Lying for Mom

Not that it makes you a bad person. I’d cheerfully lie for Emily, in fact I lie all the time just for sport (sometimes 17 times before breakfast, you have to get up pretty early in the morning to out-lie me). In fact I’ll pass along for free Archie Goodwin’s (Nero Wolf’s partner, you should read them, they’re very good) advice for lying- Keep it simple and easy to remember. Shut up. Stick to it as long as you can.

So I’m not questioning Chelsea’s morality or honor or anything like that, I’m simply pointing out that she and the Clinton campaign are saying things about Bernie Sander’s proposals for Universal Health CARE (not insurance) that are not true and they know this (because they’re smart people) and are deliberately doing it anyway because, unfortunately for them, they are not dominating the Democratic Primary the way they think they ought to be and that misrepresenting his positions will gain them some kind of advantage (which it won’t).

Here’s what Chelsea said

“Sen. Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare, dismantle the CHIP program, dismantle Medicare, and dismantle private insurance,” she said during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. “I worry if we give Republicans Democratic permission to do that, we’ll go back to an era – before we had the Affordable Care Act – that would strip millions and millions and millions of people off their health insurance.”

Oh, and she (Chelsea) wants to focus on the specifics. From Jon Green at Americablog

Focusing on the “specifics” of Sanders’s proposal for single-payer health care would require Clinton to disclose that after dismantling Obamacare, CHIP, Medicare and private insurance, all of those things would be replaced by what Sanders has consistently described as “Medicare for all.” Instead, she’s found a different way to make the same kind of disingenuous claim about the consequences of single payer.

On the cost side, Clinton’s camp zeroes in on everything that happens after the new system is implemented, ignoring the savings realized by eliminating the existing system. On the benefits side, Clinton’s camp ignores everything that happens after the new system is implemented, zeroing in on all of the benefits Americans currently receive. In neither case is the plan considered as a whole — perhaps because 81 percent of Democrats (and 58% of all US adults) support the idea.

Indeed, as Jon points out at the beginning of his piece, while it is true that Medicare for All will cost as much as $15 Trillion (over 10 years), “it’s a lot cheaper than private health care, which is currently on track to cost the American people close to $42 trillion over the next ten years. That’s why the analysis from which both Clinton and the Wall Street Journal get their eye-popping price tag is titled (.pdf) “How we can afford a national single-payer health plan.”

To continue-

(I)f Clinton wants to hit Sanders over single-payer, there are more honest and, frankly, more popular ways to do it. Given that Democrats are practically guaranteed to have a minority in the House and, at best, a majority in the Senate that can’t break a filibuster, there is absolutely no hope for Sanders’s single-payer plan to become a reality. So Clinton could say that she’s on board with Sanders’s ideals, but that’s all they are: ideals. She could say that she lives in the real world, and is interested in actually passing legislation that expands access to health care — however incremental that legislation may be. That may not sound exciting to the progressive base, but they’d probably shrug their shoulders and count it as an acceptable disagreement.

That isn’t what she’s done, though.

This back-and-forth over whether truly universal health care is good, or whether it’s Actually Bad, is part of the broader debate emerging between Sanders and Clinton over whether taxes can ever be good, or whether they’re always bad. By making a big deal out of single-payer’s price tag, Clinton is implying (correctly) that single-payer costs too much to fund solely through taxes on the wealthy. Ordinary Americans will have to give more money to the IRS in order to make it happen. Sanders is fine with this, and is betting that most voters will be too so long as that extra money they give to the IRS is less than the money they no longer have to give to their private insurer.

This argument is all but guaranteed to come up on Sunday at the next democratic debate. And both candidates think it’s an argument they can win. Clinton will just have to bring Republican talking points to a Democratic debate in order to do so.

Let’s all just say Hurray for the Third Way. As Nero would put it- “Pfui.”

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