Thursday, January 24, 2013

Last Call

Republicans are starting to get serious about stealing 2016's presidential race.

Pennsylvania, Michigan and Virginia Republicans are already working on bills that do this.  The Virginia bill would give the two Senate electoral votes to the winner of the most districts, not the winner of the state.  If all six of these states had adopted the Virginia GOP plan in 2012, it would have cost President Obama 78 electoral votes by my math...which would have made Mitt Romney President despite losing the popular election by 5 million votes, and losing the popular vote in every one of these states.

So yes, when I say the GOP is trying to steal the next Presidential election, I mean just that.

Shooting Fish In A Barrel

Republicans want Democrats to take the blame for the death of gun control legislation, that's assured.  The House will never vote on meaningful firearms legislation at all (just like they simply never took a vote on the American Jobs Act) but if nothing can pass the Senate, the Democrats get the blame. 

If this legislation dies in the Senate, it's Red State Dems like Joe Manchin in WV who will kill it.

Talk of stricter gun control has stirred up a lot of unease here, a place where hunters vie for top prize (a 26-inch LED television) in the Big Buck Photo Contest, and ads for a gun-simulator game ask, “Feel like shooting something today?”

But before Senator Joe Manchin III invited a group of 15 businessmen and community leaders to lunch last week to discuss the topic, he had only a vague idea of how anxious many of his supporters were. 

“How many of you all believe that there is a movement to take away the Second Amendment?” he asked. 

About half the hands in the room went up. 

Despite his best attempts to reassure them — “I see no movement, no talk, no bills, no nothing” — they remained skeptical. “We give up our rights one piece at a time,” a banker named Charlie Houck told the senator. 

If there is a path to new gun laws, it has to come through West Virginia and a dozen other states with Democratic senators like Mr. Manchin who are confronting galvanized constituencies that view any effort to tighten gun laws as an infringement. 

As Congress considers what, if any, laws to change, Mr. Manchin has become a barometer among his colleagues, testing just how far they might be able to go without angering voters. 

And the answer will be "nowhere."  We'll here how Joe Manchin tried of course, but in the end he has to go with what his constituents tell him.  And his constituents tell him that the Kenyan Usurper is coming for their guns, and that if Joe Manchin helps him, they'll come for Joe Manchin's head in the President's place.

Maybe Manchin will surprise me.  I wouldn't count on it however.

Bending That Cost Curve

Matthew Yglesias offers up this chart of Canadian health care spending versus the United States:


 This is the chart that I think ought to dominate the conversation about public-sector health care spending in the United States, and yet it is curiously ignored. The data show government health care spending per capita in the United States and Canada. The United States spends more. And that's not more per person who gets government health insurance, it's more per resident. And yet Canada covers all its citizens, and we don't. That should be considered shocking stuff, and yet I rarely hear it mentioned.
Matt goes on to make the point that Canada leverages the power of its health care system to get the lowest prices.  The United States basically refuses to, because Big Pharma and Big Insurance wants to make money.   Canada covers all of its citizens by spending about 25% less per person.  So why aren't we using the Canadian system?

Big Pharma, Big Insurance.


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