Republican attack on the middle class

Monday Numbers: On gold mines and shafts

moneyhugger.jpg

Chris Fitzsimon exposes the unfairness of GOP tax "reform":

20—amount in dollars of the average federal tax cuts in 2027 for households with children earning less than $75,000 under GOP tax framework released in late September.

230,000—amount in dollars of the average tax cuts in 2027 for households with children earning $1 million or more under GOP tax framework released in late September.

If this issue merely affected income tax rates, it would be bad enough. Even Reagan-era tax cuts gave a nod to the middle class, and his efforts to minimize deficit problems targeted tax shelters for the wealthy, and not deductions everybody used. But these new tax cuts rely heavily on deep cuts to the social safety net, Medicaid in particular:

E.A.T.S. Guidelines for issue advocacy in the Internet age

Notes from a recent class I gave to progressive activists:

EXPOSURE: Try to reach the widest audience possible when you are advocating for a specific issue. Although their circulation has dropped considerably, even small local newspapers will reach thousands of people, and LTE’s are a great communication tool. Social media on the Internet (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can reach even more if something you write goes viral. But be prepared for pushback.

Follow me below the fold for more discussion on this topic:

Monday Numbers: The devastation of Trump's attack on ACA subsidies

No matter how you slice it, this is incredibly bad for most Americans:

25—percentage increase projected by the Congressional Budget Office in health premiums for medium-cost plans on the ACA health exchanges when cost-sharing subsidies under the heath care law are eliminated.

200 billion—amount in dollars of the increase in the federal budget deficit over the next 10 years the CBO projects when cost-sharing subsidies under the Affordable Care Act are ended.

1 million—number of Americans the CBO projects will lose coverage when cost-sharing subsidies under the Affordable Care Act end because of no insurance carriers in their markets.

For every action there's a reaction, and sometimes that reaction is much greater than the action, and not just "equal and opposite." The domino effect from pulling even one of the critical elements out of the ACA could be catastrophic, and you can look to NC's refusal to expand Medicaid as proof if you need it.

Yes, the Affordable Care Act is still in place

But Trump is making it more difficult to enroll:

You might not know it from the political rhetoric, but the Affordable Care Act is still the law. Every American is still legally required to carry health insurance or face a tax penalty of at least $695. There will still be plans available on the exchanges in every county, and the federal government will still provide the subsidies that help more than 9 million people afford their premiums.

But while much is the same, the actual sign-up process will look very different. The Trump administration has made an array of changes that, taken together, will make the process more rushed and more confusing, consumer advocates and insurance experts told STAT.

And you can bet your bottom dollar Trump and his GOP cronies in Congress will continue to chew on this like rats nibbling on an electric cable. Aside from radically shortening the window of opportunity for enrollment, they're shutting the site down nearly every Sunday during this year's period:

NC's uninsured rate drops substantially thanks to ACA

And no thanks to the Obama-hating GOP:

North Carolina experienced another drop in the number of individuals without health insurance to a record low of 10.4 percent in 2016, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. Since the federal Affordable Care Act went into full effect in 2014, the share of people without insurance in North Carolina has dropped from 15.6 percent.

However, the rate could be significantly lower if the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved expanding Medicaid coverage to more than 500,000 of the 1.04 million North Carolinians who still lack health insurance.

That 5% is huge, close to a half-million people. People who are much less likely now to be forced to either ignore health problems or be plunged into financially-crippling medical debt. I've mentioned this before, but several years ago, when I first left the Army, I managed a discount furniture store North of Durham. We used a couple of finance companies to help people borrow money for new furniture, but at least half of those who applied were turned down because of unpaid medical bills. I'm talking some 40-50 families every week, whose credit was so bad even high interest loans were off the table. Medical debt doesn't just impact the bottom 20%, it threatens the entire middle class. But people like this guy just don't care:

Monday numbers: How to put state government on life support

The sheer magnitude of irresponsibility is breathtaking:

528 million—amount in dollars of the cost of the tax cuts enacted in the two-year budget passed by the General Assembly this year (Ibid)

900 million—amount in dollars of the full cost of the tax cuts passed by the General Assembly this year when fully in place (Ibid)

3.5 billion—amount in dollars of lost revenue thanks to the combined tax changes made by the General Assembly since 2013 (Ibid)

It's rare for me to be able to summon analogies on Mondays, I usually just hunker down and wait for the coffee to do its magic. But today, I have two analogies warring for my attention, derived from recent news stories, which I believe accurately reflect Republicans' actions. The first has to do with termites eating away at the foundations of a house, year after year, until the house actually collapses from weakened timbers. If that doesn't trick your trigger, there's also the sinkhole phenomenon: Groundwater erosion which slowly washes away soil and mineral deposits, creating unseen gaping voids of missing support, which inevitably eventually collapse, dragging the house down in the process. Okay, I might need more coffee, but you get the picture. For every action there's an equal and opposite reaction, and the displacement of mass or energy in a formula alters that formula in its entirety. These tax cuts are not "rhetorical," and neither will be the results. And we will have to live with those results for years to come.

Mark Walker gets schooled at his Town Hall in Alamance County

When your audience is ready for your bullshit:

A top House lawmaker and his constituents argued over who is to blame for rising Obamacare premiums in North Carolina. Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., said at a town hall in Alamance County Tuesday the state's lone Obamacare insurer request for a rate hike of nearly 23 percent next year is evidence the law is failing.

"Their rates and premiums are going up 22, 23 percent," he said. However, some of his constituents quickly shouted that premiums would only go up about 9 percent if President Trump guaranteed Obamacare's insurer subsidies next year. "Don't lie to us," one person shouted at the lawmaker.

Boom. That's exactly what he (and everybody else) needed to hear. And he'll probably hear it again in just a few hours in Randolph County (6;30 p.m., 413 Industrial Park Ave, Asheboro). For more info on making your voice heard at town halls, go to the Town Hall Project and check it out.

Wayne Goodwin: How NC Democrats can move forward and fight back

Make an ally of the middle class, while it still exists:

First, we must return to our roots as the party of middle-class opportunity. Growing up in rural Richmond County, I saw how far too many North Carolinians had been left behind, even as the state thrived economically. But I also saw how smart investments by the government – especially in our world-class schools and universities – could level the playing field and create economic opportunity and mobility, regardless of a person’s background or circumstances.

If I was writing this, the above would probably be my second step, with the first being: We must set aside our cynicism over politics, and work together as if those negative aspects are the exception to the rule and not the rule. That cynicism serves no purpose other than to divide us along narrow ideological confines, and the end result is always a scattered collection of small groups, actually competing with each other instead of pooling their resources. Just a quick test: If you read Wayne's first paragraph above and found more that you dislike than you like, it's probably because you were looking for things to dislike. Ergo, cynicism. Strengthening the middle-class is not just a political ploy, it's critical in maintaining our democracy, and our consumer-based economy. You want examples of what can happen when the middle-class fails, I can provide dozens, but I don't think that's something that needs a data-driven argument. Enough from me, here's more from Wayne:

Monday numbers: NC Senate's tax plan a boon for the wealthy

But for the rest of us, not so much:

50—estimated percent of Senate tax cut proposal that will be received by the top 20 percent of income earners in North Carolina (Ibid)

20,119—amount in dollars of the average annual tax cut the top one percent of income earners will receive since 2013 if the latest Senate tax plan becomes law (Ibid)

15—amount in dollars of the average annual tax cut the bottom 20 percent of income earners will receive since 2013 if the latest Senate tax plan becomes law (Ibid)

3.2 billion—amount in dollars less that the state revenue code will bring in next fiscal year than it would have before tax changes made since 2013 if the latest Senate tax plan passes (Ibid)

Every year they are in charge, Republicans whittle away at the services provided to citizens, and every year the already wealthy benefit from that. It makes you wonder if everything else they do is simply a distraction so these vampires can keep feeding on the peasantry.

Tryon Equestrian partner to fuel massive Trump propaganda machine

The Mercer family is the worst of the one-percenters:

Making America Great, a nonprofit run by Rebekah Mercer, one of Trump’s most influential donors, will begin airing $1 million in television ads on Wednesday, coupled with a $300,000 digital advertising campaign. The TV ads will run in the District of Columbia, along with ten states Trump carried in the presidential election where a Democratic senator is up for re-election in 2018: West Virginia, Wisconsin, Missouri, Michigan, North Dakota, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Montana and Pennsylvania. The digital campaign also will focus on voters in those states.

“Our group will be a conduit to highlight President Trump’s achievement to the rest of the country,” says Emily Cornell, who is moving from the Mercer-funded data firm Cambridge Analytica to run Making America Great’s day-to-day operations. “We are here to promote successes and hold accountable broken promises -- not just to those who voted for Trump, but to all Americans.”

Really? I would imagine you've got your hands full on that "holding accountable" thing already, since Mister Drain The Swamp has surrounded himself with swamp monsters. If you're frequently plagued by nausea, you may want to skip reading the following:

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Republican attack on the middle class