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Bits & Pieces: April 7, 2011

April 7th, 2011

Shutdown or no shutdown, it’s pretty damned clear which side wants one, which side has been pushing for one and still is. A Tea Party rally in D.C. was populated with signs urging a shutdown, while the crowd chanted, “Shut ‘er down! Shut ‘er down!” All this while trying to blame it on the Democrats. CNN called this “mixed signals,” as if there were no unified game plan here.

The Wisconsin election for the state’s supreme court chief justice brought out the crowds, tripling participation from the last such election. David Prosser, claiming to be a non-partisan independent who just happens to be a Tea Party favorite, is endorsed by Sarah Palin, and goes around the state addressing right-wing organizations, was in fact rather easily identified as a conservative who would rule in favor of governor Walker. Before this whole union issue, Prosser was expected to win hands-down. Having won 55% in the general primary, with his challenger, assistant attorney general JoAnne Kloppenburg getting only 25%, Prosser was still expected to win easily. However, Kloppenburg, labeled as an inexperienced extremist in the millions of dollars of of out-of-state, Tea-party-funded advertising, surged way beyond her primary numbers as Prosser faded–so that now it is a virtual tie, with Kloppenburg ahead by only about two hundred votes. Even if Prosser winds up winning in a recount, this will be a hard slap in the face for state Republicans, who lost most of the other races outright.

So, naturally, the moment this is announced, the right-wingers start shoutingvote fraud.” Gee whiz, who could have predicted that would happen?

Glenn Beck is leaving Fox News. Who will we buy gold from now?

The new GOP plan to private Medicare and gut Medicaid will save $5.8 trillion in the next ten years, we are told. Except that the numbers they predict for economic growth and unemployment due to their miraculous plan are so ludicrous that they are almost literally laughable. We’re talking Magic Pony numbers here. Rep. Paul Ryan claims that his budget will create gazillions of jobs, bringing unemployment down to 2.8%, a number so far-fetched that even conservatives are shaking their heads. The “$5.8 trillion” he claims he will save is just as fictional, with $1.4 trillion coming from scrapping Obama’s Health Care Reform, which is strange, as the CBO said Obama’s plan would save almost exactly that much over the next 20 years. And his plan to “save” Medicare would only end up costing seniors more. Just like the GOP’s alternative to the Democrats’ health care reform, Republicans are claiming Democrats will send us to the poorhouse while GOP alternatives will bring cause money to fall from rainbows. Too bad the Congressional Budget Office disagrees. All the time.

Hmm. Some of the major blogs seem to be agreeing with what I wrote two days ago.

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  1. Troy
    April 7th, 2011 at 17:06 | #1

    Obama’s plan would save almost exactly that much over the next 20 years. And his plan to “save” Medicare would only end up

    Thing is, PPACA comes with some very hefty subsidies — basically all middle-class people will only have to pay a tiny bit for their health insurance.


    shows a household of 4 bringing in $45,000 will qualify for almost $10,000/yr in subsidies!

    But somebody somewhere still has to pay for that subsidy!

    This Ryan thing is just Republicans being Republicans — trying to shut down the New deal / Great Society stuff because if we run these at break-even (ie payroll taxes are high enough to pay for benefits) the actual cost of government — ~$2T — will have to be borne entirely by the wealthy.

    I think the are really overplaying their hand, but who knows how the electorate is going to break next year.

  2. Troy
    April 7th, 2011 at 17:12 | #2

    reading the blurb from my link above, I see this:

    “The guaranteed plan for the person/family will have an actuarial value of 70%. This means that for all enrollees in a typical population, the plan will pay for 70% of expenses in total for covered benefits, with enrollees responsible for the rest. ”

    reminds me of the Japanese system . . .

  3. Tim Kane
    April 7th, 2011 at 22:28 | #3

    The republican instinct is reactionary deconstructionist: “We had to destroy the village in order to save the village”

    Btw, Vermont is close to passing single payer health care reform. Might that have a ripple affect? They believe that it will save them $500 million, I believe from $1 billion, so 50% savings. How many businesses will move there to take advantage of the system? Won’t that trigger the spread of this to other states in New England? If it spreads to New Hampshire it will put pressure on Massachusetts because southern New Hampshire is exurbia to Boston. Also other states with large liberal leanings could follow: Oregon, Hawaii. Perhaps Wisconsin if the liberal tide swamps them as a reaction to Walker – wouldn’t that be a sweat result.

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