Yesterday the big story was that 2.5 million workers could drop out of the labor market because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, a.k.a., Obamacare). This story is another example of craven politics and lazy reporting. The 2.5 million people cited are currently employed. Most would be replaced by their employers, so job loss would be minimal. Some of those leaving employers will start businesses of their own, which will create jobs. No reporters asked the simple questions. They like the big numbers and bad news. The political opponents of the ACA will use any number to claim the bill does not work. These are the same people – conservative Republicans – who oppose any measure that helps working people: unemployment benefits, increased minimum wage, government-sponsored jobs, high speed rail, and green jobs. Based on my experience with Blue Cross Blue Shield and how busy that company seems to be, the ACA is generating jobs. Beware of falling for scary stories that make no sense. Those who want to control working people want to keep us afraid and uninformed.
Daily Kos explodes the lies that the mainstream media missed.
[On Sundays, this blog looks beyond jobs and careers in “Sabbath.”]
The Art of the Impossible
The government will probably shut down next week. Compromises that were once taken for granted in Washington are now impossible. The corporate media tries to blame “both sides,” but the problem lies with the most conservative aspects of the Republican party. This group thinks compromise is getting 100% of what it wants – then it asks for more.
Let’s consider “Obamacare,” the Affordable Care Act. This plan should make Republicans happy. It’s based on a model from the Heritage Foundation, and it later became the model for Republican Governor Mitt Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts. When President Obama and the Democrats proposed a similar plan, Republicans began to cry “socialism” and “death panels.” Now, rather than try to make changes in the plan, they demand repeal or defunding. No compromise.
In my state of Illinois, the problem isn’t at all Republicans. It’s dysfunctional Democrats. The governor and both houses of the legislature are controlled by the Democrats, and they cannot reach an agreement on how to resolve a huge pension deficit. The governor tried to block the legislators’ pay as an incentive to push them to act. A court said this move was illegal. So, in Illinois, Democrats cannot not even compromise with other Democrats.
Both the Democrats in Illinois and the Tea Party faction in the U.S. House are playing the same game: politics. They want their core voters to feel they are being strong. In the process, they don’t care if the nation or the state suffers. They can only think about the next election. As long as the voters agree to play this game, nothing will change. At the deepest level, we don’t only need better politicians, we need better citizens.
P.S. According to today's Chicago Sun-Times (9-30-2013), the story in Illinois is not as simple as I made it out to be. While there has been infighting among Democrats, they have apparently reached a deal to adjust pensions by $140 billion. Republicans are demanding $10 billion more in cuts that the paper calls unnecessary and insignificant. This is the only mention I have seen of GOP involvement in this problem. Add to the list above -- better journalism.