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Member since: Wed Oct 28, 2015, 02:02 PM
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LA Times Excellent Article on Mercatus/Sanders dust-up

A Koch-funded think tank tries hard to pretend that it didn't find savings from Bernie Sanders' Medicare plan

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a libertarian think tank partially funded by the Koch brothers, appears to be mighty embarrassed about its finding in a recent paper that the Medicare for All proposal from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) might actually reduce Americans’ overall spending on healthcare.

We know this because Mercatus has sent out several emails pushing back against reports about the finding. And the paper’s author, Mercatus fellow Charles Blahous, took to the opinion page of the Wall Street Journal to complain that “some have seized on a scenario in my estimates showing a slight decline in projected total public and private health expenditures under Medicare for All.”


The problem with Blahous’ complaint, as it happens, is that he actually did find that the Sanders plan could reduce overall healthcare costs. That conclusion is right there on page 18 of his 24-page paper. Under the assumptions in the Sanders plan, he writes, “aggregate health expenditures remain virtually unchanged: national personal healthcare costs decrease by less than 2%, while total health expenditures decrease by only 4%, even after assuming substantial administrative cost savings.”


What’s overlooked in all these cavils about Sanders’ crowing about Blahous’ finding is that the champion cherry-picker in the discussion is Charles Blahous. The cherry he picks is the cost of Medicare for All to the federal government, and he fills a bushel basket with his harvest. “Paying for every American’s healthcare expenses would increase federal spending by $32.6 trillion over the first decade,” he writes. “Even if Congress were to double what it collects in individual and corporate income taxes, there still wouldn’t be enough money added to the federal coffers to finance the costs of this plan.”

Notice what he did there? He pretended that the only economic effect of the plan would be to drive up government spending, without netting out the savings reaped by businesses and individuals by eliminating premiums, deductibles and co-pays. Nor does he factor in the value to individuals and society of the expanded services advocated by Sanders. Sure, giving everyone dental and vision coverage will cost money. But in return, everyone gets dental and vision care. Isn’t that a positive?
In other words, Blahous counted all the increases in costs and attributed them all to the government, without placing his government spending figures in the context of the reduced spending by individuals and businesses or the gains in health services. That’s some world-class cherry-picking right there.


So, sure, let’s acknowledge that Sanders built his Medicare for All plan on a foundation of assumptions about costs and savings. But Blahous built his attack on a foundation of assumptions about costs and savings, just a different foundation. To declare his assumptions credible and Sanders’ not is to give up the fight for universal healthcare before the bugle is even blown. That’s what Blahous was hoping for, and no one should let him get away with it.

It’s long. Highly recommend reading the whole article. Full of interesting points. http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-blahous-sanders-20180822-story.html

YAY! The Nuns On The Bus are back!!!! And off to Mar-A-Lago!

For the sixth time since 2012, a Catholic social justice group is sending a group of religious sisters across the country on a bus tour ― this time to protest against the GOP tax law ahead of the midterm elections. The 27-day, 54-event tour is set to hit 21 states, including a slew of competitive congressional districts. The tour will end with a “Fiesta for the Common Good” outside of the Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

The goal of the October tour is to highlight GOP House members’ support for the $1.2 trillion tax cut law, which is unpopular in public opinion polling. Critics have assailed the law for increasing the budget deficit and income inequality. The law remains popular in some Republican-leaning states and with the GOP’s donor class but hasn’t proven to be the midterm winner many GOP operatives hoped.


Congratulations on some great wins -- Ilhan Omar, Ironstache, Christine Hallquist, Ellison

and more!

Plus more Dems showed up at the primaries than Rs. Which is always good news. Saw these figures reported but not able to copy tweet right now.

571,942 (D)
314,631 (R)

522,347 (D)
438,731 (R)

206,492 (D)
142,536 (R)

57,102 (D)
35,840 (R)

Classy Tweet from Abdul El-Sayed. Democratic unity - should be a goal of all.

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