The Congressional Budget Office scores Trumpcare: immoral

Obamacare gave 23 million people medical insurance; Trumpcare will strip it away from 24 million.

Congressional Budget Office logo

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Trumpcare will cost 24 million people their health insurance, with 14 million of those losses coming next year (assuming Trumpcare passes this year).

As the end of 2016, Obamacare lowered the uninsured rate from right before Obamacare took effect to 10.9%. That’s about 23 million more people with health insurance.

Medicaid (the medical insurance program for the poor) would be cut by $880 billion over the next 10 years. That reverses the tax increase levied on the wealthy to pay for the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, and the CBO estimates that Trumpcare will result in 14 million poor people losing Medicaid over the next 10 years. 14 million people.

I’ve been happily paying higher taxes without complaint for years so that my income could subsidize health insurance for people who couldn’t afford it – like friends and former coworkers who had been out of work and either had to self-insure for an insane amount of money or go without insurance and pray they didn’t get sick. It was the moral thing to do in 2013, and it still is. Continue reading

War and economics: where is Bernie Sanders’ 12th step?

There’s much to like about Bernie Sanders, but can he really help us kick the war habit?

Occupy Democrats and US Uncut have a handy macro going around that highlights Bernie’s 11 point economic agenda. It’s big. It’s important. It’s to be lauded. And if we’re not to have Bernie, it’s to be emulated. But we’ve also seen the devastating effect war has had on our economy, to say nothing of the lives lost to our wayward military adventurism. Below you’ll find my own reasons for supporting this 11-point economic plan as well as some serious consideration of his missing 12th point. Continue reading

Congressional Republicans hack away at Medicaid while the rich hollow it out from inside

Cross-posted from Truthout.

Republican assaults on social service programs have finally yielded some significant advances, with the Obama Administration offering to push the eligibility age for Medicare up from age 65 to 67. Also, as part of a bargain to raise the debt ceiling, the administration offered to dial down cost-of-living increases in Social Security benefits.

But it’s Medicaid, which, as the health provider of last resort for the most vulnerable segment of society, has long been a tempting target for Republicans. To remind the young, to whom Medicaid and Medicare tend to blend together, up to speed, the former is a program jointly funded by the state and federal governments that pays for medical care for those who can’t afford it. Continue reading

Nota Bene #97: toDwI'ma' qoS yItIvqu'!

“To be truly free, and truly to appreciate its freedom, a society must be literate.” Continue reading

Presidential passport breach: Why do contractors have easy access to sensitive data?

By Martin Bosworth

The accessing of private passport-based travel data of all three Presidential candidates by contractors working for the State Department has finally galvanized Capitol Hill to address the issue of privacy–something we’ve been begging them to do for years. Ron Wyden sums it up succinctly:

“The Government Accountability Office has been warning about this problem for a decade. And it seems to me in this administration, there’s been pretty much a culture of disregard for privacy, and that’s part of the problem,” he said.

Wyden may have been referring to a 2006 report from the GAO documenting the lack of oversight in sharing Social Security Numbers with contractors working for various federal agencies, including the IRS and the FBI, as well as within the private sector. It is but one of many reports the investigative agency has issued documenting the serious vulnerabilities our government’s mad drive to outsource its functions to the private sector has wrought–but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Continue reading

The candidates don't care about our children

Probably every candidate who has ever run for President has claimed to be running to improve the future. This is especially true about this election cycle because so much has gone horribly wrong over the last eight years. The idea that our children should have better lives than we ourselves have is part of the American mythos. Unfortunately, Robert J. Samuelson of the Washington Post points out in today’s commentary (Promises They Can’t Keep) that the candidates in this election are talking the talk, but singularly failing to walk this particular walk. The reason? Not a single electable candidate has proposed any solution to the coming tax increases and/or budget cuts. Continue reading

The Weekly Carboholic

Flux tower
Tour-Bluets – Flux tower on a recently harvest boreal black spruce site with lowbush blueberry ground cover, Chibougamau, Quebec. Photo credit: Onil Bergeron

Last week also saw some unfortunate news for the “carbon dioxide (CO2) will boost plant growth” denier crowd. According to the Global Carbon Project, an international scientific organization working “to develop a complete picture of the global carbon cycle, including both its biophysical and human dimensions together with the interactions and feedbacks between them,” the forests of North America are not sequestering as much CO2 as expected. Forests sequester CO2 in the spring, but release it via decay in the autumn. Warmer springs means more CO2 absorption by the forests, but warmer autumns means more decay as well. And according to the study’s authors, autumns have warmed more than springs over the last 20 years or so, leading to approximately 90% of all sequestered CO2 from the spring being re-released back into the atmosphere in the autumn. And they expect that, if autumns continue to warm faster than springs, the emission of CO2 from the forests may balance or even ultimately exceed their sequestering ability. Continue reading