on our democratic institutions. If they do not, Mr. Putin will have won.
Let’s tell the truth here: regardless of what the Trump Administration or the Congress do here, Russia, under President Putin or his eventual successors, will do whatever it wishes in what the leadership see as their own interests. Nor is this a game that only the Russians play: President Obama tried to influence the Israeli elections, in a bid to unseat Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whom he despised.2
Did the Trump campaign seek damaging information against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? Of course they did, just as the Clinton campaign sought damaging information against Donald Trump.3 Both the Trump and Clinton campaigns understood that the only thing that mattered was victory; in an election, there are no points for second place. Both campaigns would do whatever it took to win, and we should never expect anything other than that. Timed information releases, “October surprises,” nothing is out of bounds, and nothing that might help a side win is going to be left unused out of some sense of fair play.
by Damon Linker | July 28, 2017
Hillary Clinton has written a memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign and election. I suppose that was inevitable.But did it really need to be called What Happened?
That title really is unfortunate. Because the thing is that “what happened” is patently obvious to everyone who isn’t blinded by partisanship or personal fealty to the Clinton family: She lost — to the most flagrant demagogue-charlatan in American history, a man whose lack of fitness for the job was so obvious and total that she should have won in a landslide.
There is not a chance in the world that Clinton’s memoir will frankly examine and reflect on the true causes of her catastrophic defeat. How do we know this? Because she and her surrogates have spent the last eight months doing everything they can to deflect blame away from where it belongs — on herself, on her campaign, and on the Democratic Party establishment — and onto a series of convenient Forces Beyond Our Control: James Comey, Vladimir Putin, and an incorrigibly racist and misogynist electorate that rallied to her opponent.
No one who’s appalled and disgusted by the civic demolition derby that is the Trump administration should accept such self-serving prevarication.
The point isn’t that Comey and Putin and unsavory political views played no role. Of course they did. If the FBI director hadn’t announced less than two weeks before Election Day that he was reopening the investigation into Clinton’s email server, she might have won. If Russian intelligence (with or without Trump campaign collusion) hadn’t broken into John Podesta’s email account and released politically damaging correspondence via WikiLeaks, she might have won. If fewer than 100,000 voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin had refrained from casting a ballot for a professional con man who whipped up racial (and many other kinds of) animus, she might have won.
In an election that close, anything and everything could have changed the outcome.
The question is: Why was it so close to begin with?
There’s more at the original. Damon Linker is a liberal Democrat, a former contributing editor with the fast-fading The New Republic, and, as you can see, certainly no fan of President Trump. But he was certainly willing to tell the truth about Mrs Clinton, in a way most Democrats, including the editors of The New York Times, have not been.
The Times used Mr Hoffman’s OpEd piece to explain away the lack of evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump Administration, telling us that the absence of collusion is still damning, because the Trump campaign was simply duped. Mr Linker tells us that the hacked e-mails might have been enough to have tipped an election Mrs Clinton should have easily won. But what no one on the left can seem to admit is that, regardless of how or by whom the e-mails were hacked, it was the content of the e-mails that was the problem. When you have Jen Palmieri, supposedly a Catholic herself, writing e-mails critical of evangelical Christians and Catholics, or suggesting that John Podesta needs to “sober her up some,” at 4:31 in the afternoon, the problem isn’t that the Russians, or someone else, hacked the e-mails, but what they told voters about Mrs Clinton.
The editors of The New York Times, whose motto is All the News That’s Fit to Print, certainly didn’t want the news about Mrs Clinton printed, though information that the Democratic presidential nominee was a lush who needed to be sobered up in the afternoon was certainly relevant. Now that Mrs Clinton has been safely consigned to the role of private citizen, all that the Times can do now is to try to drag down President Trump, trying to call his victory into question, by yelling about the Russians.
- Daniel Hoffman, a former chief of station for the C.I.A., worked for over 30 years for the United States government in Russia, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. ↩
- The feeling was mutual. ↩
- The Washington Post tried to make the Clinton campaign efforts seem unimportant, saying, “While there are broad similarities between the two, there also are key distinctions that make this a facile comparison.“ ↩
- While I would like to read, and review, Mrs Clinton’s book, I will not, because I am wholly unwilling to contribute even a single penny to the Clinton family by buying it. If a free copy happens to fall into my hands, I’ll read it. ↩
From William Teach at The Pirate’s Cove:
July 29, 2017 – 7:17 am
One of the refrains we hear from those who support illegal aliens is that they are fine with the “good ones” but not the criminal ones. In practice, though, the supporters and sanctuary jurisdictions look to protect all illegals. Like this upstanding one:
(Oregon Live) Federal immigration agents lodged a detainer in December 2016 against the man accused of attacking two women in Northeast Portland this week, officials said.
When Sergio Jose Martinez was held in the Multnomah County Jail on Dec. 7, 2016, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement requested local authorities notify the agency prior to releasing him, spokeswoman Virginia Kice said in a statement to The Oregonian/OregonLive on Friday.
Martinez has been deported 20 times, according to Multnomah County court documents. He has a lengthy criminal record that includes several convictions in Oregon and burglary convictions in other states, according to court documents and the immigration agency.
Local authorities released Martinez on Dec. 8, 2016 without notifying immigration authorities, Kice said.
Oregon law prohibits public agencies from spending money, using equipment or enlisting personnel to enforce federal immigration law.
Martinez would qualify as one of the “bad ones”, wouldn’t you think? In this case, ICE was not even asking for a hold, just a heads up for when he would be released so they could come get him. Is it really so burdensome to place a call or send an email?
There’s more at the link, but really, I’d like to quote the whole thing. Mr Martinez has been charged with first-degree robbery, sex abuse and robbery and second-degree assault, among other things; he is accused of having “sexually assaulted” a woman in her home after breaking in, and later attacking another woman in a parking garage.
Mr Teach condemned Sheriff Mike Reese for not having notified ICE of his impending release. I’ll cut the Sheriff some slack here, because to have done so would have broken the law, since even just using the phone to call and notify ICE of Mr Martinez impending release would have been “using equipment.” I suppose that the Sheriff could have called the feds using a personal cell phone, on private property, but if he even used public equipment, such as a computer to look up the number, he’d have broken the law. A further part of the Oregon Live story noted that the “the sheriff’s office follows the Federal District Court of Oregon’s direction, which prohibits local jails from enforcing federal immigration detainers.”
It’s a lot to expect rape victims to come forward and make their assaults public, but Mr Martinez’ victim needs to step forward, go before the Oregon legislature and say, forcefully and loudly, that she was raped because of their actions.
That’s the part that the left cannot withstand: they were responsible, as accessories before the fact, for her rape!
Another person who bears responsibility: Barack Hussein Obama! If Mr Martinez had been deported twenty times, why was he not in federal prison, on multiple felony counts? That was because of Obama Administration policies, and failures. If you just shove these multiple offenders back over the border, they’ve suffered no real penalty, but simply have to find another way back in to the US. They need to be thrown in prison, to be punished for their crimes, and deported only after they’ve spent a good, long time in jail, with the promise that if they’re ever caught here again, they’ll go right back to prison.
Mr Martinez was a bad dude, the authorities knew that he was a bad dude, but they looked the other way. There is no way on God’s earth that he shouldn’t have already been in jail on the day he raped his first victim. But a soft-hearted, and soft-headed, criminal justice system, enabled by the Oregon state legislature, because they have sympathy for illegal immigrants. The Portland Police have a motto, “Sworn to Protect, Dedicated to Serve Everyone,” but law enforcement in Portland certainly didn’t protect Mr Martinez’ (alleged) victim. Their Mission Statement is:
Court documents state Martinez entered the woman’s home through an open window, used scarves and socks to blindfold her, gag her and tie her up before sexually assaulting her, punching her and slamming her head into the wood floor.
The victim told police he left with her keys, phone and credit cards and drove away in her car. She went to a neighbor’s home and called 911.
The car was later recovered near Southeast 99th Avenue and Stark Street.
In the second attack, a probable cause affidavit states Martinez was waiting in a dark corner of the parking garage and approached a woman saying he just wanted to talk.
The woman offered Martinez money, her phone and computer, but he threatened to kill her and forced her to get into her car at knifepoint, according to court documents.
A probable cause affidavit states the woman kicked Martinez in the midsection, but he said, “you shouldn’t have done that,” and again threatened to kill her.
The woman hit the panic button on her car before she got in. Court documents state she got out of the car, but Martinez tackled her and slammed her head into the ground.
People nearby heard screams and rushed in to help, causing Martinez to run away. When he was caught by police, he was carrying a 6-inch knife and items stolen from both victims, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Court documents state Martinez’s criminal history includes at least one felony conviction, along with six misdemeanor convictions and multiple parole violations.
Additionally, court documents connected with an arrest in March for failure to appear on a trespassing charge and possession of meth state Martinez “has entry/removal from United States to/from Mexico 20 times with at least 5 probation violations from re-entry.”
Martinez was most recently removed from the U.S. in November 2016.
The mission of the Portland Police Bureau is to reduce crime and the fear of crime. We work with all community members to preserve life, maintain human rights, protect property and promote individual responsibility and community commitment.
How can the police be expected to “reduce crime and the fear of crime,” when the criminal justice system doesn’t keep criminals who should be in jail locked up, when state law prohibits law enforcement from cooperating with immigration officials to get thugs, convicted felons, out of the country?
Who is going to be held responsible for allowing Mr Martinez to go free? Who is going to be held accountable for letting him rape a 65-year-old woman? The answer is: no one will be held accountable! Were there any real justice, every member of the Oregon legislature who voted for the law prohibiting police cooperation with ICE should be tried, convicted and thrown in prison. Every member of the Justice Department under President Obama who chose to simply deport Mr Martinez rather than throw him in jail first for immigration crimes should be tried, convicted and sent to prison.
None will be, of course, and justice will not be served. But all of those people are guilty, guilty of being accessories to Mr Martinez’ crimes. Instead of them, an elderly woman, living in fear in northeast Portland, is paying the price.
Cross-posted on RedState.
Click on any picture to enlarge.
More at the original. As I said (on the 19th), none of the Republican plans have been anything more than Obaminablecare Lite, because there are only so many ways you can utilize the private, for-profit insurance system to force coverage for everybody.
The plain fact is that about half of Republicans — including me — objects to Obysmalcare not due to the way in which it attempts to provide insurance coverage for everyone, but that the government is trying to provide health care coverage for those who cannot or will not pay for it themselves in the first place. The problem is that the other half of Republicans might hate Obumblecare but agree with the cockamamie notion that the government should be responsible for providing health care coverage, and the GOP’s electoral advantage depends in part on a significant number of people who would lose health insurance or Medicaid if the current law is repealed.
There are only two significant ways to change the laughably-named Affordable Care Act: either total repeal, with no replacement, or single-payer. Every Republican congressman and Senator knows that voting for repeal only will take away health care coverage from some of the voters who put them in office.
So, after all sorts of near-midnight twists and turns, and with threats that Republican Senators who voted against repeal of the Affordable Care Act would be targeted in their next primary elections, the Republicans needed the political cover of three sacrificial lambs they got them:
- Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), age 64, term ends January 2021;
- Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), age 60, term ends January 2023; and
- Senator John McCain (R-AZ), age 80, term ends January 2023.
Senator Collins, as Patterico noted, did not lie to her constituents: in 2015, she voted against the Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. She doesn’t face the voters until 2020, and, in Maine, voting to preserve the ACA isn’t a liability. She will be 68 when she would next face the voters, and might choose to retire.
Senator Murkowski did vote for the 2015 repeal only measure, knowing it was a safe vote, because President Obama would veto it. Mrs Murkowski is in no way afraid of the voters in Alaska: in 2010, when she lost the Republican primary to TEA party candidate Joe Miller, she simply ran as a write-in candidate in the general election, and won. She will not face the voters again until 2022, at age 66.
Senator McCain did vote for the 2015 repeal only measure, knowing it was a safe vote, because President Obama would veto it. Already 80 years old, Mr McCain would not face the voters again until he is 86 years old, if he chooses to run again. Having recently been diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Standard treatment options for this tumor include chemotherapy and radiation, although even with treatment, average survival time is approximately 14 months.
In my article of the 20th, I (reluctantly) supported a single-payer health care plan, because I admitted, to myself, that the federal guarantee of health care coverage would not be repealed. When I cross-posted that article on RedState, it received 112 comments, most of which were in opposition. But, opposition or not, I was right, because there are only a limited number of options:
- Some form of single-payer plan, such as extending Medicare to cover all Americans;
- Some form of guaranteed private insurance, which is how the Affordable Care Act works; or
- Ending the federal guarantee of health care coverage.
The Republicans have already accepted that the guarantee is an established principle, so the third option has been taken off the table! That leaves us with either single-payer, or something at least similar to the ACA, and the Republicans proved unable to craft anything different enough from the ACA to both gain the necessary support and be different enough from the ACA to keep their promise to repeal it.
Well, the ACA has proved to be horribly flawed, as conservatives said it would be when it was passed. The record of the ACA is huge premium increases coupled with insurance companies losing money on ACA exchange programs, resulting in roughly a fifth of Americans who must use the exchanges to secure health insurance having only one company from which to choose. Even with that, a couple of places were looking at having no company selling ACA insurance on the exchanges, until politicians cajoled one or another to fill the void.
The ACA is failing, and will collapse completely. I have said it before: the left only sought to get something, anything, passed, to secure the federal guarantee principle. Then, when the ACA finally fails, they’ll throw up their hands and say, “See, we tried it the conservative way, using the private health insurance system, and now single-payer is the only thing left to do.” Well, with the principle established, they were right!
The time has come for Republicans to take the lead, and structure single-payer as efficiently as possible. It has to dramatically reduce malpractice claims, by restricting any damages to actual damages, and end punitive damage claims, and it has to limit coverage to American citizens, and those immigrants who both pay Medicare taxes1 and are in the country legally.
I do not like single-payer not in the slightest; to me, it’s only advantage is that it will be less bad than the ACA or something similar. I expect health care under single-payer to get worse, to something similar to what Sachi ab Hugh described concerning Japan’s single-payer system, or with the built-in delays used by Canada and the United Kingdom, and our own Veterans Administration, to control costs. But when even the Republicans will not end the federal guarantee, we have no other realistic option.
Cross-posted on RedState.
- This assumes that any single-payer system will be an expansion of the Medicare system. Full disclosure: I will be eligible for Medicare next April. ↩
. . . but instead I built a rustic able top, completely out of wood salvaged from old pallets.
There are four species of wood in this top: white pine, yellow pine, red oak and white oak. Tomorrow, I’ll build the legs. All of the material came from the scrap pile at Meade’s Do It Center, and was free. The top is sanded; I’ll add a polyurethane finish tomorrow.