Sean Spicer, the toady who would be king (or at least kiss the king’s feet), said yesterday that we cannot trust the Congressional Budget Office to be accurate.
Most people don’t even know or care that there is a Congressional Budget Office, but it’s the non-partisan group tasked with producing independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues, i.e., you want to pass a law?—here’s what it will cost. Currently the C.B.O. is led by Keith Hall, a Republican appointee (though the office itself must be non-partisan).
Why the attack from Spicer on another Republican? Because it’s more than likely that the C.B.O. will look at the recent TrumpCare proposal and say that (1) it costs too much, and (2) it deprives too many Americans of health insurance. However, if Spicer can impugn C.B.O. integrity beforehand, all the people who get their news from Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and the spaceship that hovers over their porch will know that the C.B.O. cannot be trusted, that the new health care law serves their best interest, and that it’s just the Democrats complaining because they lost the election. (One study places the number of people who will lose insurance at 15 million!)
And here’s something that will surprise absolutely no one: the voters hit the hardest — eligible for at least $5,000 LESS in tax credits under the Republican plan — supported Mr. Trump by a margin of 59 percent to 36 percent. He hasn’t drained the swamp—he has simply asked his supporters to fight the alligators for living space.
All this means nothing if Spicer/Trump can pit the Republican bootlickers and the ignorant Americans against the C.B.O., the group that Newt Gingrich recently referred to as left-wing and corrupt—with a Republican appointee leading it.
In the early days of the Affordable Care Act, the alt-right had a rousing good time with the rumors of “death panels.” It was their attempt to scare people out of health insurance and allow America to remain the only industrial nation without it. (see map.)
[Green indicates countries with universal health care. Yes, that little splotch below Florida is backward, stuck-in-the-fifties, poor and impoverished CUBA!]
This new TrumpCare includes no death panels, but does offer many more ways to become sick, to remain sick, and eventually to die. This is not a scare tactic—check the facts about the early opposition to the plan and you’ll see.
I had an informal family discussion yesterday about running the country like a business. It’s clear that many people who voted for Trump did so out of that expectation. Now these same people—as well as we innocent bystanders—are going to get a taste of what it’s like to work in a company headed by Donald Trump, a company whose bottom line supersedes everything else. Whereas we as employees might want a boss to take some personal interest in our lives, our families, our dreams, Trump cares only about profit and loss. Sickness? That’s merely an opportunity to hire somebody healthier. Death? The opportunity to hire somebody new. And our factory will plow ahead as long as the red ink is kept at bay.
I never believed that this is the America people wanted, but it’s ours now. And I suppose as long as we keep the profits ahead of the losses, the alligators will concede a little space.