Even though two others judges have otherwise – Federal judge in Va. strikes down part of health-care law. The judge ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional. Claiming it exceeds Congressional authority even under the commerce clause. Let’s leave aside the giant unethical elephant in the room for the moment this judge (Judge Henry Hudson) should have recused himself since he had an ownership stake in a political consulting firm which advocated against health-care reform. The mandate has not been embraced liberals. Even if constitutional,it is a public relations nightmare. Additionally, according to the way the same mandate was imposed in Massachusetts and failed to deliver on bringing down costs, it might not be worth spending any political capital to save. Though the Obama administration is said to already declared it will appeal. The administration’s and supporters of the mandate do have legal precedent on their side. Since it is obvious enough that everyone has a stake in health care – as everyone needs some eventually. At that juncture, if they do not have insurance they become a burden on the health care system. While the Righties are drooling over their timid coco at the ruling it is important to note the ruling on the mandate – in the judge’s own words -did not spill over to the rest of the law. He declined to grant an injunction halting the government’s work to implement the rest of the law. The author Jamie Court of The Progressive’s Guide To Raising Hell/President Consumer Watchdog has this post up at HuffPo, White House and Progressives Should Be Cheering Virginia Ruling Striking Down Mandatory Health Insurance.
Conservatives have tried to repeal the mandate that everyone must buy health insurance as a way of taking out the full law in the court. Today’s ruling makes clear that the popular and progressive parts of health care reform could go forward without the big sop to health insurance companies — mandatory purchases without regulated premiums.
Why would a progressive like me support repeal of mandatory health insurance purchases?
70 percent of Americans consistently oppose mandatory health insurance purchases.
If the last two elections have taught Washington a lesson, it’s that we can do anything if 70 percent of Americans agree and do nothing if a majority cannot agree.
Most of the progressive parts of health care reform — subsidies to buy insurance for the poor and rules to make the marketplace fairer — enjoy 60 percent to 70 percent public support. Mandatory purchases, however, will consistently suffer the public’s wrath because of popular distrust of the insurance industry and the high cost of health insurance premiums. Congressional refusal to limit how much health insurance companies can charge will ensure Americans’ distaste only grows.
Both New York and Massachusetts have passed regulatory laws in regards to outrageous premium charges. That might be a more effective and progressive route to take to protect working class families and their ability to access affordable health care and insurance. Let’s not worry about the social-Darwinists on the Right checking off another imaginary victory if the mandate gets struck down. Dahlia Lithwick has a good write up at Slate – Dream a Little Dream.
This is the road to which pure spite and contempt for progress leads – Tea Party Gov.-Elect Walker Compels Business To Leave State After He Kills High Speed Rail In Wisconsin
Even before taking office, Republican Govs.-elect John Kasich (OH) and Scott Walker (WI) swiftly delivered on their “promises to kill America’s future” by rebuking a total of $1.2 billion in stimulus funding for high-speed rail projects in their states. Shunning the $810 million for the long-planned Wisconsin rail project, Walker promised to kill the Milwaukee-Madison link if President Obama tried “to force this down the throats of the taxpayers.”
I have old socks smarter than former Fox confabulater John Kasich. Ohio is an important swing state. Everyone one of these teatards missteps adds up to the record off anti-jobs/anti-progress they’ll be trying to defend to the electorate in two years. Even even the kool-aid addled Rick Scott – Governor elect of Florida – was not contrary enough to potentially lose 16,000 jobs. I do have a pro train prejudice, but what with TSA x-rays and pat downs I bet there are a quite a few Americans starting to think high-speed rail is sounding pretty good.
Alabama Republican Spencer Bachus, the incoming chairman of the House banking committee, suggested Congress and federal regulators should play a subservient role with banks.
“In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks,” Bachus told The Birmingham News in an interview.
The Republican leadership last week designated Bachus the next chairman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee, which is tasked with overseeing banks, financial markets, housing and consumer credit.
Democrats characterized the remark as a Freudian slip, nicknaming the Alabaman “Big Bank Bachus” and claiming the new Republican-controlled House will put the interests of financial institutions ahead of the American public.
“Congressman Spencer ‘Big Bank’ Bachus has given Americans a startlingly honest answer about the House Republican agenda – do whatever is good for the big banks and Wall Street special interests, rather than what’s good for hardworking Americans,” said Jesse Ferguson, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Bachus later told the Birmingham News he merely meant Congress shouldn’t micromanage banks.
The congressman from Alabama’s 6th district has throughout his 18-year House career raised millions from financial interests, including over $1 million from commercial banks alone, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
He has received over $800,000 from the real estate industry, $700,000 from securities and investment firms, and $415,000 from credit companies — all of which he will have extraordinary influence over as banking committee chair.
Bachus was an important negotiator for the $700,000 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) of 2008 — often derided as the “bank bailout” — which angered the public but also prevented a widespread collapse of the financial system. It passed with wide bipartisan support.
Let’s put this in its proper perspective. It was largely Republicans who let Wall St run Washington during the Bush administration. They fought regulation and the Bush White House was AWOL when it came to enforcement. Housing bubble and economic calamity ensues. Tea party movement starts. These are basically conservatives and right-wing libertarians who tried to convince America all that bad stuff was not their fault. Just because they voted for anti-regulation zealots did not make them enablers of the worse meltdown since 1929. The same tea nuts also declared that Wall St was evil and average folks like them should not have to pay for their mistakes. A lot of this was contradictory then as it is now. Wall St should not have financial institutions too big to fail and cause such damage, but Washington should not save the economy or do anything to prevent another collapse – because that would be interfering with the free market and its innate perfection. Now that they pulled a very clever con job in the midterms by convincing everyone to let the same bad actors back into power. We see the faux populist face peel away. The same old conservative lips are firmly glued to the asses of the very same special interests who played blind poker with the nation’s wealth.
To return to a recurring theme of the last week and the health care debate before that – just because someone thinks President Obama and Democrats might have made the best deal under the circumstances ( the current tax deal thankfully still in debate) does not mean those people are Obama apologists, or that Democrats are “spineless” or that Obama is weak. I have a personal theory as to why some people see victory where others see capitulation or weakness. I tend to think the ones who see – take the health care reform package without the public option as an example – as capitulation have never had responsibility for a large number of people in either private enterprise or government. Governing people is very similar to managing people only with fewer options. Getting a hundred employees to get with a change in policy and procedures is like herding turtles. Being president is herding turtles a hundred fold. Especially Democrats. Will Rogers once said that if all Democrats agreed all the time they’d be Republicans. We do seem to need to learn to disagree without trashing each other. If Democrats need trashing there are plenty of right-wing zealots at the ready to do so. To that end this column by Beth Broderick – Obama and the Age of Unreason
I cannot imagine a worse job than being President of these Untied States in these most trying of times. President Barack Obama has been under siege from every side for the entirety of his time in office. The poor guy just cannot do anything right. Passing health care legislation, wrestling 25 billion out of BP, turning around the auto industry and his many other accomplishments are simply ignored. The good is simply not good enough. In spite of his many courageous acts the common wisdom prevails that he is not tough, not all up in the Kool-Aid of the opposition. A notion complicated by the fact that those who oppose him are often on his home team.
Not tough enough? The guy is made of steel. Governing this wild kingdom of a nation is like a never ending episode of Survivor. Every week we send our leader into a shark tank with a bucket of bloody mackerel around his neck. Then when by some miracle he manages to come back alive with enough fish to feed the team we scream: “What? No tuna? No orange roughy?” “Is that the best you can do”? We moan, we wail, we shake our fists!! “Should a gave those sharks a what for!!” We cry. Then we bait him up again and send him back into the tank.
The recent hand wringing over the temporary tax cut deal is a true case in point. The president does not preside over only like minded citizens. He must govern for us all. I agree with Bernie Sanders on principle, but I applaud the president’s deft avoidance of a show down in crazy town. A whole lot of folks most pointedly do not agree with Mr. Sanders or with me for that matter as the last election made exceedingly clear. Obama saved the bacon of the unemployed, assured tax credits for children and college students and prevented the middle class from receiving a bill for 3,000.00 on January 1. We seem to think that he has some kind of magic wand that he is refusing to wave. There just simply is no such thing. He is the president not the King and God help him. Really I mean that, God … please help him.
The seeming horror of holding the highest office in the land makes me wonder what all this jealousy is about among the members of the Senate. Those little green men (and a few women) who are the true hobgoblins of our eternal gridlock. Poor John McCain has been so eaten up with jealousy that he has shrunk to near invisibility. If a Senator shouts in the woods … and no one hears him … is he still a Senator? Much of the argument about the issue should be taken up with Cantwell or Murray or Baucus those who clamor for permanent estate tax cuts. There were 12 Democrat Senators prepared to vote against you and me and our dear determined Bernie if the president had not made this deal. The ground shifts under that chamber so relentlessly that it is a wonder some of the older members have not taken a tumble down the aisle. Mr. Schumer is a smart smart guy, but he holds only one perspective while Obama must behold them all.
One of my biggest complaints (and there were so very many) about the Bush administration was that he seemed to care not a whit about those on the left side of the electorate. He did not seem to be my president. He did not hear my voice or care about my values and it hurt my damned feelings. It also demonstrably hurt the country.
I hear a constant refrain about Republicans. It is argued that they are pure and always get their way due to an admirable lock step in their party gait. The Republicans are finger pointers not problem solvers and I do not envy their approach to politics. The fact is they did not do much governing last time around. They did plenty of war starting and marriage defending, but, very little actual governing. There is a reason for that. Governing this nation is hard and truly thankless, but it needs doing. I most certainly do not want Democrats to start acting like Republicans. I absolutely never want to see Mr. Obama acting like Mr. Bush and if you do then I respectfully suggest that you go back on your meds.
As one might expect I do not agree with every word Beth says. I do agree with the spirit with which she is arguing.