Saturday, January 6, 2018
‘Medicare for all’ plan could hurt Dems in ’18
Will President Trump block Democrats from achieving big wins in this year’s midterm elections by successfully introducing a national Medicare for All scheme in an October surprise package?
Here’s how he could do it. President Trump will offer to “buy” Big Business’s group- health insurance beneficiaries using the corporations’ own money. Trump could offer a conditional, multi-year tax holiday on global American corporation profits held overseas to avoid taxes, currently at about $2 trillion and counting.
A temporary single-buyer scheme could be the door-buster to a national health plan commonly used economically and effectively elsewhere. Big Business gets the group-health insurance monkey off its back, and the Feds grab a mess of healthy people to rationalize Medicare. Win-win?
With Trump and Congress having recently lowered corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent, Trump has excellent pro-business bona fides, and a Nixon-in-China credibility on national health care that no standard-issue leftist Democrat can match.
Big Business needn’t fear that national health care will open the door to an onslaught of leftish ideas as it did when America’s first national health bill was introduced in the Soviet- influenced 1940s.
Outwitted on the left by the wily Trump, will the Democrats end up a footnote party like the Whigs, hanging on for a while by sheer inertia and its capacity to deliver patronage jobs to its “coalition of the fringes,” as its constituents were once described by a national writer?
How was it that America went from cash medicine in the 1930s to a national Medicare for All scheme in 2018 without anyone, except for a few technical experts and citizen-scholars, noticing what happened in between – that the bankrolling of insurance groups had the astonishing effect of undermining organized labor and families and a whole lot more?
Jack Labusch, Niles
Internet could morph into privileged medium
The FCC’s decision to cancel Net Neutrality internet provisions is both disappointing and troublesome. Net Neutrality simply stated guarantees all internet users equal real-time access and access waits for connection. Absent that universal protection, individuals or organizations will be able to offer speed of access for fees under the traditional capitalist model.
The beauty and attractiveness of the internet has been that it is fundamentally a socialist medium; all users are treated equally and waiting for connection equally. Waiting in line is discouraging and frustrating.
If the internet is converted to fee-based, it might morph into a privileged, stratified medium.
Jim Villani, Youngstown
It’s time now to vote out Republican plutocrats
Setting aside the economic debate over the recently passed Republican “tax reform” bill, one thing should be crystal clear to all Americans: Our government no longer functions the way it should. While the economic pros and cons of the tax bill might be debatable, the fact that it was passed against the wishes of the American people is not debatable.
Poll after poll showed that the majority of Americans opposed the bill. Approximately 75-80 percent of Americans did not want it to pass, yet Republicans ignored public opinion. This blatant disregard for the will of the people stinks of plutocracy, especially when you consider that the tax bill will be a cash windfall to many powerful Republican donors.
Speaking of plutocrats, repeated phone calls and emails to Sen. Rob Portman’s office about these matters have gone unanswered. On the rare occasion that Portman’s office does respond, it is with a mere form letter that repeats standard Republican talking points and fails to address the specific questions and concerns that I raised. Requests for him to attend a town hall meeting and answer his constituents’ questions in person were met with deafening silence. Clearly, Portman doesn’t care about us middle- and working-class Ohioans.
In 2014, a joint study of Princeton and Northwestern universities found that the U.S. government in most cases “does not represent the interests of the majority of the country’s citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful.” In other words, the United States no longer function as a democratic republic; it has become an oligarchy. That was 2014.
Since then, the nation has become even less democratic, as evidenced by the election of a president who lost the popular vote, the refusal of Congress to act on sensible gun-control legislation and the passage of an overwhelmingly unpopular tax bill.
Sadly, “government of the people, by the people, for the people” appears to have perished from the United States, at least for the time being. I hate partisan politics, but the current Republican Party, with its strong plutocratic bent, poses an existential threat to our democracy. I ask all patriotic citizens to join me in voting against this anti-American Republican regime in 2018.
Shawn Kosior, Canfield