13 December 2013

Time for Constitutional Convention

There's a pretty good article in the current New Yorker about just how dysfunctional the Constitutional system has become, and how political theorists on both the left and right (in totally incompatible and opposing ways) want to reform it.

I used to think a Constitutional Convention would be too dangerous, etc. etc., but I now think our Constitution has devolved so badly that it is a serious impediment to the basic functioning of our society, and that it pretty much obliterates any pretense of democracy at the national level. I will cite but one of many, many examples.

Statistics were just published today that show that my state, California, has 38.3 million people, very nearly one-eighth of the nation. In 1789, the largest state, Virginia, was, if memory serves, about 15 times the size of Delaware. Today, California has 1/8 of the nation's people but only 1/50 of the senators. And it is more than 250 times larger in population than Wyoming, which also has 2 senators (and 3 electors in the Electoral College), even though it doesn't have enough population to fully justify even one member of the House on population alone.

The Connecticut Compromise (opposed by Hamilton), which gave us our undemocratic Senate, may have had its justifications at one time. But no more. We cannot pretend that our government is even approximately democratic in the face of this gross distortion.

And, again, it's undeniable: this is only one of many, many serious Constitutional issues that are hobbling our country's public policy.

The time has come to agitate for a complete overhaul.

12 December 2013

Failure to include extension of long term unemployment beneifts in budget deal: Cruel, Indifferent, and Stupid

It seems to me if you concur with the vast majority of reality-based economists (a necessary qualification since the dismal science is not a science at all and many of its practitioners are about as irrational as the average witch doctor), that public spending that puts money in the hands of poor and marginally middle class people has a great multiplier effect, whereas cutting such public spending has a multiplying depressive effect on the economy, then it is impossible to conclude otherwise than that the recent budget deal represents the triumph of public policy characterized by that unholy trinity of the Right Wing: Cruelty, Indifference and Stupidity.

09 December 2013

How Republicans are Evil (Health Care Edition)

There's a good article in Slate today about the 5 million or so under-poverty line Americans in non-Medicaid expansion states, who are basically left out in the cold under the actual rollout of the Affordable Care Act.
Just to be clear, this was not the way the law was written. In the original law as passed, these people would have been automatically eligible for an expanded Medicaid. But thanks to the actual and palpable cruelty and indifference of (100% Republican dominated) state governments in 25 states, this option is not available (even though it would have been paid for entirely by Federal funds for the first three years, then at a 90% level, and even at that level would have saved the states money that would have to be spent on Federally mandated emergency medical care anyway).*

And thanks to the obstruction of (100% of the Republican majority in) the House of Representatives, it has been impossible to modify the law in any way to take care of these people. Of course, the reason this problem exists in the first place (as many have already forgotten), is because of the short sighted, cruel indifference of the ideologically motivated (Republican) majority on the Supreme Court, which overturned this part of the law in open defiance of any reasonable legal logic. (OK, it's a bit more complicated than that: four of them actually voted to destroy the health law altogether, which was even more cruel, indifferent, and irrational; but the Chief Justice wouldn't vote to save the law without this cruel, indifferent, and irrational provision).

So 5 million of the poorest Americans who would have been eligible for health insurance for the first time in their lives won't, thanks to Republicans.

This is why I maintain that Republicans (not individually, necessarily, but institutionally), are evil.  I just find it amazing that so many of them who hold these views claim to be Christians.

*Not all Republican dominated states, either. Notably, Kentucky and Ohio have embraced Medicaid expansion and are making "Obamacare" work.