Note to Tea Party – being cold hearted serves no one

I debated if I should try to be politically correct, but I thought I would share my candid thoughts as an Independent voter regarding the latest of several efforts by our Tea Party friends to defang Obamacare, which is largely a Republican idea. I find of interest that Obamacare is an idea that was supported by the leader of Tea Party in 2009, Senator Jim DeMint, when it was called Romneycare and was working pretty successfully in Massachusetts. This was before Obama passed a version of the law and Romney decided to run for President again in 2012.

You see, DeMint supported Romney and Romneycare in the 2008 presidential election even going on stage to advocate for both and writing a letter to then President Bush that Romneycare was the solution for America’s healthcare problem. Yet, once 2012 rolled around after Obamacare had been passed, DeMint could not continue his earlier advocacy, so he distanced himself from both Romney and Romneycare and did an ultimate flip-flop. DeMint is leading the current charge against Obamacare from his position as President of the conservative Heritage Foundation. I personally find this hypocritical.

But enough on that subject. Our Tea Party friends have advocated taking the subsidies away to help people in need buy the healthcare under the exchanges and expanded Medicaid in 25 states that did so. These subsidies would go up to people making four times the poverty limit declining to zero at the higher income level. Since poverty is an equal opportunity offender affecting all political parties, races, ethnicities and genders, this latest attempt to kill their own idea will be harmful to many people in need. We lose sight of the fact that Obamacare was set up to help reduce the number of uninsured which was near 50 million Americans. The earlier implemented phases of Obamacare have been well received and have reduced that count with adult children under age 26 being allowed to continue on their parent’s plan if not in college. The exchanges will work well, once the kinks get worked out, and we need other states to expand Medicaid to help those in poverty.

Yet, this latest effort follows on a litany of other stances advocated by Tea Partiers that add to this feeling of cold heartedness.

– A way several GOP led states are trying to limit the success of Obamacare is not to expand Medicaid. This is harmful to about 500,000 people in North Carolina as an example, yet it is also harmful to the economy of the state. The Rand Corporation said expanding Medicaid should be a no-brainer as it is a win-win for the people in poverty and state economy. Rural healthcare is hemorrhaging due to a high percentage of uninsured claimants, and one hospital has already announced it will have to close its doors if Medicaid is not expanded. This rural impact will especially hit many GOP voters hard, so it is not just Democrats that are impacted by this move, which should not matter in the decision-making.

– With no evidence of any material Voter ID fraud, the Tea Party has helped pass Jim Crow like voter restrictions (of which the ID is only one part) in several states. These states are being sued for the unconstitutionally of the laws including the most onerous one in North Carolina passed a few months ago. As reported by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, voter fraud is not an issue with the bigger problem by far being not enough people voting. So the laws do not attempt to solve the real issue. By the way, Tuesday in primary voting in my home town in North Carolina, only 6.67% of voters participated in the election. It is easier to count voters when no one is voting. Our country is dwarfed by other democratic countries in voting percentages, so we need to address that problem, not this phantom voter fraud issue which for some reason lacks data to support it, so says conservative columnist David Brooks. These voter ID laws are designed to suppress votes.

– In my state of North Carolina, the unemployment benefits were so severely cut, that we lost Federal funding. Not only is this harmful to the 70,000 people impacted, there is a huge impact on the economy of the state with hundreds of millions of dollars not flowing into the marketplace of transactions. This hurts people of all stripes, but will have an echo effect on the economy which will impact others.

– Also in my state of North Carolina, a law was passed to require drug testing for people who are suspected of use and are getting welfare benefits. A version of this law was passed in Florida and was found to be unconstitutional and declared invalid. However, enough data was analyzed while it was up and running and an interesting data point emerged. People on welfare used drugs at one-fourth the rate of the non-welfare recipients in Florida. Saying this in reverse, people not on welfare used drugs at a rate four times the rate of those folks on welfare.

– We are also holding the farm subsidies bill hostage which impacts those on food stamps. Again, the food stamp issue is waved as yet another example of fraud, yet per Brooks, he has seen no blatant examples of fraud around food stamp usage. Since we have a hunger problem in our country, we should be finding more ways to get people nourished and helping them climb a ladder. Yet, we have some folks who want to kick people while they are down. I could add a lot about not doing more to stimulate the economy building on the success of the initial stimulus bill which did work per five econometric firms, but that would require its own post.

I mention North Carolina as an example several times, but what the GOP and Tea Party have done is used their political clout at the state levels to pass cooker cutter laws in many states that harm people. The laws are worded largely the same as they come from the same source. Yet, they also have passed laws that harm the environment giving greater freedom to industries, especially those in the fossil fuel industry. These laws will provide a windfall to industry, but the state will be left holding the bag for clean-up and healthcare impact. I would be remiss if I did not mention the largest backers of the Tea Party made their billions in the fossil fuel industry. I will let you draw your own conclusions.

This 41st effort to repeal or defund Obamacare reeks of gamesmanship that will end up hurting the pawns. The states who did not expand Medicaid are harming people as well as their economies. The Republican Ohio governor is arguing for expansion as it will bring $13 Billion to his state over the next seven years. These are his words, not mine. Yet, I want people to think about this next statement. The main reason the Tea Party is against Obamacare is while it is not perfect, Obamacare has already made headway with its earlier implemented features and will largely work to get more people insured. Blue Cross Blue Shield has been running exchanges in several states for years and they work pretty well. I have been in one for the past two months. And, the GOP has long favored the idea of more competition, which is what the exchanges will be doing.

So, note to my Tea Party friends. Close your eyes and go back in time to 2009. Let’s hear Senator Jim DeMint supporting the use of exchanges, favoring the mandate and advocating doing Romneycare for the whole country. Because, in large part, that is what Obamacare is. Please do not let there be a 42nd attempt.

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16 thoughts on “Note to Tea Party – being cold hearted serves no one

    • Barney, it is hard to fathom. They believe a storyline and will not be dissuaded from it. Yesterday, I saw Rep, Paul Broun from GA speaking against Obamacare. As you recall, he is the doctor who was talking about creationism and that climate change science was borne in the pits of hell several months ago. On your point, David Brooks called the GOP on the carpet about a month ago saying their stance on food stamps was harmful to their party. He went onto say there is no widespread evidence of food stamp fraud. This is from a reasonable Republican who is becoming hunted game in the party. Thanks for your comments, BTG

      • I shake my head and wonder, are they self-destructing for 2014, or is all the sabre rattling going to wash them back into office? I can’t decide.

      • Barney, with all the gerrymandering of districts, it is probably both. Where they face a diverse voting crowd, the emperor will be seen with no clothes. If they face only a GOP candidate in a primary, money can perfume the worst smelling of pigs enough to get elected. Sorry to mix metaphors. Thanks for your thoughts. BTG

  1. your posts always address an issue that you’re passionate about, but so many times i am more moved by your goodness, your integrity, and your frustrations that people just won’t/don’t wake up and see what’s happening to our country.

    where would our world be if no one cared, if no one looked up long enough from their phones to see what was/is right in front of them? you must feel weary at times and wonder if you’re reaching anyone.

    of course you are.. and you’re setting a positive example – especially for your son and daughter and their peers.

    • Lisa, your words are very inspirational, as usual. Thank you. Sometimes, I feel quixotic, so when people like you (who do so much as walking ambassadors) reach out and help me charge one of those windmills, it makes it all more meaningful. Man of La Mancha

      • yes, i think we are destined to cross paths with peers who recognize and encourage us to stay true and not be discouraged…

        i’ve passed the point of being discouraged – i do what i do when i do at the whim of the moment and don’t care if anyone understands — or not… because every so often it comes back and we know for sure that we are on the right path and it’s part of our destiny…

        you’ve touched others in other ways – one is to say, ‘hey, this is who i am and this is who i was but i am not that person anymore… don’t let your vices own you…’ you’re walking proof that people can change, but it has to come from within.

        we become stronger and more powerful from those difficult lessons!

        z

  2. This is a great post. I think what it really points to for me is that both parties are really the same, such that there’s no accountability to their adherents. Hence I, like you, am an Independent. (In the last election I wrote in my own name because neither candidate was worth the price of the paper on which their name was printed.)

    • How many votes did you get? Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I do think both sides are not without blame, but it does not seem to be a normal distribution. There are some interesting views out there to the right of center. They even caused Bill Nye to become political, with some of the stances against science. Take care, BTG

      • Hahahaha, I think I got one vote and that was disqualified because at 25 I’m ten years from being eligible. The right has its problems but we might agree to disagree about where a lot of the political craziness comes from–I despise collectivism and think that one reason the right is going bonkers is in backlash to the left. The left increasingly despises individualism. Go to a university–any university–and look at what they do to anyone who tries to think independently and you’ll see it right away. The religious right in particular, though, is beyond a tad bizarre, and I do worry about Cantor’s faction.

      • I forgot about the age requirement. Too bad. The left has its zanies as well, but I don’t follow your comment about despising individualism. I don’t see that in my travels. I see a poverty problem in our country that is even worse given this week’s news on how more disparate income levels have become for the “haves” and “have-nots”. If trying to give a voice to the pawns is construed as despising individualism, then I would argue the pawns have an even larger uphill battle. I am a big believer in giving equal opportunity, but the system is so tilted right now in favor of the “haves” we have an aristocracy in our country and everyone else. This is one of the key areas where the President has disappointed, not speaking openly about our poverty issues. What the Tea Party fails to realize is many of the GOP base are in poverty or just above the level. Good discussion. Thanks for pushing back.

      • I agree with you that there’s a poverty problem, I just disagree as to its source. What I explain here is better said in The Bubble Boys, but I’ll give it a go on the fly. To me it’s pretty obvious: the collectivist mentality says we must send all kids through school, high school required and college strongly recommended. They say that all kids are above average, which is just plain stupid because the concept of an average requires some to be above and some to be below. Over the course of the last forty, fifty years this has become the standard. What happens is that the schools now have a monopoly on the kids’ time and effort. And many monopolies are perfectly fine with waste, and schools are no different. So the kids are given all of this busy work and are told to simply repeat what some idiot school board member has decided to put on the curriculum; this is true both in secondary and post-secondary schools, as well as at lower levels. So now what happens? These kids come out of school, they’re now adults–but they lack the knowledge or the skills with which to adequately perform a job, and hence to make money. And they’ve also wasted opportunities to learn those skills and in many cases spent a lot of money to learn all of this nothingness. It’s not so much a matter of equal opportunity as it is of respecting those who need to take a different course in life. There are a lot of facets to this argument, and I can only cover so much here. But that’s to me the crux of the matter. Some people should be training to clean floors, unclog pipes, and shine shoes, and instead of training them for that and sending them off to do it early and then invest their savings, etc, we encourage them to spend beyond their means on an education, claiming it will open up opportunity, in the process devaluing the education and closing doors to them. Thus they wind up poor.

      • The dilemma is our society is pre-determining who should get the opportunities and who should not. We continue to decline in the world in socio-economic movement. Who you were born to matters greatly in your success and there was a recently completed study that documents this. Warren Buffett likes to say, “I was born lucky – a white male.” He said he took advantage of it, but his sister did not have the same opportunities as he did nor would an African American male. I do agree with you that we tend tell everyone that they are above average and create a false set of esteem issues, but we do need to give people more equal opportunity. If we do not, we don’t know how much intellectual capital we are missing. Last year’s Intel science 2nd place winner was a homeless girl from California, e.g. Thanks for your thoughts. They are appreciated and welcomed.

      • I definitely think there’s validity to what you are saying. And I do think everyone needs a chance, but we need to recognize proof where it is in front of us, and we don’t do a good job of it. I also think a lot of it depends on WHERE you are; in Los Angeles the only thing prohibiting success is being young, whereas in a Great Plains state race may be more of a factor. But whatever Buffett’s comments may be, I know based on my own life experience that being female now actually helps put many on the path to success, and that over the last thirty years it has not proved a hindrance. (My mom is a judge–did not come from any wealth at all–and I know many successful women with similar backgrounds.) I also think that we tend to overemphasize minority status as a factor, but while doing so we ignore Asians, who have found good success. The reason is their attitude and work ethic, which are not shared by all minority groups. Have you ever read any of Thomas Sowell’s work? Books like A Conflict of Visions, Knowledge and Decisions, A Personal Odyssey, and The Housing Boom and Bust are pretty intriguing. I don’t agree with everything he says, but as an African American and a conservative I find him to be pretty compelling.

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