Archive | February, 2017

How a GOP Health-Care Plan Could Leave Rural Areas Devoid of Coverage

By Vann R. Newkirk II

The devil’s always in the details, but if the details of a new 100-page leaked draft of a House Republican plan to repeal Obamacare are too dense to parse, here’s a brief snapshot: Millions of people in rural areas where it’s already hardest to find doctors might no longer be able to afford health insurance in a few years.

The basics of that plan, which was unveiled by House Speaker Paul Ryan two weeks ago, and the rough shape of which has the support of new health secretary Tom Price and the Trump administration, are known. The plan removes the individual and employer mandates to purchase and provide insurance, respectively, and it would also repeal most of the taxes that fund Obamacare. It would roll back funding for the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion and dramatically restructure the Medicaid program’s funding. Further, the plan would replace the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing subsidies and premium tax credits with an age-rated tax credit, all while keeping Obamacare’s popular pre-existing conditions ban.

With the leaked draft legislation released by Politico last week, there are more details as to exactly how House Republicans and the Trump administration plan to repeal Obamacare and usher in a replacement. The draft specifies that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion for low-income able-bodied adults won’t be completely eliminated, but the eligibility and funding will be rolled back after 2020. The draft also contains a provision changing federal funding for Medicaid in 2020 onward from an open-ended obligation to a system where the per-person spending every year is capped based on spending levels in 2019 and increased annually to correspond with medical inflation.

Although the draft plan repeals the tax-based individual mandate, it re-establishes a kind of mandate through its incentive to maintain continuous health-insurance coverage. For people not covered by employers or …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



Trump’s First Month: An Evaluation

By Molly Ball

Just over a month ago, Donald Trump thundered into the White House with a bold declaration. “We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining, but never doing anything about it,” he said. Instead, he contended, “Now arrives the hour of action.”

Trump promised to steamroll the Washington status quo, disrupting both Republicans and Democrats. He would replace the elite consensus of both parties with a new, populist-nationalist philosophy, and bully Congress into submission.

One month in, Trump has certainly succeeded in kicking up a frenzy of news and controversy. It surrounds him at all times, like the cloud of dust around Pig-Pen in Peanuts. But when it comes to taming Washington, the results are decidedly mixed. Instead, it is the Republican Party—in the form of Congress and conservative institutions—that seems mostly to be in charge, and Trump who is being tamed.

The things Trump has succeeded in doing have largely been things Republicans already wanted before he came along: naming a strongly conservative Cabinet and Supreme Court nominee. At the points where Trump’s platform clashed with GOP elites—trade, immigration, and foreign policy—he has softened or been rebuked.

On the big-ticket items he vowed to force through—health-care and tax reform—he has found himself at the mercy of the usual slow-moving, politically balky congressional processes. And on economic policy, it is not at all clear the GOP will go along with Trump’s calls for building infrastructure and preserving entitlements, particularly if these priorities come at the cost of balanced budgets.

Meanwhile, much of Trump’s attention has been consumed with trash-talking tweets, complaints about his treatment by the press, and executive orders that do little to move policy. Beyond all that bluster, who’s really in charge? Here’s a breakdown of some major policy areas:

A Conservative-Pleasing Cabinet: The “deconstruction of the administrative …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



Trump’s Budget Proposal Threatens Democratic and Republican Ambitions

By Ronald Brownstein

President Trump reportedly wants to exclude Social Security and Medicare from budget cuts while severely retrenching other domestic federal functions. That represents a frontal challenge not only to congressional Democrats but also to Republican budget hawks led by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

From one direction, the administration’s emerging budget blueprint represents a clear generational tilt toward the “gray” over the “brown”: It would elevate the spending priorities of a preponderantly white-and Republican leaning-older population over the needs of heavily diverse, and mostly Democratic, younger generations. But the plan would also prioritize the demands of seniors over the long-running effort by Ryan-led House Republicans to restrain the long-term growth in entitlement spending––which almost all budget experts consider the key to controlling long-term federal deficits.

“If you want to solve the budget program, and you must, you have to look at those programs,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, a conservative thinktank, and former director of the Congressional Budget Office.

In both respects, the emerging budget proposal––like Trump’s bristling criticism of free trade, foreign alliances and even legal immigration––would mark another milestone in his drive to reconfigure the Republican Party as a nationalist and populist champion of blue-collar white voters, many of them older and less affluent.

“As the nation went through this very rapid demographic change the question has been would older white Americans would essentially withdraw from the public sphere and not fund a new generation who did not look like their kids,” said Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN, a Democratic advocacy group. “You are going to see that basic dynamic play out in a very significant way under Trump. What Trump is doing is creating a wall around older white Americans: he is being an isolationist both within the country and without. He is …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



A Feminism for the 99 Percent: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor on the March 8 Women's Strike

UWM students protest against Donald Trump's hateful rhetoric in Wisconsin, January 1, 2014.

On March 8, women in the US will strike alongside women’s organizations from 30 countries, bringing radical politics back to International Women’s Day, says Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation and assistant professor at Princeton University.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students protest against Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric in Wisconsin, January 1, 2014. (Photo: Joe Brusky / Flickr)

Since election night 2016, the streets of the US have rung with resistance. People all over the country have woken up with the conviction that they must do something to fight inequality in all its forms. But many are wondering what it is they can do. In this ongoing “Interviews for Resistance” series, experienced organizers, troublemakers and thinkers share their insights on what works, what doesn’t, what has changed and what is still the same. Today’s interview is the sixteenth in the series. Click here for the most recent interview before this one.

Today we bring you a conversation about the upcoming women’s strike with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, the author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation and an assistant professor of African American Studies at Princeton University.

Sarah Jaffe: You were one of the original people who called for a women’s strike on March 8. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: The idea for the women’s strike actually didn’t originate in the United States, but it is a call in solidarity with women’s organizations from 30 different countries who put out a call for a strike on International Women’s Day, March 8. This is our effort at trying to explain why it was important that American feminists sign onto this call … in this country, part of our intention is to bring politics back to International Women’s Day by …read more

Via:: Truthout



Study Documents How Strict Voter ID Laws Suppress Voting by People of Color

The courts have found that voter ID laws intentionally discriminate against voters of color. Now newly published research offers details about the laws’ politically suppressive effects.

A study led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) that appeared last month in the Journal of Politics shows how strict voter ID laws drive down turnout of racial and ethnic minorities. A pre-publication version released last year drew much attention as it was the first to indicate that the proliferation of voter ID laws following the Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act in its 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision has indeed driven down minority turnout.

“When these laws are enacted, the voices of Latinos, Blacks, and Asian Americans all become more muted and the relative influence of white America grows,” co-author Zoltan Hajnal told Facing South.

To date, few studies have documented the consequences of strict voter ID laws, which require voters to show one of a restricted number of IDs before casting a ballot. The study by Hajnal et al. looked at all 10 states that had a strict voter ID laws in place in 2014: Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Since then, the Texas law has been struck down by the courts while Wisconsin has adopted one.

Much of the previous research on voter ID effects analyzed elections that occurred prior to implementation of strict voter ID. It also relied on self-reported voter turnout, which is often overstated.

But Hajnal and his co-authors — Nazita Lajevardi of UCSD and Lindsay Nielson of Bucknell University — used data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study to analyze the validated participation of racial and ethnic minorities during recent elections. They then compared voter …read more

Via:: Truthout



“Decade of Betrayal”: How the US Expelled More Than a Half Million US Citizens to Mexico in the 1930s

President Donald Trump is slated to give his first presidential address to Congress today. Democratic lawmakers have begun giving their tickets away to immigrants as a protest against Trump’s push to increase deportations and to block residents from some Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Well, this is not the first time people of Mexican descent have been demonized, accused of stealing jobs, and forced to leave the country. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, more than a million people residing in the United States were deported to Mexico — about 60 percent of them were US citizens of Mexican descent. We speak to the preeminent scholar on this often overlooked chapter of American history: Francisco Balderrama, professor of American history and Chicano studies at California State University, Los Angeles. He is co-author of Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s.

Please check back later for full transcript.

…read more

Via:: Truthout



The Trump Infrastructure Plan Won't Bridge the Nation's Job Gap

What Trump and the Republican party offer on infrastructure calls for resistance, not accommodation.

What Trump and the Republican party offer on infrastructure calls for resistance, not accommodation. (Photo: San Francisco Public Press / Flickr)

President Trump on Tuesday night is expected to make what he told a meeting of governors on Monday would be “a big statement” on infrastructure spending. Democrats who have been fighting Trump fiercely on virtually every other issue have been eagerly awaiting an infrastructure plan from Trump that they can sign on to, because they hear in Trump’s rhetoric their own calls to put people to work fixing the nation’s decaying roads, bridges and other public assets.

But a report just released by the People’s Action Institute warns that if the goals are good jobs, boosting communities left behind by the anemic economic growth of the last seven years and slowing climate change, Democrats need to be wary of the fine print of any infrastructure plan coming out of the Trump administration. As in virtually every other policy area, what Trump and the Republican party is offering on infrastructure calls for resistance, not accommodation.

The new report, “Prosperity, Not Poverty,” is part of The Job Gap Economic Prosperity Series that has been produced since 1999 by the Alliance for a Just Society, which became part of People’s Action last year. This report underscores the urgent need for living-wage jobs, defined in the report as jobs that pay a national average of $17.28 per hour. That’s the wage the report says a single adult needs to earn in order to meet basic needs without public assistance, with enough left over to save for an emergency.

There are seven job seekers for every job opening that pays at least that wage, according to the report. “This leaves six out of …read more

Via:: Truthout



Solidarity for Black Workers at Nissan

Workers who’ve waged a years-long struggle for a union at the Nissan auto plant in Canton, Mississippi are about to get some star power.

On March 4, Senator Bernie Sanders, NAACP President Cornell William Brooks, actor Danny Glover, and even a professional football player or two are expected to show up in solidarity with the workers.

The rally will certainly boost the profile of a campaign that has already mobilized faith, civil rights, and student groups in support of the plant’s 5,000 employees, about 80 percent of whom are African American. But major labor battles like this one are not won in a day.

Leading the campaign’s day-to-day work in the trenches is Sanchioni Butler. A United Auto Workers employee since 1988, Butler relocated to Mississippi in 2008 and has been the lead organizer for the Nissan workers in Canton for several years.

In this challenging position, Butler has learned many valuable lessons, especially about organizing black workers in the part of our country where barriers to unionization are highest.

A key lesson, Butler says, is the need to “leave all egos at the door.” In an interview for the Institute for Policy Studies report And Still I Rise, Butler explained that “You can’t come to the South with an attitude of, ‘I’m coming to save someone.’ You can’t be judgmental. You can’t be a person who is going to look down or criticize, judge, or have a savior attitude. Organizers need to listen.”

One thing Butler has heard a lot about is the Japanese firm’s efforts to demonize the UAW. Despite the fact that Nissan plants in other countries are unionized, Canton workers say management there has used various union-busting strategies, including interrogations and surveillance of workers, as well as threats to close the plant if they vote for …read more

Via:: Truthout



The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Trump Team to Focus on Defense

By Candice Norwood

Today in 5 Lines

President Trump will reportedly propose a federal budget that increases defense-related spending by $54 billion and cuts spending for other federal agencies. During a meeting with U.S. governors, Trump said his budget will put “America first” and stressed that health-care reform would come soon, adding that “nobody knew health care could be so complicated.” In an interview on NBC’s Today show, former President George W. Bush said “we all need answers” about the Trump team’s alleged contact with Russian intelligence officials and said that a free press is “indispensable to democracy.” Justice Department spokesman Mark Abueg said the administration will no longer argue that a Texas voter ID law was intended to discriminate against minorities. Trump will make his first address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night.

Today on The Atlantic

  • Keeping Quiet: Anti-Muslim incidents following the election have been roughly proportional to anti-Jewish incidents, “but attacks on American mosques have received far less attention than the bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers.” Donald Trump has condemned anti-Semitism, but has stayed silent on Islamophobic attacks. Why? (Peter Beinart)

  • Unanswered Questions: For congressional Republicans, the challenge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act “is growing with each passing day,” as the law becomes more popular and Democrats defend it with new ferocity. Here are the five biggest hurdles the GOP must overcome to succeed. (Russell Berman)

  • ‘What Is a Populist?’: Donald Trump is frequently called a populist, someone purporting to uphold the “will of the people.” Uri Friedman reviews the term’s definition, whether it applies to Trump, and what it means for the United States.

Follow stories throughout the day with our ) and Candice Norwood (@cjnorwoodwrites)

…read more

Via:: <a href= class="colorbox" title="The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Trump Team to Focus on Defense” rel=nofollow>The Atlantic


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