Summary: Democrats should publish Paul Krugman’s essay in every newspaper in America. That they won’t, preferring to stick with a losing set of policies, shows the dilemma of American politics. The GOP actively works against our interests, the Democrats are indifferent to them. At the end is a brief note pointing to a solution.
Paul Krugman is a great economist and a bit of a political hack. But his brilliant mind produces some great insights. Yesterday’s column at the NYT might be his best ever about politics. If FDR still led the Democratic Party, it would spend their last penny to buy a page in every newspaper and run it. It should be read in full. Here is an excerpt.
By Paul Krugman
New York Times, 22 September 2017.
“Graham-Cassidy, the health bill the Senate may vote on next week, is stunningly cruel. It’s also incompetently drafted: The bill’s sponsors clearly had no idea what they were doing when they put it together. Furthermore, their efforts to sell the bill involve obvious, blatant lies. Nonetheless, the bill could pass. And that says a lot about today’s Republican Party, none of it good.
“The Affordable Care Act, which has reduced the percentage of Americans without health insurance to a record low, created a three-legged stool …Graham-Cassidy saws off all three legs of that stool. …
“Did Graham-Cassidy’s sponsors know what they were doing when putting this bill together? Almost surely not, or they wouldn’t have produced something that everyone, and I mean everyone, who knows anything about health care warns would cause chaos. It’s not just progressives: The American Medical Association, the insurance industry and Blue Cross/Blue Shield have all warned that markets would be destabilized and millions would lose coverage.
“How many people would lose insurance? Republicans are trying to ram the bill through before the Congressional Budget Office has time to analyze it — an attempt that is in itself a violation of all previous norms, and amounts to an admission that the bill can’t bear scrutiny. But C.B.O. has analyzed other bills containing some of Graham-Cassidy’s provisions, and these previous analyses suggest that it would add more than 30 million people to the ranks of the uninsured.
“Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, and the bill’s other sponsors have responded to these critiques the old-fashioned way — with lies.
“Both Cassidy and Graham insist that their bill would continue to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions — a claim that will come as news to the A.M.A., Blue Cross and everyone else who has read the bill’s text.
“Cassidy has also circulated a spreadsheet that purports to show most states actually getting increased funding under his bill. …Independent analyses find that most states would, in fact, experience serious cuts in federal aid — and everyone would face huge cuts after 2027.
“So we’re looking at an incompetently drafted bill that would hurt millions of people, whose sponsors are trying to sell it with transparently false claims. How is it that this bill might nonetheless pass the Senate? …
“Graham-Cassidy isn’t an aberration; it’s more like the distilled essence of everything wrong with modern Republicans.
“Will this awful bill become law? I have no idea. But even if the handful of Republican senators who retain some conscience block it …the underlying sickness of the G.O.P. will remain. It’s sort of a pre-existing condition, and it’s poisoning America.”
Describing the sad story that is American politics today.
The Republican Party did not suddenly become this actively destructive force in America. It became so in small steps, but with a clear beginning: at the moment when America passed the great civil rights bills, freeing African-Americans from the oppression of Jim Crow laws and completing the process begun by the Civil War. Republicans choose to betray their Party’s principles — going back to its origin — and embrace racism to gain political power. This short-circuited the drive to dig out the corruption baked in at the Founding, and legitimized racism.
Fifty years later we see the Republican Party’s values in the priorities of the Trump administration. Strip health care from tens of millions of Americans, boost defense spending from its already unjustifiable levels (almost half of the world’s total), expanding our mad wars (repeating tactics that have failed for 15 years), and cutting taxes for the rich (the next act in this sad story).
None of these things can be justified honestly, as Krugman shows (in his full column) with their effort to repeal ObamaCare.
Now comes the bad news. The Democrats response to the historic opening created by this clown president and his plutocratic policies is — advocacy of open borders, rights for the transgendered, focus on the so far specious RussiaGate rumors, and identity politics. As for issues of interest to most Americans — such as world peace, class conflict, economic growth, fighting income inequality, and fixing our rotting infrastructure — the Party’s leadership and prominent members are not interested.
This is the pitiful state of American politics. We have earned it. The machinery bequeathed to us by the Founders lies idle, awaiting our participation to power it. Until then America will be run by and for the 1%. As they say in the Disney movies, it’s the Great Circle of Life. But we can retake the reins of America. For some ideas see these posts about steps to a new politics for America.
For More Information
Articles looking at the GOP’s Cassidy-Graham Obamacare repeal bill.
- NYT: “The G.O.P. Bill Forces States to Build Health Systems From Scratch. That’s Hard.“
- The Hill: “Medicaid directors issue warning on new ObamaCare repeal bill.“
- CNPC: “Here’s the biggest problem with the latest Obamacare repeal bill” — “If it did pass, this bill would create enormous market uncertainty and upend health care in every state..”
- From the Right, at Fiscal Times: “Why Insurers Are Pulling Their Hair Out Over Graham-Cassidy.“
To understand the horror show that is American health care see “Insurance policy: How an industry shifted from protecting patients to seeking profit” by Elisabeth Rosenthal at Stanford Medicine, Spring 2017. For a specific and powerful example of how the Democratic Party abandoned America’s workers, see “The day that destroyed the working class and sowed the seeds of Trump” by Salena Zito in the New York Post.
“Forty years ago, on Sept. 19, thousands of men walked into the Campbell Works of Youngstown Sheet and Tube along the Mahoning River before the early shift. …”
If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about the far Left, about the Democratic Party, about neoliberalism, about reforming America – steps to a new politics, and especially these…
- Look to the Left to see the force powering Trump and Carson.
- New York shows how Democrat-run cities & states contribute to the rise of Trump.
- Thomas Frank explains how the Democrats became Liberals for the Rich.
- Robert Reich’s program to save the Left after a decade of defeats.
- The Left becomes a cult rather than gather support to oppose Trump.
- How the Left lost but can win again.
- Michael Hudson asks if identity politics will break up the Democratic Party.
- Oddities of the New Left, making them weaker than the Old Left.
- Why the Democratic Party loses – and how it can win again.
- The Awkward Electoral Dance of Liberal Democrats.
Read to better understand the Democratic Party.
For a deep analysis of this see Thomas Frank’s great book: Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?. From the publisher…
From the bestselling author of What’s the Matter with Kansas, a scathing look at the failures of liberal politics, a book that helps explain the shocking outcome of the 2016 presidential election
It is a widespread belief among liberals that if only Democrats can continue to dominate national elections, if only those awful Republicans are beaten into submission, the country will be on the right course.
But this is to fundamentally misunderstand the modern Democratic Party. Drawing on years of research and first-hand reporting, Frank points out that the Democrats have done little to advance traditional liberal goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. Indeed, they have scarcely dented the free-market consensus at all. This is not for lack of opportunity: Democrats have occupied the White House for sixteen of the last twenty-four years, and yet the decline of the middle class has only accelerated. Wall Street gets its bailouts, wages keep falling, and the free-trade deals keep coming.
With his trademark sardonic wit and lacerating logic, Frank’s Listen, Liberal lays bare the essence of the Democratic Party’s philosophy and how it has changed over the years. A form of corporate and cultural elitism has largely eclipsed the party’s old working-class commitment, he finds. For certain favored groups, this has meant prosperity. But for the nation as a whole, it is a one-way ticket into the abyss of inequality. In this critical election year, Frank recalls the Democrats to their historic goals-the only way to reverse the ever-deepening rift between the rich and the poor in America.