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« Liberal Outrage: November 2013 | Main | Liberal Outrage: January 2014 »

Liberal Outrage

Finally a motivation to end gridlock

I warn you that if you click this link a video will start playing automatically.

Several lawmakers -- many of them veterans with centrist bonafides -- plan to retire after the 2014 election, making them prime recruits for lobby firms, trade groups and corporate boards.

While corporate headhunters see a future on K Street for many of the retiring lawmakers, they warn that sluggish lobbying revenues and gridlock on Capitol Hill are depressing demand.

"With revenues down, it's not going to be as fruitful. It will slowly pick up but we are still in a slump when it comes to government relations and lobbying," said Chris Jones, managing partner of CapitolWorks.

The next session of "centrist" Congress critters might consider more compromises, or they might suffer the fate of the current retirees:

That might mean taking not one but several jobs: working in venture capital, heading to academia, or sitting on corporate boards while doing a little lobbying on the side.

Sounds hard!

(Let me be clear that my ire is directed not at real ideologues of either party who stick to their guns on issues they believe in. This is about those with the "centrist bonafides" like Max Baucus, Joe Lieberman, Chuck Grassley, and Olympia Snowe who, over the past 6 years, have ruined a number of bills by exchanging their cloture votes (only!, in many cases) for watering things down just because they could.)


By fnord12 | December 23, 2013, 10:44 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link



One dimensional chess

Last night's surprise announcement that people who got dropped by their insurance will now be exempt from the individual mandate is probably irrelevant in the long run. But it does feel like a retreat at first blush. However, there is something like poetic justice here.

It's worth recalling the "three legged stool" of Obamacare: 1) Reforms to insurance, including preventing the dropping of people for pre-existing conditions, covering kids up to age 26, and the requiring of certain minimum standards. But that by itself would bankrupt the insurance companies, so we have 2) the individual mandate, which requires that young healthy people buy in to the insurance market, providing insurance companies with the cash flow to stay afloat. And then for people affected by the mandate who can't afford insurance, there's 3) subsidies, including individual subsidies and the expansion of Medicaid. There's also the creation of the exchanges so that individuals can shop for policies easily and get competitive pricing.

But what we've been seeing is that insurance companies have been sending letters to customers whose policies don't meet the new minimum standards required by #1. Instead of updating those policies to meet the standards, they are simply kicking their customers off those policies. And telling them that they have to buy into new policies that are at higher cost, and also higher than comparable policies on the exchange. And also not informing them that they could go to the exchange to look for better pricing.

This was surely surprising to the Obama administration, who put their weight behind this Rube Goldberg style* health care policy in part because it would get them the support of the insurance companies, as opposed to simply expanding Medicare to cover everybody. The lack of even a Public Option (i.e., an optional Medicare buy-in alongside the private insurance policies available in the exchange) was in part to assure insurance company support. So the insurance companies were meant to be allies in this fight, and they did come out big winners thanks to the individual mandate. So having them turn around and start dumping people probably feels like a betrayal, and in that context, now excluding those people from the individual mandate feels like a (minor) retaliation or even a threat to insurance companies to say that if you keep up the shenanigans we can simply drop the mandate. But it definitely feels like a reactive threat; hardly the eleven-dimensional chess that Obama is said to be playing.

Again, despite the media attention, the number of people getting dropped are relatively small and this move is probably insignificant in the long run. But it's interesting to watch things play out and see how the levers can be shifted.

*I'm sorry to switch metaphors from "three legged stool" to "Rube Goldberg device". If you like, the first stool leg is also the hamster wheel whose spinning powers the engine, the second leg is the hamster, and the third leg is the cheese (or whatever it is that hamsters eat).


By fnord12 | December 20, 2013, 2:33 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link



That's how it works

A man who might run for President again (via):

Free health care is just that, free health care, until you get sick. Then, if you get sick and you don't get health care, you die and you don't vote. It's actually a pretty clever system. Take care of the people who can vote and people who can't vote, get rid of them as quickly as possible by not giving them care so they can't vote against you. That's how it works.

That's largely incomprehensible word salad but he seems to be saying that it's bad that politicians are incented to not let people die. I was confused by "people who can't vote, get rid of them as quickly as possible" as a form of right wing criticism (i.e., he's not complaining that undocumented immigrants don't have health care) but it occurs to me considering it's Rick Santorum he might be talking about fetuses. Or it's just gibberish.


By fnord12 | December 17, 2013, 2:17 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link



In the style of Thomas Friedman

This is brilliant. I'd say the only problem is that the cafe should have been a Starbucks. Friedman always mentions his brands.


By fnord12 | December 16, 2013, 1:12 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link



Outrage machine is in full force

This is too hilarious. You know you've written a good article when you're quoting "One Danish Facebook user".

I'm sorry but this is all i've got today. My RSS feed is nigh empty; i guess all bloggity bloggers are already on vacation.


By fnord12 | December 12, 2013, 4:47 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



Atrios rules

Nice write-up about Atrios' quest to change the discussion on Social Security. Probably more words written about him in this article than he's ever actually written.


By fnord12 | December 5, 2013, 2:03 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link



A nice frame of mind going into the holiday season

I don't normally link to criticism of Fox News because, like, what's the point?

But of course the liberal blogs i read highlight their stuff all the time. And these two things hit me like a one two punch. That first one just made me sad. Here are these Somalian (legal) immigrants, and it's a nice little thing that their local YMCA is teaching them to swim but with the doors closed so the boys don't see them in their bathing suits, and Fox turns it into a Sharia Law panic. And then when i was softened up by that, i got hit with the latest War on Christmas nonsense, which in this instance is one of those "it's not even true but who cares if it was?" situations where you're left flummoxed trying to state a position. In both cases, it's just poisonous. Local people doing harmless and even positive things and being misrepresented and attacked on a national stage.

And as Atrios points out, it's not just that you get attacked on national television but you get inundated with phone calls, emails, tweets, etc., from angry people that have been mislead and tricked into being disgruntled and angry about everything.


By fnord12 | December 4, 2013, 5:41 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link



Worst news i heard all day

No Elizabeth Warren in 2016.


By fnord12 | December 4, 2013, 4:05 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



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