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Krugman is unreasonably optimistic about Medicaid expansion and Obamacare

Decreasing the surplus population in Ireland through starvation and homelessness

He’s not the only one.  Digby is also cautiously optimistic about how things are going to go.  Both of them seem to think that the increase in premiums are only going to affect a small subset of people and everybody knew this from the start, had they been paying attention.  They seem to think the people most irked are going to be relatively well off younger people, like entrepreneurs who work for themselves.

But that’s not really true.  I’m not surprised that neither Digby or Krugman are seeing who are going to get slammed by Obamacare most severely because it has become almost a habit not to talk about them.  I’m referring to the millions of long term unemployed, many of whom are over 50, who are now forced to cobble together some kind of living as self-employed.  That affects just about everyone I know who was laid off since 2008.  To these people, the premiums are not just a nuisance.  They are extremely burdensome.  And if Lambert has been reading the tea leaves correctly, lumping these people into the Medicaid pot puts whatever estate they have left at risk.  So, to recap, Obamacare is putting an extra burden on these people who are now forced to a.) work for themselves, b.) pay all of the payroll tax by themselves and c.) pay for their own retirements.

Today, Krugman writes that the states that are opting out of the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare are going to create a backlash against Republicans.  Oh, if only I could believe it.  But I have always felt that the systemic exploitation that our current politicians have allowed to happen over the last 30 years has lead to a repeat of an Irish Potato Famine Scenario, not the beginning of a new Golden Age of rationality and righteous indignation.  The right wing noise machine is still strong and the people who get royally screwed by the Medicaid opt out will be portrayed as a bunch of fricking losers who can’t pull their weight in this new economy.  They will be spat upon by the people who are only a rung or two up the ladder who are simultaneously terrified it will happen to them and triumphantly crowing about their moral superiority.  Yeah, they will look like a bunch of stupid hicks to the rest of us but the message they will be getting is that the world is a random, chaotic, evil place and the only reason they’re surviving is because God favors them, or some such nonsense.  That will keep the whip kissers in line, keeping them from raising their hands against their masters, demanding better wages and benefits.  If they don’t remain obedient and passive, bad things will happen to them.

It’s not that much different than what happened to the starving Irish against their landlords who owned everything, took everything and rented the rest.  Back in the early 19th century, Irish workers had no rights and employers and landlords took full advantage of that.  Why would they not?  What laws were going to constrain them?  When the famine hit, the Irish couldn’t stand up for themselves and the rest of Great Britain acted like they brought it on themselves for being Irish and Catholic.  Some of the onlookers even argued that to help them would be wrong and go against God’s plan.  A lot of people died before the population dropped sufficiently and the potatoes developed some resistance.

Throwing the over 55’s into Medicaid and taking their property to pay for it is very reminiscent of the workhouse and relief rules the Irish had to contend with.  If you had a quarter acre of land, you were not too poor to support yourself.  In order to get any kind of relief at all, you had to give that up.  Then you were eligible for the workhouse where you might get some food in exchange for losing every other possession you had.  In the Medicaid opt-out states, you won’t even get relief.  You’ll just get access to the emergency room and bill collectors.  Back in the 1840s, most people looked upon this as wretched and bad but the ones who were not suffering put up with it.  Opting out of Medicaid is like the landlords pulling down the roofs of starving tenants.  It happened and people were both homeless and starving but no one stopped the billhooks.

So, I don’t expect that there will be much backlash against the loss of Medicaid funds in the bible belt states.  It’s still a plantation down there where labor is expected to be obedient and pious and if you end up poor and sick, it’s because you didn’t follow the rules or were insufficiently religious.  You’ll see.  The right wing media and some of the regular media, will continue to reinforce learned helplessness in the public and Americans will start to accept this hardship when the alternative, public options, Medicare for All, cost controls, etc, will start to seem like impossibilities.

In the meantime, the left’s willful ignorance and denial of just how bad Obamacare is going to be is doing them no credit.  It is BAD policy.  All of the potential problems that the left wants to minimize or deny could have been avoided had the policy been carefully crafted by a president who cared about average Americans and by a Congress who wasn’t rushed to make some really bad concessions.

As for Digby’s silly rationalization that so many lefties were duped by Obama back in 2008 but that she and a few of her friends were not but couldn’t find enough people who agreed with them, that’s incredibly offensive bullshit.  WE were here.  We still call ourselves “Democrats in Exile”.  We saw through Obama and knew what he was because we actually listened to what he was saying.  He was not a brilliant politician.  His campaign staff simply took advantage of demographic trends and realized that a lot of baby boomers would vote for an African American candidate over a woman because of the period of time when these voters came of age, in the Civil Rights Era.  That’s probably why the well off older baby boomers are still in love with Obama.  He completes them.  The campaign would stampede the rest with fear, vicious misogyny, outright lies about our intelligence and racism and blatant bullying of delegates.  Predictably, the activist Democrats acted like the herd animals the campaign psychologists thought they were.

But there was absolutely no truth to the lie that Digby and others are propagating that they couldn’t find like minded Democrats who felt the same way they did about what a fraud Obama was in 2008.  We were here and there were a lot of us.  We were simply defamed and called racists and Digby and her ilk went along with that characterization because they were cowards who were afraid of guilt by association.

If you don’t stand up against unfair propaganda and you allow the bad guys to weaken your side, you should not be surprised if you find that you too are eventually powerless.  I don’t expect that the left will every stop rationalizing about why they invited vampires into their house but I really wish they would start putting more of their energy into getting them out.  We don’t have time for silly self delusion.  Obamacare is almost upon us and about to take out the Democratic party and what remains of whatever defense we have left.

Addendum: It looks like Glenn Greenwald is public enemy number one for, you know, being doggedly persistent about civil liberties and stuff.  It goes without saying that we stand with Glenn against all the nastiness heading his way.

If only Glenn had stood with us five years ago when our hair was on fire when Obama bamboozled everyone, got Hillary to suspend her campaign and then voted for the telecomm immunity bill once he thought his nomination was secure.  But of course, we were only stupid, racist, women back then and people like Digby refused to acknowledge our legitimacy or, unbelievably, our existence.

So, even though Glenn was more than happy to jump on Obama’s bandwagon back when all the lights were flashing red, we are going to stick with him no matter what.  Because he happens to be right about the intrusion into our privacy and it is wrong to publicly harass and defame people who expose uncomfortable truths and wrongdoing.  Glenn is a human being and we do not approve of harassment investigations,  personal attacks or dehumanization of him or his family.  In this respect, we have been consistent with respect to Barack Obama and Sarah Palin.  It is acceptable and morally responsible to criticize unconstitutionality, poor policy and unethical behavior.  But we don’t get personal, racist or go after family members because that’s wrong.  You can check our archives.

By the way, guess who voted against the telecomm immunity bill back in 2008? Of course, the candidates were otherwise indistinguishable.  {{rolling eyes}}

19 Responses

  1. Whenever I point out to the Opologists that he is no FDR the retort is he has a hostile congress. When I mention that Lyndon Johnson faced similar problems pushing his Great Society program they go quiet.

  2. I’ll give Digby this – uniquely among the A-list bloggers, she admitted in the past and she tacitly admits in this very post that she essentially chickened out on being more critical at the time because of the backlash. That distinguishes her from those who’ve never seen any problems with Mr. O or who have pretended that it was all a big surprise. Her work on calling BS on Obama’s austerity fetish from the beginning, in January 2009, is worth some respect, and (like Greenwald and to a lesser extent Atrios) she values being a critic more than a blind supporter. Her problem is that she never goes the very last mile that’s logically required by her own criticism, ie, making explicit up-or-down judgments about the personal and political character of a guy who does the horrible things she rightly criticizes. That’s why I still value her analysis and criticism – she sees things clearly but fumbles on what to do about it.

    • “I know he’s a shit, but he’s less shitty than XXXXX. So vote for him, anyway.” Too many times I’ve seen Digby lay out chapter and verse and then recant.

  3. I have a feeling that autoenrolling people in Medicaid and thus making them lose their home at their death might very well NOT pass constitutional muster. But people need to know about the possibility so that they can fight it. And I’m sure it will be hidden.

    My biggest aha from reading the various Lambert clusterf**k articles was the realization that policies in Obamacare have a more limited provider network. I knew it had to be something, but didn’t realize it was that. They are just making those chocolate bars smaller.

    A clusterfvvvvvvvvvvck of epic proportions. Slapping my forehead.

  4. I always suspected the day would come when droves of Dems would claim they never ‘really’ supported Obama and his promises. Seems like we’re creeping towards that finale. Amazing! The Summer of Scandal is upon us, the truth of Obamacare will be revealed and the steady ‘leaks’ on national security policy have turned into a deluge.

    For fun and amusement we have the Republican reaction of indignation over the Government’s all seeing eye, the howls over healthcare reform [which the GOP doesn’t give a hoot about, let alone have any ideas of their own] and a variety of fainting nellies [even the guy who cobbled together the Patriot Act] who are shocked, stunned, enraged. Oh dear.

    Notice how the jobs, jobs, jobs mantra has faded into the background. The austerity theory has exploded into a million tiny pieces. Even the IMF has admitted in a whisper that they were probably wrong, inflicting pain and poverty in their wake.

    Sorry but anyone who says they couldn’t find Democrats who were less than thrilled about Barack Obama in the WH simply weren’t paying attention. Not at the ground level where most of us live. Of course, it wasn’t very pleasant being a dissenter during the early days. There’s just so much of a rewrite on history you can get away with. Particularly when the participants still have memory cells. I have no sympathy for those who now claim they were ‘duped.’ The handwriting was on the wall, writ large as they say.

    • Yeah, us a bunch of other blogs and over 18,000,000 voters are wondering where the **##) Digby WAS in 2007-2008?

      • Funny how she could only find a few people who supported her suspicions.
        What were we? 18,000,000 Martians? I still don’t think they understand the depth to which they were conditioned to reject the obvious choice for the fraud. If they were given that choice today, the conditioning is so deep and insidious that they might still get it wrong.

        • And the thing that shocks me, is the details in the memory of Hillary supporters….. They REMEMBER everything. Supposedly we were all low information bitter-knitters but, just sit around a dinner table with someone from another city who was a Hillary supporter back then and they KNOW what happened.

      • Hey, some years after Nixon resigned, a polling firm found that he lost the election everyone at the time thought he won: a lot of election supporters wouldn’t admit voting for him.

    • Shows you the Republican scandal machine is 100% kayfabe. Show ’em a real scandal and they don’t know what to do with it except go all bipartisan.

  5. The details of the various ObamaCare regulations are so convoluted that I’m going to see if I can get Navigator training. We’ve been discussing this idea over at Corrente. From what I’ve read, Navigators won’t be trained to help people make the actual decisions about which policies work. But, my hope is that taking the actual training could help us figure out what questions to ask or what the secret “gotchas” are.

  6. You’re one of the few bloggers who take the facts to their conclusion. Thank you.

  7. 1) I read recently that Ireland’s population still has not reached what it was before the Famine. Gulp.

    2) Does anyone want to remember that Gerry Ferraro was right about Obama and about partisanship being inherent in American politics? Ferraro took her chances with that interview and Clinton had to cut ties, but I think Gerry knew exactly what she was doing and knew that Hillary would have to duck. I’m thinking Ferraro kept close counsel to give Hillary bullet proof deniability.

  8. “Guess who?” I know! I know! [raises hand]


    All this went down when we were being pleaded with to set aside our infantile resentments and join the team. There was ONE blogger who saw what we meant after Obama’s FISA Reform vote and apologized; that was the great Jesus’s General.


    All the others, nothing. To this very day, nothing. Not that I’m bitter.

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