Friday, August 9, 2013

Last Call For The Odious Patrick McHenry

Ahh yes, the Congressman of the Zandarparents, good ol' The Odious Patrick McHenry.  Of course he was going to have a town hall meeting bashing Obamacare in blood-red NC-10.

Only, the best laid plans of mice and men...

In Washington, D.C., Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) issues countless press releases boasting about his votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, insisting that his constituents in North Carolina are clamoring for relief from the law. But during a town hall in Swannanoa on Wednesday, voters confronted the five-term Congressman with an entirely different sentiment: they demanded to know why Republicans would take away the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions without offering any credible other alternative for reforming the health care system. One grieving mother, who spoke to reporters before the event, said that her son was denied insurance because of a pre-existing health condition and eventually died of colon cancer. 

Oops.  You know Patrick, there are real people out there in towns like Mooresville, Lincolnton, Swannanoa and Hickory.  The area where I grew up got the crap kicked out of them in the 80's when textiles went under, in the 90's when NAFTA shipped industrial manufacturing jobs to Mexico, and in the Oughts when the dot-com bust took out the fiber optic cable plants, and it got crapped on again by the financial crisis here in the 2010's.  So yeah, you might want to remember that.

McHenry did offer a prescription for insuring individuals with pre-existing conditions, suggesting that sicker people who are cherry picked out of coverage on the individual market, should enroll in high-risk pools. The comment elicited boos from the crowd, as the plans, which are only open to sick people, are usually “unaffordable, unavailable or ineffective for many of those who most need health insurance.” The Affordable Care Act included a temporary program that failed to attract enough applicants and several states have experimented with similar initiatives. 

Sorry, Pat.  Here in the Unifour, people know what it's like to be out of work and to struggle with health care and insurance costs.  We happen to think the individual benefits of Obamacare are pretty damn necessary, even when we hate calling it Obamacare.

And if there's hope for health care reform even in fire-engine red NC-10, the rest of the country is asking what the Republicans plan to do after a repeal of Obamacare, too.

The Turtle Gets Shelled (By Friendly Fire)

The only thing better than Mitch McConnell getting panned by his opponents is Mitch McConnell getting panned by his own campaign director.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) campaign manager said he's begrudgingly working in his current capacity to help the presidential prospects of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), according to an explosive phone recording that surfaced Thursday.

In the recording, obtained by Economic Policy Journal, Jesse Benton — who ran Paul's successful 2010 campaign before joining McConnell's team — told conservative activist Dennis Fusaro that he has an ulterior motive in working the GOP leader's 2014 campaign.

"Between you an me, I'm sorta holding my nose for two years," Benton said in the recording, "'cause what we're doing here is gonna be a big benefit to Rand in '16."

Oh my.  Damage control teams to the bridge!

Benton pushed back forcefully, issuing a statement to denounce the recording and reiterate his commitment to McConnell's campaign.

"It is truly sick that someone would record a private phone conversation I had out of kindness and use it to try to hurt me," he said in the statement. "I believe in Senator McConnell and am 100 percent committed to his re-election. Being selected to lead his campaign is one of the great honors of my life and I look forward to victory in November of 2014."

Needless to say, Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin's crew wasted zero time in jumping all over this one.

And of course, Kentucky is the national laughing stock of political shenanigans once again.

But you know, it's worth it to be reminded there's 15 more months of high-larious EPIC FAIL ahead.

Giving Them The Business

Jazz Shaw over at Hot Air is usually a reasonable moderate (he regularly embraces the title of RINO) but every now and again he reminds us of what a "reasonable, moderate Republican" really thinks.  Jazz takes issue with the notion that paying a bit more for a Big Mac will help fast food workers earn a living wage.

Finally, the wages they pay follow the same laws as the prices they charge. They pay their workers the least they can, either by law or because paying less would not attract the number of employees they require for operations. Just like every other business in the country. One point which seems to confuse the social justice battalion is this idea they seem to be stuck on that there is some sort of obligation or social contract which states that industry is obligated or intended to create jobs, and good paying ones at that. The fact is, job creation was never one of the driving factors in the evolution of industry. It was only a happy side effect. Business sees employees as expensive, problematic components in the corporate machine. (Sorry to be so harsh.) They get sick, they complain, they want raises, they make mistakes… robots are far preferable. But robots can’t do everything. One of the goals of any modern business model, I’m sad to say, is to reduce the number of employees to the minimum possible. All of these things render the McPoverty calculator pretty much irrelevant.

And that's how a whole hell of a lot of business owners (and Republicans in general) think.  Employees are a detriment, a cost, a problem.  They are a negative to be pared from a company's bottom line.

That social contract Jazz talks about used to exist in America.  Unions made that possible on a large scale for millions of American workers.  Then, somewhere along the line, employees became a business's greatest minus instead of the source of its growth and vitality.  "Get away with as few workers and with as low pay as possible" became the rule in American business, and without unions to fight back, that became the new normal.

Henry Blodget strongly disagrees with that new normal.

This view, unfortunately, is not just selfish and demeaning. It's also economically stupid. Those "costs" you are minimizing (employees) are also current and prospective customers for your company and other companies. And the less money they have, the fewer products and services they are going to buy.

Obviously, the folks who own and run America's big corporations want to do as well as they can for themselves. But the key point is this:

It is not a law that they pay their employees as little as possible.

It is a choice.

It is a choice made by senior managers and owners who want to keep the highest possible percentage of a company's wealth for themselves.

It is, in other words, a selfish choice.

It is a choice that reveals that, regardless of what they say about how much they value their employees, regardless of what euphemism they use to describe their employees ("associate," "partner," "representative," "team-member"), they, in fact, don't give a damn about their employees.

I don't believe every business in the country operates like that, but nearly all of them do.  Maybe we should be asking ourselves about why that is.


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