Sunday, July 16, 2017

Other Random Thoughts

A few more general thoughts on recent events.

Look, I have had mixed feelings about the whole Trump versus the intelligence community conflict.  On the one hand, I do believe that the "Deep State" should be subordinate to elective government and that applauding the intelligence community's efforts to undermine a duly elected President was troubling at best.  On the other hand, the President in question is Donald Trump.  But any misgivings I had vanished after the meeting with Vladimir Putin when Trump tweeted, "Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded.."  This led to jokes that the fox and the rooster were putting together a joint security unit to guard the hen house.  He might as well tweet that he planned to commit treason.  When you suspect the President of having dubious loyalties and he then goes so far as to publicly proclaim that your are right, I wholeheartedly applaud the intelligence community's efforts to keep as much classified information as possible out of the hands of this man.

And speaking of Trump, I am at an utter loss as to why anyone would expect him to have any problems with Russian interference in our election.  The interference was to his benefit, after all. Why should he complain?  As to concerns about the next election, there is one simple way to get him to care.  Convince him that such interference will benefit the Democrats next time.

And assuming the Russians do interfere in the 2018 elections, who should I expect them to favor?  There is at least an argument for them favoring the Dems.  It would, after all, lead to chaos and conflict in our government, paralyze action, and keep us fighting among ourselves.  However, I am inclined to think they would favor the Republicans for a simple reason.  The Republicans thus far have been obstructing (or at least attempting to obstruct) any investigation into Trump collusion. Democrats, if they take command of either house of Congress, can be counted upon to investigate the issue in exhaustive detail, crawling up every orifice of the parties that they can find.  I would expect the Russians to back Republicans to prevent such an outcome.

And speaking of Republicans, I really don't understand what they think they can accomplish by passing their healthcare bill without a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score.  They want to conceal how many people will lose their health insurance and how many will see the price of a policy that actually covers anything spiral out of reach.  I get that.  But how exactly do they plan to conceal the results.  If the Senate passes a bill, who can doubt that the House will pass it unchanged and Trump will sign it and the Republicans will hold a party and throw confetti and proudly proclaim that the hated Obamacare is gone.  Then the next year (with a Congressional election coming up) people will suddenly seek their premiums spike and their subsidies diminish.  Trump voters will be disproportionately affected.  How do Republicans propose to conceal that?  And they can hardly blame the Democrats, since they passed a bill with such fanfare.

Then the year after that policies will either be cheap and worthless, or good and out of reach.  And the year after that, with the Presidential election coming up, Medicaid will start to shrink, people will be kicked off insurance, and states will experience fiscal crises.  How to they propose to conceal that?

The only conclusion I can reach is that they hope to wreck the whole system so badly that the Democrats can't possibly fix it.  Then they will reap the two-fold benefits of rolling back the welfare state and blaming Democrats for not fixing the mess they made.

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