“Millions Of Americans Have Been Sucker-Punched. They Just Don’t Know It Yet.”

by Dartagnan –

sucker-punch

Now that we’re officially living in a world where facts don’t exist, I can’t tell you how liberated I feel. The weight of all those facts lifted from my shoulders has removed a terrible burden, so much that I want to actively get rid of all my facts. I want to purge them from my soul and cast them to the wind.

Nobel-Winning economist Paul Krugman must feel the same way.  His column in today’s New York Times is unburdening those facts left and right.

While the media this week fixated on the new President-elect’s tax-cutting bribe of Carrier Industries and its parent company to temporarily prevent 800 jobs from going to Mexico, something rather more ominous was lurking in those fact-hampered news stories that didn’t make the trending Facebook feed.

Yes, the white working class is about to be betrayed.

The evidence of that coming betrayal is obvious in the choice of an array of pro-corporate, anti-labor figures for key positions. In particular, the most important story of the week — seriously, people, stop focusing on Trump Twitter — was the selection of Tom Price, an ardent opponent of Obamacare and advocate of Medicare privatization, as secretary of health and human services. This choice probably means that the Affordable Care Act is doomed — and Mr. Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters will be among the biggest losers.

One fact that got lost in this Presidential campaign was that the number of people uninsured in this country has plummeted over the past two years, solely because of Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.” Approximately 13 million formerly uninsured were instead receiving health care coverage. Among those, about 8 million were whites without college degrees, who voted for the Orange Swindler by a ratio of two-to-one. Just doing the math (I know, math is very fact-based), Krugman points out:

[W]e’re probably looking at more than five million Trump supporters, many of whom have chronic health problems and recently got health insurance for the first time, who just voted to make their lives nastier, more brutish, and shorter.

The thinking of many of these folks was that by voting for Trump they’d “stick it” to their black and brown brothers who they believe disproportionately suck up all the tax dollars and spend their time sprawled on the couch in front of big-screen TV’s.  But those black and brown folks were already  hurting economically. The unemployment rate for African-Americans is still double that of whites, for example.  So any help they were getting from the Federal government in the form of Medicaid or health care was warmly received, to be sure, but it still amounted to precious little in terms of their ability to survive.

For his white, working class supporters, the real impact of electing Trump was to hasten their descent into the same hole that many African-Americans and Hispanics have lived in for decades.

There is not, and has never been, a Republican “plan” to replace Obamacare. No matter what kind of magical thinking you use, insurance companies are not going to cover people with pre-existing conditions or kids until age 26 without a whole lot of money and federal subsidies to make it affordable to folks not making six-figure salaries.  And out of all the people in the world, Trump picked the one person most likely to screw over the five million Trump supporters who have health insurance thanks to President Obama:

What the choice of Mr. Price suggests is that the Trump administration is, in fact, ready to see millions lose insurance. And many of those losers will be Trump supporters.

Price intends to implement a “plan” all right, but if you are uninsured—or become uninsured– you’re not part of the “plan:”

[I]t’s not written with the uninsured and the poor at the forefront. No, the driving concept behind Price’s Empowering Patients First Act is protecting the choices of patients who have money. If you have the money to shop around, you’ll be able to choose from a broad national market of insurance plans.

In fact  (there’s that word again), it would turn health insurance into something much like the airline industry:

Suddenly, “Empowering Patients” begins to look a lot more like “Empowering Insurance Companies.” Indeed, insurers can charge what they like for the one pre-existing condition we all may be so fortunate to develop: old age. As you get into the age brackets where you’re more likely to need health care, you’ll pay whatever insurers think the market can bear. Price wants our health care access to depend on how much competition we can foster between insurance companies to get new customers. In other highly regulated markets, like the airline industry, that concept isn’t working out too well.

(Price is also an advocate for privatizing Medicare. Which means that instead of receiving health care when you turn age 65 you’ll instead get a “coupon” to “shop around.” Good luck with that.)

Maybe his voters thought they’d just get their health care coverage from all the “manufacturing” and “coal” jobs Trump has promised to bring back. Unfortunately, as Krugman points out, the facts aren’t very helpful there either:

And just in case you’re wondering, no, Mr. Trump can’t bring back the manufacturing jobs that have been lost over the past few decades. Those jobs were lost mainly to technological change, not imports, and they aren’t coming back.

There will be nothing to offset the harm workers suffer when Republicans rip up the safety net.

Facts aren’t the same as going to a rally and waving your fist in the air. Facts exist whether you like them or not.

Which may explain why Trump and his team don’t want Americans to hear them.

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos