#TrumpTax Scam – If you do nothing else, do this

Thanksgiving Tax ScamThe Senate test vote (aka: motion to proceed or pre-vote vote) could be next Monday, November 27. They could bring it to the floor as early as Thursday, November 30th. We need to make some noise until we defeat this bill that even Forbes called “The End Of All Economic Sanity In Washington.” Calling your senators is a good thing (capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121). Do it. But that isn’t enough.


Non-Partisan analysis from CBPP.org shows the #TrumpTaxScam will overwhelming benefit the top and raise taxes on the middle class, while the cuts to pay for this scam will come almost totally from the most vulnerable among us. There is also that deficit thing that happens when you cut revenues by $trillions and the hundreds of billions more it will cost for interest alone.

This fight will come down to just a couple of Senators and the time to take action is now.

I want you to do something different and it is super easy. Please keep reading, I’m begging you. This is isn’t just important, this bill combined with the budget cuts the Republicans are using to fund it will literally have life or death impact for millions of the most vulnerable among us, while only enriching the super wealthy, but you know that.

Here’s how the tool works and this is what I’m doing until we kill this bill:

  1. Sign up here: TrumpTaxScam.org to make phone calls using the peer-to-peer dialing tool. You’ll get an email confirmation with a login, password, and URL to sign into our system. Once signed in, you can start making calls immediately—and you’ll give you a script to make it as easy as possible.
  2. Next, you’ll call a voter in one of three target states: Alaska, Arizona, and West Virginia. These folks are your friends—they attended the Women’s March, they’re standing up to pass a #CleanDREAM, and/or fight for progressive causes.
  3. You explain how they have power now. You’ll remind them why the continued fight against the Trump Tax Scam is so important—and why they have particular power in this moment.
  4. You ask them to use their power. You’ll ask them to call their senator in opposition to the bill, and to share their own reasons for opposing it.
  5. The tool connects them to their Senator’s office. The call tool will allow you to automatically patch them through to the Senators’ district offices.

It’s easy: 2,233 Indivisible volunteers across the country dialed 320,552 calls to kill TrumpCare tool to encourage constituents in Alaska, Arizona, Maine, and Colorado to call their Republican senators and tell them to vote no on Graham-Cassidy. And we won. We can win this time, too, with your help.

Call to kill Trump’s tax scam – sign up here: TrumpTaxScam.org (https://www.trumptaxscam.org/calls-to-kill-the-tax-scam) and when you do, please tell your friends they should do. Invite them over and do it together.  A great way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

One last note – here is a terrific story that you might need to talk to your family about the Trump Tax Scam.

The Chase for Amazon

The rendering of the Amazon building in the Denny Regrade neighborhood of Seattle is fro NBBJ.comIt has been hard to ignore the buzz created by the chase for Amazon’s second headquarters. Five billion dollars in construction costs and 50,000 “high-paying” jobs. 238 proposals have been submitted to Amazon from all across North America. Of course there were.

While all the proposals were made in secret, it is safe to assume that no incentive was left out. For instance, New Jersey announced it offered $7 billion in tax breaks to get Amazon to chose Newark. Details of Atlanta’s bid weren’t released, but it is also safe to assume that Nathan Deal opened Georgia’s checkbook offering billions of tax incentives. It is exciting to imagine the impact of winning.

Did you know there is another offer out there that would bring more than ten times the Amazon investment to Georgia? That right, this one offers almost $60 billion in direct investment over ten years and increasing each year after that. Were Georgia to win this deal, it is estimated that more than 35,000 new “high-paying” jobs would be created in the first year and increasing after that. Unlike the Amazon deal for Atlanta, this one includes all of Georgia.

Then there are all to little things that would come along with it that are unimaginable for a typical industrial development development:

  • hundreds of thousands of Georgia residents would be lifted out of poverty;
  • cost of living for all Georgians would be reduced;
  • life expectancy would be increase;
  • even the number of Georgians in mental health facilities would be reduced.

What does it cost to win this? Georgia would have to offer an incentive of $254 million a year. That’s a lot, but 18% of what a typical Georgia industrial development tax incentive is – chump-change compared to cost of getting Amazon. When you consider the amount of state taxes collected on the new jobs and that state spending would actually be reduced, the net spending by the state is way less than zero. Consider that for a moment. All these new jobs and great benefits with none of the downsides, such as lost tax revenues starving our schools.

Sounds so good, you’d think we would be all over it. Nope. Georgia said no. The only states in the South that went after the deal were Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia and Maryland.

Seems idiotic, doesn’t it. Seems our elected leaders would be thrown out of office for ignoring the offer and lying about it to us. You’d think our business community would be going nuts for it. Nope. Not going to happen. Forget about it.

There is good news, though: one Irish bookie has Atlanta an early 2-1 favorite to win Amazon. I wish them luck. We need it.

Oh, the deal? Surely you have guessed by now. Expanding Medicaid.

Sources (it isn’t fake news, it isn’t even news):

The Apocalypse

The Apocalypse by Ludwig Ferdinand Schnorr von Carolsfeld

Were I to tell you a story in which Jesus, the son of the virgin Mary, was sent by God to guide the children of Israel, perform miracles including curing blindness, raising the dead and casting out demons, was crucified and raised alive into heaven to be the God incarnate. Jesus, who is promised to come back as the Messiah on judgment day to lead God’s army against the armies of Rome led by the Antichrist to the final victory in Jerusalem. What holy book do you think that would be from?

That’s right, the Quran (aka: Qur’an or Koran). Surely by now everyone is opening up their alQuran app or is getting their copies of the Quran off their book shelf to do some fact checking.

While you are at it, check what the Bible says. That’s right. You never knew you had so much in common with your Muslim neighbors, did you?

Sure there are plenty of differences, too. Are you one of those people who looks for the differences or are you one of those people who looks for what we have in common? If you are stumped, which you should be, ask yourself, or your spouse, or your child, or your preacher, pastor, reverend, priest, chaplain, primate, teacher, elder, abbot, vicar, fire keeper, guru, godman, gymnosophist, patriarch, protopriest, dob-dob, lama, abbess, ash shaker, ayatollah, rabbi, tzadki, laminae, duster, life coach or ovate.

Now before you go all GOPresidential on me, let me state that I am not advocating anything here other than my belief that we should honor what we have in common and appreciate our differences. Since we are all brothers and sisters in evolution, everything else comes from growing up in different neighborhoods around the planet. I know you must be saying to yourself that it, “doesn’t explain Donald Trump.”

It is troubling these days to listen to conservative presidential candidates speak of closing mosques, denying Muslims entry into the United States and declaring war on a religious group.

It seems like just yesterday that the GOP came into power in the House and vigilant new members spoke so proudly of carrying the Constitution in their pockets. Some even demanded that whenever a bill was brought for a vote, the part of the Constitution which made the pending law “constitutional” would be read.

I’d like to suggest that these candidates get points off for forgetting the First Amendment, which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Turn on any television newstainment channel and within minutes you’ll likely hear and see that the world is going crazy and we’re all going to die. That’s newstainment. The reality depends on where you live and how you define crazy. Here in the US, we haven’t had a war on our soil in 150 years (except for the war on drugs), but 33,000+ people will die by guns this year – a total that is only exceeded one place in the world – the current war in Syria.

On the other hand, we haven’t been at peace since 1979 (Carter), before that 1935-1939 (Roosevelt), before that 1897 (McKinley), but I digress. Steven Pinker and Andrew Mack wrote a great story last year at Slate titled, “The World Is Not Falling Apart.” In it, they document the decline in recent years of battle deaths, wars, genocide, civilian killings, victimization of children, rape and domestic abuse and crime. Even percentagewise, more people are dying from old age than ever before and that is a good thing.

I also suggest points off to the governors and mayors who want to keep Syrian refugees out, returning medical workers quarantined, climate change denied and poor without health insurance (vague reference to expanding Medicaid as provided by the Affordable Care Act), but that is just me. Back to the pending apocalypse.

Screen Shot of Abu Bakr al-Baghdad

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

On June 29, 2014 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a descendant of Mohammed, declared the Islamist State as the eighth caliphate. This is important because Jesus doesn’t arrive until the 12th caliphate, but it really is in the counting. Search it and you’ll likely find a higher number, which of course, were false caliphates that didn’t enforce Sharia.

Baghdadi became the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq (aka: alQaeda in Iraq) in May 2010. He had been detained at Camp Bucca by US forces for eight months in 2004 before being released as a “low level prisoner ” (oops for the George W. Bush apologists).

So how is that ISIS is recruiting here? Imagine that you were a young, single and unemployed man living in the west (not the wild west – west as in western civilization) and Muslim. You were sick and tired of putting up with shit from people, especially infidels. You heard about the new caliphate and technically, you had to join up and pledge allegiance or you’d become apostate (that’s really bad).

You would be part of the cause of jihadism where you’d have lots of Facebook friends, get to grow a beard, have your travel paid for (one-way only), receive salvation and have a chance to drive one of those white Toyotas and use all that stuff that was swiped from the US military supplied Iraqis. Plus, you’d get free health care and free tent and board.

You would finally prove that you aren’t a loser to your mom and dad by fighting to extend the caliphate, purifying as you go by either chopping off the heads of non-Muslims (kuffar) or make them your slave or concubine (you’d finally get laid), following takfiri (basically, excommunication by death), you could help purify the world, ridding it of all those people you thought were assholes anyway.

Recapping, you’d get a woman, a gun, a pick-up truck and a purpose.

Then, there’s this higher purpose of fighting until there are just 5,000 of you left to fight the battle in Dabiq, Syria (it’s near Aleppo). It is basically a flat desert. Prefect for the Messiah vs. Antichrist (Dajjal) battle to occur that would be the beginning of the end of days.

map of areas where ISIS is operating or controls

The tiny area that ISIS actually controls (Michael Keller, Aljazeera America, CartoDB)

You can stop imagining now.

The Islamic State is a misnomer. They aren’t a government. They have no borders. They don’t offer passports. No planes. No factories. The land area under their control is small. President Obama’s characterization last year of them being JV is still accurate.

This is not something that will end with a peace treaty. Negotiating with the west is not allowed. Negotiating with other Muslims isn’t either – other Muslims either join or they are takfiri. ISIS is all in.

I’m not trying to scare anyone, but it would be really good to keep this movement out of Turkey and out of Europe.

Sunni/Shia Map Showing Shites Percentage of Muslim Populations (Credit: Pew Research

Sunni/Shia Map Showing Shites Percentage of Muslim Populations (Pew Research)

This really is an amazing moment. You see many of our allies in the region, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Turkey, are majority Sunni and are pro-ISIS (ISIS is a branch of Sunni). Whereas, a couple of our heretofore enemies are majority Shia (Syria and Iran). And don’t forget Pooter. Russia supports Syria.

What if our President flip-flopped and said Bashar al-Assad could stay for a while. Or, Assad agreed to leave. Either way, it becomes a moment where we and most of the western world could be allies with Russia and Iran against ISIS. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?

As someone answered during one of the debates, this isn’t our fight, but we broke the middle east in 2003 and we are in our 12th year of trying to fix it using our military. Looks as if we’ll have to wait for the next president to have peace.

Don’t do it, Joe

President Obama VP Biden Sec Clinton

Joe, we love ya, but please don’t run for president.

You are the man when it comes to defense and foreign affairs. You were there for the Bosniaks in 1994 when Clinton was timid, but you were wrong in 2006 when you voted for the Iraq war. Yet, we should have listened in 2006 when you wanted Iraq split into the three ethnic areas as it is today. Our troops might be home, the Islamic State probably wouldn’t exist and millions of refugees might be at home.

You were the man on justice for victims of domestic violence, against Bork and Thomas, assault weapons, hate and sex crimes, and privacy, but it was your bill that expanded the death penalty and helped fill our prisons with three strikes you get life.

You’ve been for us on climate change and energy. On worker’s rights, civil rights and women’s rights. Had you not come out on gay rights in 2012, who knows how long it would have taken for President Obama and Secretary Clinton to follow?

You were the man for the unemployed in 2010 and helped saved us from the fiscal cliff in 2012, but for 36 years you were the senator from the state that is the mosh pit for the abusive credit card banks and it was your despicable bill that made it so much harder for people to discharge credit cards under bankruptcy during our Great Recession.

Joe, you were always like us. You never forgot where you were from. You never got rich. You used mass transit every day to work. You publicly endured the most heart wrenching tragedies and still suffered on. You have been a part of some great things and most of us don’t remember the bad. Right now we laugh at your gaffes.

We love ya, man, but don’t run. You are on top, well, next to the top. You got an Amtrak station named after you, for gawd’s sake. You can do almost anything next, but win a presidential election and still be loved.


Author’s note: much of the fact checking of my memory referenced and used in this story was from Joe Biden’s Wikipedia page and following quite a few footnotes.

Image Credit: President Obama cutting up with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Jan. 30, 2012 by Pete Souza via The White House flickr photo stream – official government work/public domain.

Get rid of Comcast for $5

Comcast CaresWalk into any bar and begin telling a Comcast story. Within minutes it will escalate to violence. Each person topping the next with customer disservice and their loathing of one of our least favorite monopolies.

Everyone has a story. Most have more than one.

Mine began when I naively thought I could move my “service” with just a phone call. The Comcast phone representative said I had, but there is no evidence anywhere that what Comcast says on the phone has anything to do with fact. Taking their box to my new home was easy. Installation occurred when I surprised their installer by out-waiting him. The first bill was prepaid along with the installation fee. The second bill arrived showing that I had a two month credit on my old account and owed two months, plus late fees on my new account. I called and after several long waits and one unexplained hangup, I was reassured it was fixed and all would was fine. Just to make sure, I wrote a letter complete with a diagram showing how to take the money from the credit and apply it with the enclosed check to the new service account. All was quiet. A month later I owed three months and three late fees, but also had three months of credit. I repeated the process of calling, writing and paying. Days passed. On the one hundredth day we hosted a dinner party. It was a lovely evening in the fall. The windows were open to cool breezes. The cocktails were flowing. Many of our best friends were there. It was perfect. Until… it was interrupted by an unrelenting thumb on my doorbell and loud banging on my front door. The music stopped as I opened the door to seemingly perfect silence. The man-boy in the Comcast costume informed me and my guests that he was cutting off the cable. When I asked why, he replied with all the drama and volume he could muster, “because you are a deadbeat and haven’t paid your bill in three months.”

No, the story doesn’t end there. I called Directv and in less than two minutes arranged new service and installation the next day. I placed all the Comcast equipment in a box and drove to the Comcast office. Back then, they only had one in Atlanta. A tiny little place across from the Post Office on West Peachtree. The place was packed. The line snaked back and forth in the queue for the only person at the counter. Everyone was angry. I suppose we were all fortunate that Georgia’s idiotic open carry laws were not yet on the books or there would have been bloodshed. When it was finally my turn, I calmly asked to speak to the manager. Surprised, the agent said it wasn’t possible and she could help. I repeated my request a few times until she pointed to the corner and said that I’d have to just wait. Wait I did. A half an hour so had passed when the manager walked out to me and asked what he could do. I didn’t realize that my blood pressure has spiked such that my voice built from almost normal to a gutteral scream while throwing the box to him, “bend over and stick this cable box up your ass.” Yes, the place exploded in applause as I left. Yes, I know you have better stories, please share them in your comments.

Many of you know that I have been attempting to make a career change. The economy has been particularly unkind to those over 45. Or without a particular compunction for greed. Or not independently wealthy. Or if you’d ever work for a small business. Or had been self-employed. Or experienced. Or could actually do things. I’m damned on all charges. I have been looking for a “job in my vertical” – HR vernacular for almost any job that doesn’t involve being a trainee selling insurance. Since the odds of me even being interviewed, much less hired are less than the mythical college-educated single woman over 40 getting married,* I have also invested (wasted is likely more accurate) a good deal of time imagining new businesses, inventions and products the world is desperately lacking or that next new killer app. Each ideation with its own outlined business plan inevitably concluding a high risk of failure due to inadequate capital.

Last week I read about AirPaper (yes, I read it on Geek.com). A start up out of San Francisco that will cancel your Comcast service for five dollars. Brilliant. I should have thought of that.



* In the June 2, 1986 edition of Newsweek titled “Too Late for Prince Charming?” covering the study “The Marriage Crunch,” in which they concluded that a 40-year old single woman was more likely to be killed by a terrorist than marry – a 2.6% chance – 20 years later Newsweek apologized.

Subverting Democracy by Corrupting Truth

States Not Expanding Medicaid

Source: WhiteHouse.gov

“None of my friends can afford Obamacare, either,” Meghan said indignantly, “it should be repealed.”

We were in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Meghan is a mid-to-late-thirties single mother who is balancing raising her child, her relationship and job while still working on her degree.

She was telling us about the hospital where she works. Like so many rural hospitals across the South, her hospital has a significant number of uninsured patients coming through the emergency room for treatment. Federal law (EMTALA) requires all hospitals with an emergency department that receive Medicare to screen, treat, stabilize or transfer anyone requesting treatment regardless of ability to pay.

Meghan told us that her hospital had to cut back staff, which backed up her ER waiting room even more. She told us that the hospital could not afford to treat really sick uninsured patients and mostly their doctors patched up the uninsured sick the best they could, gave the patients some medicine and sent them on their way with a prescription knowing the prescriptions were unaffordable and the patients would be back. Meghan blamed Obamacare for all of it.

That is when I chimed in and told her that things at her hospital were going to get worse. The Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka: Obamacare) is complicated and when passed, assumed every state would expand Medicaid. With almost everyone having insurance, there would be fewer uninsured at the ER and hospital costs would go down. With lower costs, federal Medicare reimbursements are being reduced each year.

That’s when Meghan said that Obamacare was too expensive and should be repealed. And that is when I told her that she had been lied to. That for people earning up to 138% of the poverty level, Obamacare was should have been free and is in free in 28 states. But that her state government decided that the fate of 340,000 South Carolinians was to bankrupt, go to the ER or die.

I wasn’t sure which one of us was going to scream or cry first. Meghan seemed bewildered and said, “It isn’t Obama’s fault that I don’t have health insurance, but it is the states? The state did this? None of my friends know that. All we hear is that it has to be repealed. This is terrible. Why would they do that to us?”

Then I told her about the money. The more than $15.8 billion that her state would have gotten from Washington that was to pay for 100% of Medicaid expansion. Money they will never get. Money that would have created many tens of thousands of good permanent jobs, saved countless bankruptcies, saved lives and made lives better. Money that South Carolina taxpayers are sending to other states.

It gets even worse as the states have to make up the difference for indigent care and the decrease in Medicare reimbursements – money needed to keep hospitals like Meghan’s open. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute put that number at $167.8 billion for all the states not expanding Medicaid from 2013-2022 – for instance, Georgia will lose $1.2 billion in Medicare reimbursements in 2016– more than twice the cost of expanding Medicaid. Stupid and mean.

Despite this, there is good news even in the states which haven’t expanded Medicaid. The online marketplace makes it easier to enroll and determine eligibility. South Carolina, for example, had about 300,000 people who already qualified, but had never enrolled in Medicaid. Using HealthCare.gov, South Carolina has already added over 150,000 of them.

In fairness, there is a cost to the states to accept the expanded Medicaid money. States must provide basic benefits and offer it to all of their citizens below the poverty level, not just women with children. According to the Urban Institute and McClatchyDC.com, South Carolina’s 10-year cost to expand would have been about $1.2 billion – a lot of money, but not much to get $15.8 billion in return. For Georgia to get $33.7 billion, would cost $2.5 billion over 10-years (which could be funded by the governor’s discretionary budget) – one other note on Georgia – five rural hospitals closed since 2012 and more and six more are at risk (USA Today). Here’s a chart for other states.

Suggested reading: What Is the Result of States Not Expanding Medicaid?

Note: this story also published at LikeTheDew.com

I hate this time of year

Deal-visits-the-capitol500I live in Georgia. The General Assembly is in session. It is our annual celebration of stupidity, ignorance, pandering, baiting, and hate. It is open season on history, the Constitution, science, mutual respect, and common sense. It is a loathsome time. 40 days and $20 billion in public cash. One party, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for some.

This is an election year and our elected officials cannot legally accept campaign contributions while the legislature is in session. The pressure is on in a hurry to protect poor little Georgia from big meanie pants Washington. Blame Obama. Praise Jesus. All hail the NRA and Georgia Carry. Cut taxes, but give give give to bidness.

Now please don’t misunderstand: Many of our leaders are not stupid. They just lead the stupid. To be elected from most places in Georgia, a candidate has to have a Bible in one pocket, one hand on a gun*, the other in another pocket and both feet on the poor. The more outrageous cruelty they can spew, the more electable they become. But it is too early for the fall campaigns.

Let’s just talk about today. Here are examples from just this day’s headlines from our daily newspaper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (the link will take you to subscriptions – yes, I subscribe and encourage you to subscribe). I provided links to the stories, but it is virtually impossible to read the AJC and find the identical stories on their website or app because of updating. One caution on following the links, no matter how many times you sign in as a subscriber, it won’t be enough – just buy the paper.

This bill would make it legal for business owners (corporations are people too so some must be racist, homophobic, misogynistic, nativist, etc. or all of the above) to discriminate based on your religious beliefs. This bill must be intended to appeal to people who are filled with hate for people they have never met. The backers pretend the guv’ment is forcing private businesses to sin by treating everyone equal. Combine this one with stand your ground and it feels just like the old days in Georgia.

This is another one of those bills that is attempting to fix something that has never been a problem. The bill would prevent people who don’t have legal status — but our government says can be here (deferred action) — from getting a driver’s license. This would include those “who were illegally brought here as children, battered spouses, parents with seriously ill children and crime victims who are serving as witnesses.” Another of those, beat-‘em-while-they-are-down bills. Just mean. Nasty. I know that some pink people are afraid of anyone who is able to learn another language or who has traveled internationally. I suppose it just makes the lawmakers feel small and inferior to encounter such people. A shame, really. Why couldn’t the lawmakers just get a lobbyist to pay for a language class or a fact-finding junket?

A bill that was withdrawn because almost all the members of the majority party were embarrassed that they would be voting against something that was perceived as libertarian but also would seem to some voters to help child molesters. The bill was intended to fix a problem with existing law, passed by the same people who were being asked to vote this time, which treats registered sex offenders and those loitering around schools the same.

The idea is simple: make sure there are enough stupid and ignorant voters in Georgia’s future that the party in charge will stay in charge.
This bill would increase from 58 MILLION DOLLARS to 100 MILLION DOLLARS the amount given to people and businesses (corporations are people, too) as tax deductions for scholarships to private schools for rich white kids. Where does Georgia get that kind of money? By taking it from public education. This governor and this legislature have starved Georgia schools, cutting per-student funding by almost 30% in the past five years. Without a good education, you can’t earn a living wage and desperate people equal cheap labor, and that’s good for business, especially Georgia’s private prison and parole industry.

I hate this time of year. It brings out the worst in me. Fits of anger only mollified by the absurdity of it all. Nausea followed by swallowing bile. Laughing at the irony when I can find it, always followed by sadness. Most of all, an overwhelming sense of powerlessness.



* I’ve got no issue with hunters, sports shooters, varmint killers and those trained to safely own and handle firearms. I just don’t know what other people who need all these pistols and automatic weapons are so afraid of or why they so often shoot themselves or family members or leave their loaded guns around for their kids to find after they have passed out drunk in their chairs. And I don’t know why they are so paranoid. We don’t want their guns. We just don’t want their guns used to shoot our kids or other people’s kids or our grandmas or people playing music too loud or people who look different or bathe more often than they do. I don’t even care that they can’t read the Constitution and believe their state militia’s rights to keep and bear arms apply to their small little lives even when the current Supreme Court agrees with them and not me. What’s the big deal? Surely there are enough gun people who are sane and wish to be protected from the gun wackos. Figure this out. Make life safer the old fashion way (and the way the rest of the developed world does) by not carrying unlicensed, unregistered guns around and locking them up when they are not needed to play with to make you feel more important and secure about erectile dysfunction. Or are you just too yellow and chicken to stand up for yourselves? Kidding, please don’t shoot.


Image: Composite image created by Lee Leslie – Georgia State Capital by Connor Cary via Wikipedia.org; Governor Deal’s head from Georgia Southern’s flickr photo stream – both images used creative commons license.

October First

As we creep ever closer to the day that 48,600,000 uninsured Americans have been waiting so long for… October first. The day the national insurance exchanges will open. The day that Teapuglicans have fought so tirelessly to prevent. It is time we were reminded of just how ruthlessly stupid our state leaders are. Perhaps, that isn’t fair. Maybe they are not stupid, just uninformed. Or perhaps, they are betting we are.

Arkansas, DC, Kentucky, Maryland and West Virginia are expanding Medicaid to cover all of their citizens under 65 who make 133% of the poverty line or below. This graph shows the amount of Federal dollars going into each state, less the state's share to expand Medicaid, plus the premium subsidies for those up to 400% of the poverty line, the Federal part of cost sharing and the amount each state is expected to save on indigent care (all figures are estimates, of course).

Arkansas, DC, Kentucky, Maryland and West Virginia are expanding Medicaid to cover all of their citizens under 65 who make 133% of the poverty line or below. This graph shows the amount of Federal dollars going into each state, less the state’s share to expand Medicaid, plus the premium subsidies for those up to 400% of the poverty line, the Federal part of cost sharing and the amount each state is expected to save on indigent care (all figures are estimates, of course).

To those in Arkansas, DC, Kentucky, Maryland and West Virginia who are expanding Medicaid so health insurance is within reach of every one of your citizens, congratulations. Your state government works. You will benefit not only with healthier neighbors, but because of Obamacare, your states will receive an estimated total 45 billion dollars over the next five years in new and repurposed Federal dollars and state savings. That is going to create a lot of good jobs we desperately need.

The Center for American Progress suggests a multiplier of 3.8 jobs per $100,000 in Federal spending per year (not just salaries, but assumes that local salaries will be spent at local stores creating more jobs). Using that formula on on our Medicaid expansion states, that worked out to 342,836 new jobs. Even if you discount the multiplier, that is a lot of jobs.

Could have been Obamacare impact -not states

This is a “what if” of sorts showing the amount each Southern state not currently planning to expand Medicaid would get if they did, while including the premium subsides, cost sharing and indigent care savings that they will get no matter what.

For the rest of us in the South – those living in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia that are not expanding Medicaid, at least not so far, the cost in lost federal dollars will be over $200 billion (not to the wing nuts keeping score: yes, we subtracted the amount it would cost states to expand Medicaid to include more than just pregnant teenagers – click here for those tables).

$200 billion would have created 1,572,956 jobs that will never be. Jobs with good incomes that would have been spent on houses, cars, and stuff. that drives the economy – both the private and public sector. Income that would have been taxed that could have paid for schools, first responders and bridges. What fools we are to elect the people who made sure we wouldn’t have these jobs – Alabama: 76,228, Florida: 319,626, Georgia: 149,515, Louisiana: 87,818, Mississippi: 54,781, Missouri: 94,597, NC: 165,315, Oklahoma: 40,158, SC: 69,563, Tennessee: 112,518, Texas: 335,206, and Virginia: 67,632 – all jobs that will never be. Makes you want to puke, doesn’t it?

Projected Obamacare Impact

Estimated economic impact of Obamacare in the Southern states not planning to expand Medicaid.

Obamacare what will be jobs

Estimated jobs created by Obamacare in the Southern states not planning to expand Medicaid.

That’s the hateful part of what our leaders have done. Now for the rest of the story: no matter what Robert Bentley, Nathan Deal, Bobby Jindal, Phil Bryant, Pat McCrory, Mary Fallin, Nikki Haley, Bill Haslam, Rick Perry, Bob McDonnell (Rick Scott and Jay Nixon support expanding Medicaid, but their legislatures have, so far, failed to fund it – click here for a table showing the status of potential expansion by state) do, there are plenty of good things that will happen anyway. Topping any industrial job expansion since World War II, the Affordable Care Act (ACT), aka: Obamacare, even without expanding Medicaid, will create an estimated 810,836 jobs in these Southern states – good paying jobs. Jobs that make people happy.

If you are on Medicare, or if you or your spouse are employed and have employer-provided insurance, nothing will change for you on October first. The insurance exchanges are for small businesses, the self-employed and people who currently do not have insurance because they cannot afford it or are prevented from having health insurance because of a preexisting condition. If you are employed and work full-time or part-time, but your employer does not provide insurance, expect your employer to let you know your options.

If you are self-employed and paying way more than someone who works for a conglomerate does, you are going to love it (full disclosure: I’m self-employed, used the calculator at the Kaiser Family Foundation and Obamacare will save my family about $18,000 a year – without one cent of Federal premium subsidy – simply because I’m no longer discriminated against for not working for a conglomerate or my age).

If you have a preexisting condition, you are going to love it; if you work part time, or not at all, you are going to love it; and if you are within 400% of the poverty line as most are who live in the South, you are going to love it – even if you are young and healthy (contrary to the doom and gloomers, there are affordable policies with higher deductibles for healthy young people).

If you don’t have insurance, by law, you have to get it next year. Beginning October first, the place to shop for it is HealthCare.gov – the health insurance marketplace.

One note of caution: there may be some computer glitches and other problems (including those caused by a temporary government shutdown) – October first is just the official opening of the health insurance exchanges and there will still be about 91 shopping days until the new year. You’ll have news people covering it just like they do hurricanes when the cable TV stars find a damaged filling station sign and a puddle to stand in. The fact of the matter is that the Obama administration expected that each state would want all the money that was going to come their way for building the state marketplaces and the systems. More millions that would have been good jobs in your state were rejected – go figure.

For those of you who are under 65, unemployed or working for minimum wage and living in the states that are not expanding Medicaid, there is still the emergency room. Just tell the person at the desk that your state leaders are so stupid they want you to be there.

Some of my favs

One of my hobbies is managing LikeTheDew.com. We have a few authors who supply images. Mostly we (Keith, KC, Ron & I) find and license images on the web. Sometimes I have an idea and can’t find the image and have to make it. That is what this gallery is – stuff I have made from other stuff. I can’t draw, so I build. There are thousands more over the past seven years, but I like these best. Oh yeah, the Dew is volunteer so any money we spend is our own and we always need it fast, cheap and great.

Anyone Notice? Issuing a Metaphor.

Hard as it is to believe, we almost went to war because our president “issued” a metaphor. And how exactly do you “issue” a metaphor anyway? Our president knew it wasn’t an actual red line since he said it and didn’t draw it, but had it been real, couldn’t we have just gotten an eraser out, or just started with a clean slate? Oops, a clean slate is a metaphor – not something real. Fortunately for us and especially fortunate for those in Syria who would have been blown to paradise for being inside the metaphorical red line… damn, there I go again. I’ll start over, but not “restart” because they don’t mean the same thing since, “restart” is now a metaphor used every four years related to Israel v. Palestine “Peace” talks and is no longer just a word. Fortunately for us all, I didn’t choose “do over” since that is Hillary’s metaphor for publicly pretending that it is okay to start over without anyone noticing, which is cheating, which she’d never do. Bill did, but I digress.

Fortunately for all of us this time, President Obama chose to follow the Constitution, which, of course, is not something Congress was likely to do – they have actually only done it five times. Why wouldn’t they do it you ask? Because everyone in our government pretends crap all the time. See, the House of Representatives is run like a asylum with the patients in charge and they have the power and probably the votes to pass articles of impeachment at any given moment, but I digress. The Constitution specifically gave congress the power to declare war, not the president, but… yeah, there’s a “but” …the Constitution doesn’t’ exactly say what war is, when war would need to be declared and whether the president could toss a few hundred missiles, which cost $20,000,000 or more a piece at another country. The reason they don’t is that during war time the President gets a heap of new powers to wage it and could likely get away with doing unthinkable things – torture, killing of Americans without a trial, wiretaps without a warrant, etc. Wait, you say, didn’t Shrub do that? Well, yeah. How’d he get away with it, you ask? Our current president decided that we-the-people needed healing rather than acrimony. That, and should he, the president, do some bad shit, he’d want to get away with it, too – so he told the justice department not to pursue. Yeah, I know, hard to believe this AG has closed his eyes to all kinds of bad.

Getting back to the slime in the Congress… way back in 1973 when the Democrats ruled in Congress, but not trust the guy in the White House for some odd reason, and mostly, remembering that their guys made shit up about our police action in Vietnam for a decade, passed the “War Powers Resolution” which allow presidents to wage actions and war-like-shit for 60 days, without first getting permission from Congress with the caveat that we all ended up agreeing the “action” – a metaphor for war – was important, we were in danger of the stock market going down and such such. Everyone knows that this should be unconstitutional. But every congressperson seems to like that they don’t have to vote for war until after the polling comes in and after they have had time to meet with any lobbyist wanting to buy a vote. Should the lobbyists threaten to cut off the their election funding, Congress could always point at the president and say, “he did it.”

But that is not why President Obama asked Congress. Nor was it his fear that he’d be impeached. Facts be known, which they won’t be, I really don’t think he wants to bomb Syria although John Kerry really really really wants a war-like-action hoping that people will think he was as tough as Hillary (never). President Obama sent it to Congress thinking they’d have to vote for this turd and Boner and Company would have to raise the budget limit in the meantime.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the Teapublicans are planning to shut down the government in a couple of weeks now that vacation season is over and no one will care if the parks close. Plus, it they haven’t voted to defund Obamacare yet this month. I guess John Kerry will be remembered for the man who opened his mouth and shut down the country. Best of luck, everyone.

One last thought: there are those who believe this was all a plot to give Pooter a moment as “peacemaker” – a metaphor for someone popular with celebrities.