Would you be willing to take health care away from a thousand children with the bad luck to have been born into low-income families so that you could give millions of extra dollars to just one wealthy heir?
.. The other day Senator Orrin Hatch, asked about the program (which he helped create), once again insisted that it will be funded — but without saying when or how (and there don’t seem to be any signs of movement on the issue). And he further declared, “The reason CHIP’s having trouble is that we don’t have money anymore.” Then he voted for an immense tax cut.
.. The number of taxable estates is also, by the way, well under one one-thousandth of the number of children covered by CHIP.
.. but children’s health care is relatively cheap compared with care for older Americans. In fiscal 2016 the program cost only $15 billion, a tiny share of the federal budget.
As you see, then, my question wasn’t at all hypothetical. By their actions, Republicans are showing that they consider it more important to give extra millions to one already wealthy heir than to provide health care to a thousand children.
.. And when you hear about family farms broken up to pay estate tax, remember: Nobody has ever come up with a modern example.
.. Then there’s the argument of Senator Chuck Grassley that we need to eliminate estate taxes to reward those who don’t spend their money on “booze or women or movies.” Yes, indeed, letting the likes of Donald Trump Jr. inherit wealth tax-free is a reward for their fathers’ austere lifestyles.
.. there’s considerable evidence that aiding lower-income children actually saves money in the long run... Children who get adequate care are more likely to be healthier and more productive when they become adults, which means that they’ll earn more and pay more in taxes. They’re also less likely to become disabled and need government support. One recent study estimated that the government in fact earns a return of between 2 and 7 percent on the money it spends insuring children... broadly similar results have been found for the food stamp program: Ensuring adequate nutrition for the young means healthier, more productive adults, so that in the long run this aid costs taxpayers little or nothing... That is, however, exactly what’s happening. And it’s as bad, in its own way, as that same party’s embrace of a child molester because they expect him to vote for tax cuts.
.. “It’s something that excites” Mr. Trump, who often changes the topic to discuss it in meetings, said Mr. Winfree, who worked for the foundation before he went to the White House. “We will end up pivoting to welfare very quickly.”
.. “The Republican desire to take up ‘welfare reform’ is based on grossly inaccurate stereotypes about the workers, children, parents, and seniors who are helped by key programs such as SNAP and Medicaid and a complete misunderstanding of the realities of today’s labor market,”
Where Donald Trump is undisciplined and entertaining, Mike Pence is very disciplined and boring. But that discipline will not benefit the Americans at large.
Pence: Worse than Trump
It could be argued, superficially, that where Trump is undisciplined and highly entertaining, Pence is somewhat more disciplined and very low-profile, perhaps even boring. The actual news is far worse.
Vice President Pence is a complete nutcase, to put it bluntly. Where Trump adopts extreme positions to stay in the news, Pence’s views are actually built on conviction.
Pence is, admittedly, smoother than Trump. But his folksy Midwestern demeanor masks extreme views. As early as June 2006, when he was a U.S. Representative for Indiana, Pence introduced legislation for “self deportation” as part of immigration reform.
It was one of 90 bills and resolutions he introduced while in Congress, none of which ever passed in 12 years, most of which he served in the majority (thus giving him a powerful perch to craft legislation that passes).
As outwardly smooth a Republican all-star operator as Pence comes across, that is a devastating statistic. It underscores that he is a conservative radical, not a bridge-builder and consensus seeker.
The stereotype of a wolf in a sheep’s clothing captures Pence quite well.
.. Pence also presided over a large outbreak of HIV in his home state of Indiana that stemmed from the ongoing U.S. opioid crisis. Rather than moving speedily to resolve the crisis, he hemmed and hawed publicly over whether an emergency needle-exchange program would conflict with his decades of strident anti-drug policy.
.. Cheney but worse
If Pence were to become U.S. President, it could truly spell the end to many liberties. He is more dangerous than Cheney (as far as U.S. domestic politics are concerned).
On foreign policy, purely by contrast to Trump, he appears to be more predictable and therefore more acceptable to other nations. In reality, he is Cheney-esque, with a fondness for “enhanced interrogation” (= torture) and a fondness for military interventions.
.. Aside from his likely unpredictability abroad, where he would have the least restraint as president, domestically, a Pence Presidency would mean the true arrival of Speaker Paul Ryan’s public disinvestment agenda.
.. The Pence-Ryan agenda, outlined in the 2012 “Ryan Plan” and already hinted at by White House Budget Director (and former House member) Mick Mulvaney, calls for slashing U.S. social welfare programs to ribbons purportedly to balance the budget, even if they have little to no budgetary impact.
.. It is important to realize that Mike Pence and Paul Ryan are not targeting generous, European-style social welfare programs. They do not exist in the United States.
The Midwestern duo consider basic programs as excessive that serve as many people’s last line of defense between scraping by and sheer destitution.
Mike Pence and Paul Ryan would voucherize Medicare that keeps elderly Americans healthy. They would obliterate the food benefits that keep families from starving to death.
They would roll back the Medicaid program that gives poor and disabled Americans healthcare access and pays for elderly Americans’ nursing homes. Social Security privatization would likely follow.
Even the United States’ already severely underfunded budgets for infrastructure repair would be cut to the bone. Pence and Ryan would be a disaster for the long-term future health of the United States, its allies and its economic partners.
My family had battled medical debt and unemployment when I was a kid, and I started working at 14. When I got a partial college scholarship and left my rural Michigan hometown, I made tuition and rent by juggling up to five jobs at once. I prided myself on never asking for help.
.. It’s tempting to say I thought anyone who worked couldn’t be poor. That’s naïve. Real wages for the two-thirds of Americans without a four-year degree have dropped since 1979, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Meanwhile the cost of a degree has roughly doubled over the past three decades. Today, half of American jobs pay about $37,000 or less each year
.. I didn’t really think I was supposed to get food stamps because I was white.
.. Having an implicit belief that poverty didn’t really happen to white people did me more harm than good, and nearly prevented me from seeking help I needed. It also ignored reality. While it’s true that blacks and latinos disproportionately live in poverty, if you analyze who gets food stamps, they are most likely to be white.
.. National journalism outlets often have staff that are significantly whiter than the United States population as a whole. Ninety-two percent of journalists hold a college degree, compared with one-third of the population. And today, media jobs are more likely to be in cities, where poverty skews black and brown, than in rural areas, where it skews white.