In an interview with Rachel Maddow last night, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) claimed to have no knowledge of David Bahati, the Uganda legislator sponsoring the “Kill The Gays” bill. In the book he was shilling, Inhofe had taken a swipe at Maddow for criticizing his affiliation with The Family, a powerful secret society of evangelical Christian political organizers, of which Bahati is also a core member. When Maddow tried to set the record straight about her comments, Inhofe claimed he had never heard of Bahati nor had any interaction with him:
MADDOW: The “Kill the Gays” bill sponsor has brought the bill back now, and he’s telling reporters, as of last month, that the whole idea for the “Kill The Gays” bill came from, as the New York Times put it, “a conversation with members of The Fellowship” ? a.k.a. The Family ? “in 2008?”
INHOFE: No, that’s just wrong.
MADDOW: This is what he says! This is how he explains where the bill came from.
INHOFE: Who is he?
MADDOW: He is David Bahati. He says he was told by Americans that it was too late in America to propose such legislation. That’s David Bahati speaking to The New York Times.
INHOFE: And can you tell me who he is? I’ve never heard of him.
MADDOW: David Bahati was described as The Family and The Fellowship’s “key man” in Uganda. Did you ever talk to any Uganda legislators?
INHOFE: How would I know if?? How could I?? I don’t have any idea who you’re talking about, and I certainly don’t have any idea on these accusations of executing gays.
Given how tightly-knit The Family likely is ? as best the organization is understood from the investigative reporting of journalist Jeff Sharlet ? it is near-impossible that Bahati could have had any interactions with the group without Inhofe being well aware of who he was and why he was present. From the interview, it seems Inhofe is unclear why he even critiqued Maddow in his own book, making his claims of ignorance about the “Kill The Gays” bill, especially considering all the time he claims to have spent in Uganda, all that more suspicious.
In a Wall Street Journal oped last month, Mitt Romney laid out “how I’ll respond to a China’s rising power” and criticized the Obama administration’s handling of relations with Beijing. Romney warns of a China as a regional hegemon:
The character of the Chinese government — one that marries aspects of the free market with suppression of political and personal freedom — would become a widespread and disquieting norm.
In the op-ed, the former Massachusetts governor also criticized Obama for failing to press Beijing on human rights and intellectual property violations.
While Romney is quick to criticize Beijing and the White House’s management of U.S.-China relations, an examination of the GOP frontrunner’s investments with Bain Capital — a company he co-founded and once led — suggest he has profited from Chinese surveillance of its own citizenry and from companies that have engaged in intellectual property theft.
The New York Times revealed yesterday that a Bain-run fund in which a Romney family blind trust had holdings purchased Uniview Technologies in December, a Chinese company that claims to be the biggest supplier of surveillance cameras to the Chinese government. Uniview produces “infrared antiriot” cameras and software that allow police to share images in real time and provided technology for an emergency command center in Tibet that “provides a solid foundation for the maintenance of social stability and the protection of people?s peaceful life,? according to Uniview?s Web site.
Human rights advocates say that the rapidly growing number of surveillance cameras in Chinese cities are used to intimidate political and religious activists. “There are video cameras all over our monastery, and their only purpose is to make us feel fear,? Loksag, a Tibetan Buddhist monk in Gansu Province told the Times. He said the cameras helped the authorities identify and detain nearly 200 monks who participated in a protest at his monastery in 2008.
Romney has said he has no role in Bain’s operations but a financial disclosure form filed last August showed that his wife, Ann Romney, held a $100,000 to $250,000 investment in the Bain Capital Asia Fund that purchased Uniview.
In his Wall Street Journal op-ed, Romney wrote, “In the economic arena, we must directly counter abusive Chinese practices in the areas of trade, intellectual property, and currency valuation.”
But Romney’s apparent hypocrisy between his hardline positions on China and his lucrative investment portfolio is on show once again with Bain Capital’s investment in Chinese YouTube competitor Youku. CBS Marketwatch co-founder Bill Bishop writes on his blog, Sinocism, that Romney’s talk of pressing Beijing to better enforce intellectual property rights is in direct contradiction with Bain Capital’s early investment in Youku, a “pirate’s den of copyright infringement” in the site’s early days. A Bain Capital VP now sits on the board of Youku and Youku has reportedly cracked down on copyright violating content. Its newly acquired partner, Tudou, still hosts a variety of pirated and copyright infringing videos.
But if Romney profited from Bain’s ties to Youku and Uniview Technologies, it’s worth examining how the GOP frontrunner’s tough-talk on China can happily coexist with Bain’s investments in companies who have constructed business models around Chinese human rights abuses and intellectual property theft.
Faced with global warming facts on the Rachel Maddow show last night, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) countered, “It’s not true.” Maddow asked him to react to the 97 percent of scientists who agree that global warming is real. Although Inhofe was eager to point to anecdotal evidence for his conspiracy theories, he simply replied:
That isn’t true Rachel. You say something over and over again and your audience, particularly your liberal audience, they want to believe it [...] This 97 percent, that doesn’t mean anything. I’ve named literally thousands of scientists on the floor.
As a prominent climate denier and Big Oil favorite, Inhofe?s ignored the scientific evidence throughout the interview. But he’s not known for relying on scientific research — recently, he quoted the Bible as proof.
One of his points was that environmentalists aren’t “winning” despite outspending the energy industry 2-1. But environmentalists are the ones vastly outspent by dirty energy, 8 to 1 in lobbying and contributions during the climate bill debate. Inhofe’s evidence was a discredited Climate Shift report where even the leading expert on the report withdrew his name.
During the interview, Inhofe denied Big Oil’s mere existence, saying “because we hear things about big oil but what you hear is not all that big of oil.” Inhofe said the $4 billion in tax breaks to oil doesn’t count as a subsidy, even though he admitted the industry is “actually doing really well right now.” The top five oil companies alone made $137 billion in profits, while spending $146 million lobbying Congress to maintain those same tax breaks.
As Maddow herself pointed out, Inhofe benefits from polluters doing well — he’s taken almost $500,000 from oil and gas, and unsurprisingly Koch Industries is his No. 1.
Watch part 1 and part 2 of the interview:
A New Jersey jury has convicted Rutgers student Dharun Ravi of a hate crime for spying on his gay roommate Tyler Clementi, who later committed suicide. Ravi was also found guilty of invasion of privacy and witness tampering, though he was acquitted of charges against Clementi’s date. He faces charges of up to ten years in prison and possible deportation to India. Steven Goldstein of Garden State Equality said “this verdict sends the important message that a ‘kids will be kids’ defense is no excuse to bully another student.”
In 2010, as the nation slowly ground its way from Great Recession to recovery, 93 percent of national income gains went to the richest 1 percent of Americans. As Reuters’s David Cay Johnston pointed out today, this makes the 2010 recovery quite different from the recovery that followed the Great Depression, as then, income gains were widely shared by the population, not concentrated at the very top:
The 1934 economic rebound was widely shared, with strong income gains for the vast majority, the bottom 90 percent.
In 2010, we saw the opposite as the vast majority lost ground.
National income gained overall in 2010, but all of the gains were among the top 10 percent. Even within those 15.6 million households, the gains were extraordinarily concentrated among the super-rich, the top one percent of the top one percent.
Just 15,600 super-rich households pocketed an astonishing 37 percent of the entire national gain.
During the recovery, corporate profits have also roared back, already hitting their pre-recession heights. Wages, however, have not done the same.
Arizona’s county sherriff’s are not exactly known for setting the standard for effective law enforcement and loyalty to the Constitution — indeed, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is currently under federal investigation for widespread mistreatment of Latinos and other violations of the law. Nevertheless, an Arizona senate committee just approved a unconstitutional bill which would require federal law enforcement officers to provide advance notice to Arpaio and his fellow sheriffs before taking action in their counties:
A Senate panel voted Thursday to fire a warning shot of sorts over the heads of federal law enforcement agencies: Don?t come around here unless you get local OK.
The legislation, crafted by Rep. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, would require employees of those agencies to first notify the sheriff of the county ?before taking any official law enforcement action in a county in this state.?
The only exception would be if the notification would impede the federal officer?s duties. But even then, HB 2434 has a requirement to notify the sheriff ?as soon as practicable after taking the action.?
The Constitution simply does not allow states to order federal officials to do anything. Under our Constitution, federal law is “the supreme law of the land,” so when Congress enacts an otherwise valid federal law and empowers federal officers to enforce it, the states have no power whatsoever to limit that enforcement or place conditions on it.
Disturbingly, the bill may also be connected to a radical anti-government group known as the “Oath Keepers.” The Oath Keepers is a right-wing group that pushes local law enforcement to pledge to defy federal “orders” the Oath Keepers believe are unconstitutional. Their website is riddled with paranoid rhetoric about government officials “disarm[ing] the American people,” “confiscat[ing] the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies,” and “blockad[ing] American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.” In early 2008, the Oath Keepers’ founder warned that a “dominatrix-in-chief” named “Hitlery Clinton” would impose a police state on America and shoot all resisters. After Democratic primary voters chose President Obama over Clinton, the Oath Keepers simply rewrote their paranoid fantasy to include a taller, African-American lead. Rep. Gowan, the lead sponsor of this bill, is listed as a member of the Tucson Oath Keepers on their Meetup page.
So, while merely notifying local law enforcement of federal actions may seem like a minor imposition, the bill makes sense in the context of a broader Oath Keeper agenda, because it gives local sherriffs advance notice of which federal actions they wish to defy.
Richard Nixon ushered in the War on Drugs. George W. Bush, the War on Terror. And now Rick Santorum introduces the War on Porn.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says that ?America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography? because the Obama administration favors ?pornographers over children.?
In an undated statement on his official website, the former Pennsylvania senator promises that he will ?vigorously? fight to make sure porn isn?t easily available in the U.S.
?Pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships,? the statement says. ?It contributes to misogyny and violence against women. It is a contributing factor to prostitution and sex trafficking.?
Uh, I'm pretty sure studies have shown that porn has reduced violence against women, but whatever. He's rolling.
?Current federal ?obscenity? laws prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier,? the statement continues, adding that these laws should be ?vigorously enforced.?
So, to review.
Extending health insurance to 30 million people = socialist tyranny.
Instructing the Attorney General of the United States to prosecute Marriott for showing boobies = small government.
Just as grandmasters know that controlling the center of the board is the key to winning chess, the primary objective in American politics has always been to get "freedom" on your side.
Convince the public that it's the other guy trying to impose his beliefs on you and you're nine-tenths the way home. This holds true even when the pernicious belief purportedly being forced down our throats is the oppressive idea that we should all live and let live.
And so, given the opportunity to retreat with dignity from a dispute with President Obama that puts them on the wrong side of 98% of their own church followers, the American Catholic bishops this week doubled down on their confrontation with the democratic state over women's access to contraception.
In words that suspiciously sound as if they were holy ghost-written for them by that evil Republican word-wizard, Frank Luntz, the bishops are making the potentially reckless wager that they can bluff the American people into believing that efforts to block their determination to ram Catholic orthodoxy down our throats constitutes an unconstitutional abridgment of religious "freedom."
In a statement released by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday, the prelates said they were "strongly unified and intensely focused" in their opposition to what they considered "the various threats to religious freedom in our day."
Of most immediate concern is the administration's insistence that virtually all private health plans provide basic coverage for contraception. The exemptions provided in the law for "religious employers" such as convents, seminaries and churches, the bishops say are "arbitrarily narrow."
Yet, despite their own breathtakingly sweeping insistence that Church doctrine be given priority over all other considerations of science, medicine, public health and individual women's preference, the bishops would like us to know that they are entirely the innocent victims in this dispute.
Stealing a page from Frank Luntz (or reciting the talking points he gave them) the bishops insist the controversy over birth control "is not about access to contraception" nor is it about the Catholic Church "wanting to force anybody to do anything."
Instead, say the bishops, the issue is "an unwarranted government definition of religion."
The democratic state is out-of-bounds, say the bishops, when it categorizes those who run hospitals, schools, universities - and even taco stands - as "employers" instead of "churches" and in so doing makes religious employers equally subject as all other employers to duly-enacted labor and workplace laws.
What the bishops want instead is for the religious exemption they now enjoy with church employees to extend virtually anywhere Catholicism itself intersects with the larger secular society. This includes not only to the hospitals, schools, universities and charitable organizations owned and operated by the Catholic Church - and heavily subsidized by the government, it should be said. The bishops also want a blanket exemption for any observant private Catholic employer whose "personal civil rights" the bishops contend are violated by a government mandate instructing him to provide health insurance to their female employees that covers health services morally objectionable to the employer.
While the bishops pretend the issue is "freedom," we have the Washington Post's Michael Gerson to thank for showing what a tangled, incoherent mess conservatives typically make of the word whenever they try to talk meaningfully about individual rights and liberties while telling us we must all obey our betters and conform to the strictures of our churches and communities.
Thinking for yourself, or doing as you are told - this has always been the line that separates liberals from conservatives who think freedom is synonymous with anarchy.
And so, Gerson says there are really only two kinds of religious liberty. The first, he says, is one that contends freedom of conscience can only be protected and advanced "by the autonomy of religious groups" like the Catholic Church.
This is the conservative view of religious liberty, in which the proper role of government is to "honor an institutional pluralism" -- meaning the ability of people "to associate, live and act in accordance with their religious beliefs, limited only by the clear requirements of public order."
The other tradition, says Gerson, is "modern liberalism" in which freedom of conscience is defined "in purely personal terms."
In this view, he says, the individual has priority over his church or community in matters of conscience and so it is the duty of the state to "intervene to protect the individual from the oppression of illiberal social institutions, particularly religious ones."
John Locke made this distinction explicit, said Gerson, when he said "Catholics can worship as they wish as individuals, but their institution is a danger to the liberal order" and so must be made to "reflect liberal ideals and values."
Quite so. But it should be said in Locke's defense that this was only true only to the extent that those religious institutions attempted to exert political authority, as the bishops are now, even as they lay down a thick carpet of Frank Luntz-like rhetorical fog to shroud their overt political activism in the majesty of the First Amendment and its protections of religious freedoms.
Like most conservatives, Gerson embraces a rather benign view of the exercise of political power by religious institutions or other ideologically-motivated institutions that are structurally undemocratic, authoritarian, hierarchical and unaccountable by nature.
The Founding Fathers were not quite to sanguine about the unhindered exercise of such ecclesiastical power. They knew from their study of political history that for republics to endure, a wall of separation between democratic institutions and those fundamentally undemocratic, like churches, was often prudent.
Fifty years after the Supreme Court declared laws against contraception to be unconstitutional, the Catholic bishops and like-minded reactionaries have re-grouped around the idea that an employer-based health care system such as the one that still persists in the US creates violations of religious "freedom" whenever religious organizations and religiously devout employers are mandated to help finance services which their moral beliefs prohibit.
Yet, a quick review of the history of this conflict reveals that hostility to birth control runs a good deal deeper than the mere financing of it, even if the theological opposition to contraception by the Church leadership is far from universal.
In today's New York Times, Seth Meehan, fellow at Boston College's Clough Center and author of the author of "From Patriotism to Pluralism: How Catholics Initiated the Repeal of Birth Control Restrictions in Massachusetts," recalls the Church's early efforts to ban birth control in Boston.
According to Meehan, in 1948 Boston's Cardinal Richard Cushing led public efforts against Referendum No. 4, which was a statewide ballot measure to relax the state's then-existing ban on contraception.
Using both the pulpit and the public air waves, the Catholic leadership argued that birth control was "still against God's law" while Cushing himself defined contraception as "anti-social and anti-patriotic, as well as absolutely immoral." In the end, says Meehan, 57% of voters rejected the referendum.
Nearly 20 years later, Cardinal Cushing had a change of heart. Just prior to the Supreme Court's 1965 decision in Griswold v. Connecticut that rendered the controversy moot, Cushing entered into what he called a "friendly discussion with those whose views of life and its meaning are different than his own." One of those with whom the Cardinal "adopted a conciliatory tone" on the Church's objections to birth control was a young state representative from the Boston suburb of Brookline named Michael Dukakis.
As Meehan reports, in 1963 Cushing told an unidentified radio caller that the existing ban on birth control was "bad law" because neither he nor anyone else had a right "to impose my thinking, which is rooted in religious thought, on those who do not think as I do."
The anonymous caller turned out to be the executive director of Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts. It was the first time, said Meehan, that the Cardinal publicly announced a willingness to accept revisions to the state's contraception law.
When a bill that would allow physicians to prescribe birth control to "any married person" was introduced in 1965, it passed the Massachusetts House 136 to 80 after a very similar bill had been defeated the previous year, 119 to 97.
The difference was Cushing's endorsement and his belief that "freedom" in this context meant that Catholics should "not seek to impose by law their moral view on other members of society."
Read The Full Article:
Right-wing media are falsely claiming that a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows that the cost of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has doubled since CBO's estimate in 2010. In fact, CBO's analysis actually showed that the insurance coverage provisions of the health care law will cost less than originally estimated.
Fox'sDoocy: Health Care Law "Is Going To Wind Up Costing Us Double, At Least." On the March 16edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy and Fox Newslegal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. both claimed that the CBO report showed thatthe ACA "is going to wind up costing us double, at least." From Fox &Friends:
DOOCY: One hefty price tag. A new report fromthe Congressional Budget Office, the CBO, estimating that President Obama'shealth care law will cost about twice as much as he originally promised. Butthat it will actually now reduce the nation's overall deficit over time, theysay.
JOHNSON: What the president was talking aboutand we heard it time and time again, press conference, speech, $900 billion. Soin a couple of years now, it's skyrocketed, with new estimates out to 2022 toalmost $1.8 trillion.
DOOCY: You know, this is such a big story, asyou look at the national debt and you're talking about the deficit beingreduced. This is such a big story that this is going to wind up costing usdouble at least, although you project quadruple the amount that we werepromised and a lot more people will not be insured. And yet the mainstreammedia, nary a word. [Fox News, Fox & Friends,3/16/12]
FoxNation: "Obamacare Twice As Expensive At $900 BILLION Price Tag?" A March 15 Fox Nationpost highlighted a FoxNews.com article about the CBO report under the headline,"Obamacare Twice as Expensive at $900 BILLION Price Tag?" From Fox Nation:
WashingtonExaminer:Heath Care Law Cost Is "More Than Double What Obama Advertised." In a March 13 post onThe Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog,senior editorial writer Philip Klein wrote:
President Obama's nationalhealth care law will cost $1.76 trillion over a decade, according to a newprojection released today by the Congressional Budget Office, rather thanthe $940 billion forecast when it was signed into law.
Democrats employed manyaccounting tricks when they were pushing through the national health carelegislation, the most egregious of which was to delay full implementation ofthe law until 2014, so it would appear cheaper under the CBO's standard ten-yearbudget window and, at least on paper, meet Obama's pledge that the legislationwould cost "around $900 billion over 10 years." When the final CBOscore came out before passage, critics noted that the true 10 year costwould be far higher than advertised once projections accounted for fullimplementation.
Given that in 2022, the last year available,the gross cost of the coverage expansions are $265 billion, we're likelylooking at about $2 trillion over the first decade, or more than double whatObama advertised. [The WashingtonExaminer, 3/14/12]
GatewayPundit: "Obamacare Will Cost Twice As Much As Promised." In a March 14 GatewayPundit post, conservative blogger Jim Hoft wrote:
In March 2010 leadingdemocrats and their lackeys in the state-run media were "just giddy" to report that they crunched some numbers andfound the nationalized health care bill they were pushing would reduce thedeficit by $138 billion.
It was a lie. Democrats knew it was a lie...
But, after several backroom deals they rammed the bill through Congress anyway.
Americans are right to be concerned about ourcountry's enormous debt, especially given the Congressional Budget Office'srecent announcement that the health care bill will not in fact provide thedeficit reductions the president promised. Republicans are committed toaddressing Americans' concerns with fiscally responsible policies that willcreate jobs, grow the economy, and reduce our nations deficit.
This week the CBO released somerevised numbers and the true cost of Obamacare is twice what we were promised.[Gateway Pundit, 3/14/12]
CBO:Insurance Coverage Provisions Will Be "About $50 Billion Less Than" PreviousEstimate. Inthe March 13 companion blog to CBO's 2012 estimate of PPACA's insurancecoverage provisions, CBO reported:
The Estimated Net Cost of the InsuranceCoverage Provisions Is Smaller Than Estimated in March 2011
CBO and JCT now estimate that the insurancecoverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of just under $1.1trillion over the 2012-2021 period-about $50 billion less thanthe agencies' March 2011 estimate for that 10-year period.
Gross Costs Are Higher, but OffsettingBudgetary Effects Are Also Higher
The current estimate of the gross costsof the coverage provisions -- $1,496 billionthrough 2021 -- is about $50 billion higherthan last year's projection; however, the other budgetary effects of thoseprovisions, which partially offset those gross costs, also have increased inCBO's and JCT's estimates -- to $413 billion -- leading to the small decrease in the net10-year tally.
Over the 10-year period from 2012 through2021, enactment of the coverage provisions of the ACA was projected last Marchto increase federal deficits by $1,131 billion, whereas the March 2012 estimateindicates that those provisions will increase deficits by $1,083 billion. [CBO,3/13/12,emphasis in original]
Reuters:"The Estimated Costs" Of ACA's Insurance Coverage"Have Been Reduced By $48 Billion Through 2021." From a March 13Reuters article:
The estimated net costs of expandinghealthcare coverage under President Barack Obama's landmark restructuring havebeen reduced by $48 billion through 2021, though fewer people would be coveredunder private insurance plans, a new analysis from the nonpartisanCongressional Budget Office showed on Tuesday.
By reducing the estimated net 2012-2021 coststo $1.083 trillion from $1.131 trillion a year ago, the CBO report could helpDemocrats blunt some of the criticism over the high costs of extending coverageto some 47 million uninsured Americans, as they try to tout savings elsewherein the law.
These cost reductions are largely due tolower estimates for subsidies and tax credits associated with the law's plannedinsurance exchanges for individual coverage. [Reuters, 3/13/12]
CBSNews.com:"CBO Lowers Health Reform Cost Estimate." A March 14 CBSNews.com articlenoted:
Congressional economists are estimatingsomewhat lower costs for covering the uninsured under President Barack Obama'shealth care overhaul law, as well as slightly fewer people gaining coverage.
Assuming the Supreme Court does not overturnthe law, the Congressional Budget Office would reduce the number of uninsuredby 30 million in 2016, or 2 million fewer people than estimated last year.Total costs from 2012-2021 are about $50 billion lower than estimated lastyear. That's due to a combination of factors, including overall health carecosts rising more slowly than in the recent past. [CBSNews.com,3/14/12]
NewRepublicSenior Editor Jonathan Cohn: "No, Obamacare's Cost Didn't Just Double." In a March 15 post onThe New Republic, Jonathan Cohn wrote:
If CBO had truly determined that health carereform's cost will be twice the original estimates, it would be huge news. ButCBO said nothing of the sort.
In the this latest estimate, CBO extends itsprojection out one more year, to capture the expenses from 2012 to 2022, inorder to capture a full decade. In 2022, CBO says, the gross cost of coverageexpansion will be $265 billion. Add that to the $1.496 and you get (withrounding) the $1.76 trillion -- the one inthe press releases and the Fox story.
But there is nothing new or surprising aboutthis. It's only slightly more money than the previous year's outlays. Theten-year number seems to jump only because the time frame for the estimate hasmoved, dropping one year, 2011, and adding another, 2022. Obamacare hasvirtually no outlays in 2011, because the Medicaid expansion and subsidiesdon't start up until 2014, which means the shifting time frame drops a year ofno implementation and adds one of full implementation.
The real news of the CBO estimate is that,according to its models, health care reform is going to save even more taxpayerdollars than previously thought.[The New Republic, 3/15/12]
MotherJones'Kevin Drum: "The Cost Of Obamacare Has Gone Down, Not Up." In a March 15 MotherJones post, Kevin Drum wrote:
Republicans rushed to the microphones todayto announce that new projections show that Obamacare will break the bank. Infact, says Fox News, a CBO reports says that it will cost "twiceas much as the original $900 billion price tag."
You will beunsurprised to learn that this is not true.
As Table 1 shows, if you compare the original2012-21 time period, CBO's new estimate of the cost of Obamacare is $48billion less than it was last year. (The report estimates onlythe cost of expanded insurance coverage under Obamacare, not the entire set ofcosts and revenues. So the total impact on the deficit hasn't yet beenupdated.) [Mother Jones, 3/15/12]
Klein:CBO Report "Shows The Net Cost Of The Coverage Provisions Will Be About $50Billion Less Than Previously Estimated." In a March 15 post on TheWashington Post's Wonkblog, Ezra Klein noted that those claiming PPACAcosts will increase "didn't read this analysis closely." From The WashingtonPost:
You'll notice something about the above list:It appears to add up to a net reduction in the cost of the health-care law.And, sure enough, here's CBO: "the insurance coverage provisions of the ACAwill have a net cost of just under $1.1 trillion over the 2012-2021period--about $50 billion less than the agencies' March 2011 estimate." Youwould get the opposite impression reading Ransom.
But those other parts of the bill aren't asecret. They're mentioned right there in the analysis. Quoting again: "CBO andJCT have previously estimated that the ACA will, on net, reduce budget deficitsover the 2012-2021 period; that estimate of the overall budgetary impact of theACA has not been updated."
It's easy to do at least some of the updateourselves. This analysis shows the net cost of the coverage provisions will beabout $50 billion less than previously estimated. That implies the law will cutmore, not less, from the deficit than previous estimates suggested. In otherwords, this estimate says the bill is more, not less, fiscally responsible thanwas previously reported.[The Washington Post, 3/15/12]
(Mitt Romney photo Rebecca Cook/Reuters, Joe Biden photo Obama For America)
Based this anecdote reported by Molly Ball in The Atlantic, Mitt Romney and his team are genuinely oblivious to the political dangers inherent in his brand of plutocratic capitalism:
One Washington-based Republican adviser recounted an interaction in which a senior member of the Romney team, asked what the campaign planned to do to soften the class-based criticism of Romney, gave a blank look and snapped, "Nobody cares about that crap."Contrast that attitude with this line from Vice President Joe Biden's campaign kickoff speech yesterday:
Simply stated, we?re about promoting the private sector, they?re about protecting the privileged sector. (Applause.) We are for a fair shot and a fair shake. They?re about no rules, no risks, and no accountability.I'd say that Biden had sprung a trap, but I think Romney and his team genuinely believe that their brand of plutocratic capitalism is the one and only true form of free enterprise and that anyone who doesn't buy into is guilty of socialism, communism and un-American loathing of the private sector.
In his speech yesterday, Biden dismantled their narrow world view. Democrats do want a strong and growing private sector, and they don't expect government to do everything. Unlike Republicans, however, Democrats are realistic enough to know that you need government to establish and enforce rules of the road to make sure that competition is fair, that sometimes you need to the public sector to step in and support the private sector when the economy is in crisis, and that a strong safety net to prevent poverty makes us a stronger and freer nation.
When Democrats have failed, it's because they've forgotten those things and caved into Romney's plutocratic vision, but when they've done things right, they've not only shown that Democrats are better capitalists than Republicans, but that a strong private sector can mean a strong middle class. In three years, President Obama already has a better record on private sector jobs than President Bush in eight. And President Clinton had a better economic record than President Reagan?and he balanced the budget while doing it.
Mitt Romney might believe this election is about a choice between his economic vision and Soviet-style Communism, but as Biden said, it's really about whether we're going to stack the deck in favor of a privileged sector or whether we're going to have a private sector that gives everybody a fair shot. And no matter what Romney's campaign says, people do give a crap about that.