Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wherein Nevada Is Positioned to Remain a "Blue State" in 2012, Part VII

This week, Republicans have been pinning their hopes of a "Great Red Tide" this year on health care being challenged in court and high gas prices driving voters batty. I guess the former explains Joe Heck's recent showboating on his bill to repeal health care reform, and I guess the latter explains Dean Heller's latest stunt on energy.

So how bad is it? I'll let Desert Beacon explain.

What was that definition of madness? Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result? There is nothing new in Heller’s proposal. It’s the same Drill Now, Drill Everywhere scheme the oil companies have been promoting for the last several years, always being careful to avoid telling us that the oil is sold on the GLOBAL MARKET, and no matter how much we pump into the market if the Saudi’s cut production, or the Iranians and Israelis get into a fight, or there’s increased demand in India, or whatever moves the speculators — the price of oil won’t necessarily get any cheaper in the United States of America. Oil is a global game.

And about the losses to the Highway Trust Fund created by the reduction in the gasoline and fuel taxes? Senator Heller assures us that these will be replenished from the proceeds of the closure of the tax loopholes. The CBO doesn’t seem to have scored the bill in this regard.

In short, Heller’s “Gas Price Relief Act” seems to be about everything BUT gas price relief. It’s more like the American Petroleum Institute Relief Act of 2012.

Long story short, Heller's mad that Democrats appear to be gaining traction with the "Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act", so he's trying to shoot that down with his own "Gas Price Relief Act". However, all Heller's bill does is push more "Drill, Baby, Drill!!!" nonsense that would do nothing to lower gas prices for consumers. Since we only have a small amount of the world's oil reserves, all the drilling we do offshore and on would do very little to affect gas prices. And despite all the G-O-TEA efforts to subsidize the fossil fuel industry, gas prices keep fluctuating. Seriously, Big Oil isn't hurting here.

And yet again, Dean Heller refuses to do anything to acknowledge the real problem here, which is our over-reliance on oil and other fossil fuels. As we discussed last week, Nevada gains good jobs, America gains energy independence, and the world gains a healthier climate when we invest in renewable energy. Clean energy investment is really a "win-win" for everyone, yet Heller refuses to support further investment. So Dean Heller whines about the problem of high gas prices, yet he refuses to work on any real solutions to wean us off fossil fuels while creating more jobs in this state. Who does he think he is, Mitt Romney?


And in case that wasn't ridiculous enough, Joe Heck continues to ignore reality and push his bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He claims the ACA is some abominable "attack on FREEDOM!!!", yet he fails to mention where the individual mandate that holds together the ACA originally came from.

Yes, that's right. Joe Heck has his BFF Willard "Mr. 1%" Romney to thank for that! MIT Professor Jon Gruber, who advised both Mitt Romney and President Obama on health care reform, has this to say on the commonality of "Romneycare" and "Obamacare".

"The problem is there is no way to say that [the programs are radically different]," Gruber said. "Because they're the same fucking bill. He just can't have his cake and eat it too. Basically, you know, it's the same bill. He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he's just lying. The only big difference is he didn't have to pay for his. Because the federal government paid for it. Where at the federal level, we have to pay for it, so we have to raise taxes."

To Gruber, the stakes for the court's decision couldn't be higher.

"Basically, this is the last hope for a free-market solution for covering the uninsured. If this fails, then you either give up on the uninsured or you go to single-payer. Those are the only two options left. And the Republicans, if they're willing to stand up and say, 'We give up on the uninsured,' then great, let them say that and let the voters come to the polls and decide, but they won't say that.

So there you have it. A mandate is absolutely necessary to any kind of health care reform that actually works and is actually universal. And the only realistic options are the kind of individual mandate that's present in both the Massachusetts health care plan and the Affordable Care Act, or a direct government mandate to provide care that's present in our Medicare and in single-payer health care programs like Canada's and Britain's.

So do Republicans actually want real life "socialized medicine"? Or do they prefer we do absolutely nothing on health care? Which is it, Joe Heck?


While we've already discussed why media pundits are wrong to make assumptions about how The Supreme Court will rule on ACA, conservative pundit David Frum actually points out why Republicans should NOT get too giddy about any ruling that strikes down ACA.

"Repeal" may excite a Republican primary electorate that doesn't need to worry about health insurance because it's overwhelmingly over 65 and happily enjoying its government-mandated and taxpayer-subsidized single-payer Medicare system. But the general-election electorate doesn't have the benefit of government medicine. It relies on the collapsing system of employer-directed care. It's frightened, and it wants answers. [...]

In that case, Republicans will need a Plan B. Unfortunately, they wasted the past three years that might have developed one. If the Supreme Court doesn't rescue them from themselves, they'll be heading into this election season arguing, in effect, Our plan is to take away the government-mandated insurance of millions of people under age 65, and replace it with nothing. And we're doing this so as to better protect the government-mandated insurance of people over 65—until we begin to phase out that insurance, too, for everybody now under 55.

So what's the G-O-TEA alternative to "ObamaCare" that would pass constitutional muster if the court strikes it down? Again, remember that the individual mandate was originally a CONSERVATIVE idea for health care reform. The only options left would be implementing single-payer health care or doing nothing. And since I don't envision the likes of Mitt Romney, Dean Heller, and Joe Heck embracing single-payer any time soon, they seem to prefer that we do nothing and let sick Americans die for lack of health care.

So really, Heck, Heller, and Romney should be careful what they wish for.

Perhaps they just need to do something to change the trajectory? Perhaps the latest CNN poll is what's scaring them to pull these stunts?

A new national poll from CNN shows President Obama with an eleven point lead on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 54 - 43. The lead seems to based in the fact that the candidates' favorability ratings are going in the opposite direction, Obama with a positive 56 - 42 split while Romney is down twelve at 37 - 49.

"President Obama currently wins majority support among groups that have been problematic for him in the past, including men, older voters, and suburbanites," says CNN Poling Director Keating Holland told their website. "He has a solid lead among independents as well."

And apparently, the new ABC-Washington Post poll is also set to show Romney's favorability numbers cratering. I guess Americans aren't all that into "Etch-A-Sketch". And I guess this is what has Nevada Republicans running scared and deciding to pull all sorts of crazy stunts.

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