Malacandra.me

Under cover of madness by @BloggersRUs

Under cover of madness

by Tom Sullivan

Let's recap. Ten months into our reality show administration, the chief executive is still campaigning against the woman he defeated a year ago. The Attorney General is a walking senior moment. Values voters want a gun-toting, law-defying, child-molester representing Alabama in the Senate. Sean Hannity's fans spent the weekend smashing their Keurig coffee machines. A thankful Hannity gave away 500 more.

(Remember Clint Barton in Avengers: Age of Ultron? None of this makes sense.)

While all of that is going on, Republicans in the Senate are moving to kill Obamacare's individual mandate in their tax bill. They do nothing that isn't at least a twofer.

From The Atlantic:

The main argument for scrapping the insurance requirement as part of the tax bill is to solve a math problem. As currently written, the Senate bill costs the government too much money and couldn’t pass under the budget reconciliation rules Republicans are using to skirt a Democratic filibuster. While repealing the mandate technically reduces taxes on Americans who choose to pay a penalty rather than buy health insurance, the Congressional Budget Office has projected that zeroing out the penalty would actually boost federal revenues by $338 billion over a decade. That would help Republicans pay for their tax cuts—a point made by Trump in a tweet touting the move on Monday.
There are other objectionable items in the Republican plan, but with the public focused on whose pants Roy Moore had his hands in, there seems to be little opposition to stopping the bill headed for a Thursday vote in the House. Jim Newell at Slate writes:
Democrats and aligned grass-roots groups are trying everything to mobilize the same kind of opposition that repeatedly blocked Obamacare repeal earlier this year. But they’re not having much luck.

“If you look at the big picture, there’s not the same intensity in the response,” Angel Padilla, the policy director for the liberal grass-roots group Indivisible, told me.

“I think that’s pretty understandable,” he added. “[When] we’re talking about people’s health care, it was a visceral response” from people “who really felt like their health care was at risk.” Taxes, meanwhile, are confusing and complicated, with so many provisions flying around that many don’t know if they’ll come ahead winners or losers. He said that nevertheless, they have seen people activate once the contents of the bill really sink in with them, and that Indivisible groups held over 120 events in the previous week.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) voted against the Obamacare repeal earlier in the year and feels killing the mandate "complicates" the tax effort. Sens. Murkowski (R-Alaska) and McCain (R-Ariz.) declined to comment on the change.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi predicts opposition will pick up once the public gets wind that health care is on the line in the tax bill. But, Newell writes, "relying on health care politics to kill a tax bill implicitly acknowledges the underlying problem: It’s hard to get the public riled up about tax reform on its own terms."

Indeed. Especially when women across the country are more emboldened to take on millennia of sexual predation by men, and prominent men are wondering which of them is next. Tax policy doesn't focus the mind the same way.

* * * * * * * *

Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer, at tom.bluecentury at gmail.