October 13th, 2017

Trump untweaks Obamacare

Please read the whole thing:

In just three short years, Obamacare has severely damaged health insurance markets across the country, leaving some markets on the brink of total collapse. Going into 2018, consumers will have access to just one health carrier in nearly half of the counties across America. In many cases, this sole health carrier does not include local doctors in its network, forcing people to switch doctors and drive long distances for care. Average premiums on the individual health insurance market have doubled since 2013, escalating premiums beyond what most people can afford…

Also see this as a counter to the inevitable denunciations:

Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has been pushing for a plan that would allow people to come together to form groups and purchase insurance plans across state lines. The free market approach, according to Paul, would encourage insurance companies to compete for these groups, giving people more choice, and reducing costs.

On Thursday, Paul got his wish after President Donald Trump singed an executive order allowing this kind of plan to happen. According to Paul, he and the president had been working on the plan for months, and the order is now the first step to a real repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

But detractors have already begun lambasting the bill for disadvantaging low-income households and individuals. Paul dismissed the idea on Fox and Friends on Friday morning.

According to Paul, the ability for many low-income workers to come together to form a group represented by one person would give the power to the consumer, allowing many who can’t afford good insurance plans on their own to become a pile of accumulated money that can.

Paul said that this kind of group plan “requires no discrimination,” and “protects against pre-existing conditions,” since the coverage would be the same kind you get at big corporations. Corporations do not refuse you employment because you have a pre-existing condition, or fire you because you get sick.

Paul explained that his plan that was enacted on Thursday allows individuals to have the same purchasing power as corporations, essentially putting purchasing power into the hands of the people…

Paul has not until now been exactly a buddy and fan of Trump.

It will take some time to digest the new directives and what they actually might mean for Americans affected by Obamacare—which is all of us, although some are more directly affected than others.

33 Responses to “Trump untweaks Obamacare”

  1. expat Says:

    I don’t understand why people aren’t trying to sell the associations idea as something necessary in an age when most people change jobs more frequently and feel stuck because they don’t want to lose employer-provided health care. Or even worse, when they lose their job at 45 or 50 and have developed a pre-existing condition.

  2. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I’m not a fan of Paul but on this issue I trust him more than almost all in Congress. What he’s proposing sounds good to this layman.

  3. DNW Says:

    Some day, somewhere, some way, someone will be able to explain to me the moral justification of politically saddling healthy and prudent people with the autogenic disorders of the godd-mned behaviorally incontinent, so that the behaviorally incontinent may continue on with their ways.

    No, this is not about public health threats to which all are in theory equally susceptible. Nor is it about the shared costs of nipping contagion in the bud before it spreads through the polity.

    It is about subverting actuarial insurance in favor of offloading the medical care costs of the fat, and the self-induced diabetics, and the drug ruined and addled, and the morally-mentally unbalanced with their shrill and addictive personalities, onto the innocent; and thus stunting their lives, so that people whose life-ways have left them looking like Harvey Weinstein or David Crosby, but who are less affluent, may have someone else pay for their wicked wicked ways.

    The crime which you, dear social element, have committed in order to suffer this punishment, is to have been born on the same landmass with these specimens.

    No wonder we cannot talk civilly to each other about these issues. It is not a civil matter. It should be a matter of war.

    For it amounts to a matter of a victim trying to discuss with a whining predator just how much of the victim’s blood the wailing predator is entitled to suck, once the wailing predator has ruined its own health.

    Because after all, David Crosby is a human too … or some crap like that.

  4. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “Some day, somewhere, some way, someone will be able to explain to me the moral justification of politically saddling healthy and prudent people with the autogenic disorders of the godd-mned behaviorally incontinent, so that the behaviorally incontinent may continue on with their ways.” DNW

    In this case, the moral justification rests upon denial of personal responsibility, which in turn rests upon the juvenile rejection of consequential reality. No society is sustainable that rejects the operative principles of the external reality within which it exists.

  5. Dave Says:

    The moral justifcation is that the democrats are only making the evil corporations and wall street pay for it with money they stole from the everyday people. No everyday liberal can explain to me if the wallstreet are evil greedy people and democrats are going to steal their blood money to benefit the people, why are they best friends?

  6. brdavis9 Says:

    Bravo.

  7. AesopFan Says:

    expat Says:
    October 13th, 2017 at 6:07 pm
    I don’t understand why people aren’t trying to sell the associations idea as something necessary in an age when most people change jobs more frequently and feel stuck because they don’t want to lose employer-provided health care. Or even worse, when they lose their job at 45 or 50 and have developed a pre-existing condition.
    * * *
    Insurance tied to employment is a historical anomaly, in a move to get around wage and price controls under FDR, and should have been de-coupled after the War.
    Health insurance ought to be as personal as car or lif insurance (the latter is subsidized by many employers without the government getting too much slice from the pie).
    My preference would be providing a “whole health” plan, bought when you are young and well, with level premiums after you get old and sick.
    If purchased for newborns (or even fetuses), there is NEVER a pre-existing condition (until the insurance companies start layering premiums for DNA groups).

  8. Ymar Sakar Says:

    This plan sounds like what Congress has, which is why Demoncrats will nix it, as peons having the same system as they do, is bad.

  9. FOAF Says:

    Not quite off topic: Trump has had a very good week. He has taken significant action against two of the most noxious outcomes of the Obama administration, the ACA and the Iran deal. People are going to have to stop chattering about his tweets and deal with substance.

  10. Bill Says:

    I don’t know enough about the changes, yet, to know if they will be bad or good.

    I do know that the “if congress won’t act, I will” shtick is just as abominable to the spirit of our system of three co equal branches and checks and balances as it was when we were all howling about Obama ruling by EO

    Trump is bragging this morning about the way he himself made the health insurance stocks tumble yesterday.

    Maybe congress is completely ineffective. Well, they are the congress we voted for, aren’t they? . It’s still their job to do the legislating, regardless of if they are good at it and regardless of all the great ideas any given President might have.. If they won’t do it we can vote them out. But as a nation it seems we’ve learned to just vote in Presidents who dig the “stroke of the pen, law of the land. Pretty cool huh?” method. It doesn’t end well.

  11. Ymar Sakar Says:

    FOAF Says:
    October 14th, 2017 at 7:05 am

    Substance is good. I only respect and recognize action, not talk or speeches.

    Still not enough for me to accept Trum and the Alt Right as the trump card of humanity, however, nor as the “trump” of the 2nd Coming.

    http://neoneocon.com/2017/10/09/on-scotus-and-gerrymandering/#comment-2266397

    This is an older discussion about slavery history pre CW 1, between Aesop, DN, etc.

    It is quite far back, so since I replied to it recently, I’ll bring it as an FYI for those involved.

    Bill Says:
    October 14th, 2017 at 8:04 am

    I think you are using Trum as a sort of displacement figure, in order to prevent having to recognize the rot in the US and how all your fellow countrymen are either weaklings, traitors, or enemies of humanity.

    As the Left did with Bush II after 2001, he served as their convenient escape goat. Of course, we know why Trum is considered an orange cheeto, but that doesn’t mean the situation in the US is good.

    The fundamental entropic evil of the Left, did not originate from Trum or even DC/Hollywood. It’s not something Trum can deal with, thus it’s not something you can ignore forever even after Trum dies.

  12. MCS Says:

    Employer group health insurance is pretty much always self insured by the employer. The insurance company on the card files the paper work and doles out the money for a hefty fee. These are also backed by re-insurance, think of it as a 7-8 figure deductible.

    My previous employer (500’ish) had 3 major claims in a single year on top of the usual. Next year, major cost increase and benefit decrease.

    If pooling large groups of people together at random would result in lower cost, the Marketplace pools should have been ideal. That worked really well.

  13. Irv Says:

    One president uses his pen in a clearly unconstitutional manner (so said a federal court) to do things no congress would vote for.

    Another president uses his pen to stop the unconstitutional power grab of the previous president.

    People complain that they both are equally guilty of ruling by the pen. Welcome to Wonderland!

  14. Bill Says:

    Having no experience as an executive in a tripartite system (as a Governor would) or as someone dealing with the executive (as a legislator would) Trump has proven that he’s not much good at getting the congress to do anything. Being President is something completely out of any applicable experience for him. So he does what he has always done best – sell himself and propagandize.

    He’s very, very good at getting his followers to amp up hatred of said congress, and to absolve him of any incompetence or wrongdoing. This will possibly end up with a turnover in congress in 2018, although it might end up with more Democrats winning seats. You take your risks, you get the results.

    He also is doing what he ravaged Obama for doing – signing EOs. EOs are supposed to be what a president does to run his part of the government as he faithfully executes the laws of the land. Not dismantling the laws. He doesn’t have that power (and I was against Obamacare. But I’m not for an executive who rules by fiat and who can make sweeping changes which have unforeseeable effects on American citizens. Who knows, maybe we’ll get lucky in this case).

    The good news, as he assured the Values Voters summit this week, is we’ll be able to say Merry Christmas this year.

    *sigh* He’s wrapping himself in the flag and playing to the evangelical crowd which supports him enthusiastically. That’s my tribe, which makes it even more depressing.

    What I want is a President who works with the congress, who does the hard work of working with the congress, to pass good legislation. That’s what he promised he would do. We can blame the congress all we want, but Trump has laid an egg in this department, by all objective standards.

  15. FOAF Says:

    What Irv said. It is ridiculous to compare an EO that mandates an illegal action to an EO that undoes the first one.

  16. Bill Says:

    Good point FOAF. I commented on Neo’s newest post about this.

    Some of my frustration comes with the fact that Trump failed to get any meaningful repeal/replace legislation through congress (I realize that many think this is 100% congress’ fault. I disagree but I guess that’s why we debate).

    I need to compartmentalize a bit better . . .

    Hope Trump’s EO results in something good. My fear is that a lot of people are going to feel the pain even worse than they already do as they wait for the Government to get it’s act together.

  17. Roy Says:

    “Well, they are the congress we voted for, aren’t they? ”

    No, No, NO!

    Each of us only gets to vote for – count em – THREE members of congress. You have two senators from your state and ONE representative from your district. That’s it.

    If your three members do what you want them to do, then there is nothing more you can or should do. And there are some poor slobs who have no say at all because they live in a solid blue (or red) area and are outvoted at every turn. (…a Republican living in the bay area for example.)

    I will take (some) responsibility for my state’s senators and my district’s congressman only.

  18. Irv Says:

    Bill – Is there anything that isn’t Trump’s fault? Has he done anything right in the last 10 months?

    Criticizing everything is the same as criticizing nothing. It just becomes background noise.

  19. Bill Says:

    Roy – I’m not asking you to take responsibility for the election of every single congress person. But they are all elected and we can work to unelect them, etc. The answer to dissatisfaction with Congress isn’t to just give more power to the President. Plus it’s short term thinking. The next President may be someone you really don’t like and every ceding of power in the past becomes more power for him/her to screw up your life in the future, and that becomes a really long four or eight years.

    Irv, I pick my spots with Trump. His nomination of Gorsuch was good. The economy is doing well, and regardless of how much he’s had to do with it the president gets credit for that. Most of my objections to Trump are along the lines of first amendment issues, his authoritatian impulses (highly aligned with his disdain for the first amendment). His foreign policy also is too much Brinkmanship and bluster for my taste.

    And also its Sunday and so I’m expecting either triumphant or whiny tweets today about his ongoing top priority of forcing private citizens (most of whom are black) to show sufficient displays of patriotism.

    You’re free to ignore me. But really just about everyone here in these threads agrees with you already on these issues, right? I try to be reasoned and polite. I fail often, but having a contrary opinion here isn’t, I don’t think, hurting anyone. We can learn from each other.

  20. Irv Says:

    Other than foreign policy being too forceful for your tastes, your complaints about Trump, in my mind, all come down to him not being like other politicians and talking in a politically correct manner.

    I think we all have authoritarian impulses. Who hasn’t thought, when witnessing someone doing something you know to be wrong or destructive, that it would be nice to make people do the right thing. But the fact that we have those impulses doesn’t mean we would ever act on them.

    Trump gives voice to the things ordinary people think and say in ordinary conversations. That’s what a populist does and it’s the reason he was elected. But, like ordinary people, he doesn’t act on those things, he just gives voice to the feelings. He lets us know that sometimes people in power are just ordinary people with the same thoughts and feelings as ours. It makes us thing we’re all coming from the same place and have the same goals.

    You can complain about him as president when he actually acts on those thoughts. Otherwise, you’re complaining about his right to free speech. As you say, having a contrary opinion isn’t hurting anyone. We can learn from each other.

    As to foreign policy being too forceful, it’s the only thing we haven’t tried lately and nothing else has worked. We are getting to a point of no return where nuclear war will become inevitable. If all the bad actors on the international stage get those weapons, is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that they would use them?

    Iran has said over and over again that they would wipe Israel out with just a few nuclear weapons and Iran’s losses would only be a few tens of millions; Islam would survive. After Israel, who would be next? Their stated goal is Islamic domination of the world and the conversion of all the people at the point of a sword. Also, isn’t it obvious that both Iran and North Korea would give nukes to terrorists. Who doubts they would use them? Remember 9/11?

    Forceful foreign policy caused Khadafi to give up his nukes so at least there’s precedent for trying it with other dictators. It’s easy to see where weakness has led us and we need to stop going there.

  21. Bill Says:

    Irv – regarding Trump’s foreign policy, let me explain what I mean. I don’t have a problem with muscular foreign policy where we have the very best strategic minds in our country on the case and where our words mean something.

    I have a big problem with foreign policy conducted over twitter, brinkmanship, and “fire and fury” talk that means nothing.

    You and I can disagree on this.

    “You can complain about him as president when he actually acts on those thoughts.”

    Actually, I can complain about him even if he doesn’t. I’m not sure I have to ask permission. If I get too obnoxious (really trying not to be) Neo can ban me. That would be her right as the host. You can lobby her to do so if you’d like, as is your right.

    But Trump is already acting on those thoughts. I know this is an unpopular opinion in these parts, but the President of the United States is putting real, actual economic pressure on a private industry to compel their employees to engage in patriotic speech, and to shut down speech he doesn’t like.

    Lots of people approve of that because we were raised to be patriotic and who’s against patriotism? But it’s chilling to me. The fact that our President called the (mostly African American) players engaged in this “sons of bitches” infuriates me. I’ve seen very little mercy or even interest in these threads as to why they are kneeling.

    So, yeah, he’s already “acting” on his disdain for speech that doesn’t please him. Pardon my french, but to hell with that. That’s unAmerican. Conservatives used to think so too.

    You like it now. You won’t like it when the next leftist President we get tries that to shut down speech you care about. Hasn’t that been a huge complaint we’ve had for years, that the left tries to shut down speech? Both parties now use the same tactic. Seems hypocritical to me.

    “Otherwise, you’re complaining about his right to free speech.”

    I’ve never said he doesn’t have the right to say whatever he wants. Of course he does.

    “As you say, having a contrary opinion isn’t hurting anyone. We can learn from each other.”

    You are correct. And I’m learning a lot from Trump and from the authoritarian/nationalist wing the party which appears to be growing in power daily. I don’t like what I’m learning.

    The difference between me and Trump – I don’t have nukes, can’t sway whole industries, make stock market sectors crash with the stroke of a pen, etc. Words matter.

    Mine matter hardly at all (and they still tend to really, really irritate people here). Trump’s matter a great deal.

  22. neo-neocon Says:

    Bill:

    What economic pressure did Trump put on the NFL? The economic pressure was already happening, from the fans.

    He said this, for example, to a crowd he was addressing:

    Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘get that son of a bitch off the field right now — he’s fired,’

  23. Bill Says:

    Neo, the buzz/outrage/etc was amped up by Trump from that speech. The economic pressure was already happening. He made it worse. He’s the President.

    People have the right to boycott, certainly. The President, however, has been actively encouraging the boycott, made threats (or “suggestions” if you like) of the revocation of tax breaks, etc. All because of a protest.

    He called American Citizens sons of bitches because they won’t stand for the National Anthem.

    We’ve been over the arguments. He can do this, of course. I don’t have to like it. It represents a violation at least of the spirit of the first amendment from my pov. But his base loves it and keeping Americans at each other’s throats and among up the drama of our current reality TV moment is good for ratings.

    I don’t expect you or anyone else here to agree. I do think the Obama test is a good one. If Obama called Americans sons of bitches for not, I don’t know, observing some aspect of black history month that the NFL agreed to do (sone ceremony or something before a game) and encouraged NFL boycotts some would look at this differently.

    I’ve heard from black friends on this one. To them it’s just another case of “stand, boy!”

  24. neo-neocon Says:

    Bill:

    He did not put economic pressure on them. He spoke his opinion, and said to people of like mind: Wouldn’t it be nice if….?

    He is perfectly free to do that, as would any president. The pressure is put on the NFL through people not buying tickets. I doubt Trump changed anyone’s mind on this.

    Trump did not put penalize the NFL in any way whatsoever, or take away their right to be televised, or anything that would constitute an abuse of power at all.

    Trump’s style is very coarse. No question about it. Calling them “sons of bitches,” for example. But there’s no abuse of power whatsoever here. Nor is there any in discussing the possibility of the end of tax-exempt status. First of all, they voluntarily relinquished most of that status already, back in 2015. Secondly, lots of people (including Democrats) have called for an end to that status (one reason being, for example, the league’s not taking domestic abuse seriously enough). Take a look at the history and you’ll see what I’m talking about:

    “The fact is that the business of the NFL has never been tax exempt,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in an April 2015 memo. “Every dollar of income generated through television rights fees, licensing agreements, sponsorships, ticket sales and other means is earned by the 32 clubs and is taxable.”

    The league office was granted its tax exempt status in 1942. The Internal Revenue Service classified the NFL as a trade association, meaning it is exempt from federal income taxes. Exemptions under the 501(c)(6) tax code include business leagues (trade associations), chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade and professional football leagues.

    The inclusion of professional football leagues in the tax code helped the NFL and the American Football League more easily merge in 1966.

    Since the league office’s exemption wasn’t that significant to begin with, it was easy for the NFL to just give it up and benefit from a PR standpoint, Time magazine reported at the time.

    Also, Time pointed out, as the league was giving up its tax exemption, it no longer had to reveal how much the boss made — a win for Goodell…

    .Before 2015, politicians had pressed for the NFL to ditch its tax exempt status – especially as the league was criticized for its handling of multiple domestic violence incidents.

    Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., introduced legislation in 2014 that would “increase funding for domestic violence prevention programs by $100 million” by “closing a decades-old tax loophole used by professional sports teams,” his office said then.

    Former Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., also attempted to strip the NFL of its tax exempt status in 2013. And former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said in 2015 that the NFL “should have to pay taxes like everybody else.”

    Oh, I bet the NFL is just quaking in its cleats at the discussion of them maybe losing tax-exempt status.

  25. Bill Says:

    “He is perfectly free to do that, as would any president. The pressure is put on the NFL through people not buying tickets. I doubt Trump changed anyone’s mind on this.”

    Neo, I agree with the first sentence (well, maybe except for the “as would any president” line – Can’t imagine George W saying that). Disagree with the second. I know people who began to boycott after Trump stirred up the controversy even higher than it was before.

    I don’t care, really, if people boycott the NFL. But I disagree with you regarding the extent to which Trump has put on the pressure. He has been actively calling NFL owners and pressuring them to establish tougher policies. In a time when California’s on fire, PR is still needing FEMA help, and the NK / Iran situations continue, four soldiers dying in Niger, this little bit of culture warmongering has obviously been a high priority for him. His Vice President staged a protest at the Indianapolis game – he knew some of the SF players would take a knee, then marched out. How much did that side trip cost taxpayers?

    I get hives when politicians (especially ones like Trump who got draft deferments) wrap themselves in the flag.

    Regarding the tax exemptions, as usual you are more informed than I am. I took it for granted that there are tax exemptions because Trump threatened (or suggested) they be revoked. Maybe he doesn’t know either. In any event, my apologies.

    But these actions just seem like so much tin pot demagoguery. Of course he has the right to do this. You could argue that Clinton had the *right* to have an affair in the oval office. It doesn’t mean that it’s something the President *should* do. And no, I’m not equating the two, but they are in the same category.

    Trump’s style is very coarse. No question about it. Calling them “sons of bitches,” for example.

    Yes. Again, it’s not illegal, won’t get him impeached, etc. But it sheds light on what’s in his heart regarding what he thinks of the cares of the black community. “Stand, boy!”

    I realize the race card is overplayed. But he didn’t use that kind of language regarding people waving Nazi flags. Yes, he condemned those guys, eventually. But he saved “sons of bitches” for guys kneeling respectfully during the anthem.

    I don’t expect Trump supporters to see this the way I do. I think Obama could have done so much more to improve racial relations, and he didn’t. Trump is just continuing the trend, throwing red meat to his supporters. They control us better when they have us divided and distracted.

  26. neo-neocon Says:

    Bill:

    I don’t mind presidents wrapping themselves in the flag.

    I think your objections to Trump are in large part objections to his style. I very much dislike it, as well, but I separate that from what he actually does. Somehow, his fighting the NFL hasn’t keep him from tending to all sorts of other business. I don’t see him sloughing off at all in the work department.

    Also, just take this example of taxes and the NFL. All I did was Google it. It took a few seconds—literally, just a few seconds—to come up with a host of articles that explained. Rather than imagine a situation, and get angry at it, take just a moment to research it. I think we all just make assumptions about what’s true, particular if it’s reported a certain way in the major papers. But I’ve learned over and over again that it doesn’t necessarily work that way. I’m continually surprised at how different and more complex things often are than they are initially reported to be.

  27. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Has he done anything right in the last 10 months?

    Trum managed to survive this long in the byzantine White House and DC capital of evil, that’s something at least.

    Trum can use twitter because he likes to delegate, since he can always say “you are fired” if he doesn’t like someone’s performance. In that fashion, he is sorta like Bush II, except Bush II doesn’t like to fire loyal subordinates.

    The problem with that style in DC is due to palace intrigues, like that FBI or other Democrats Trum staff his admin with.

  28. Ymar Sakar Says:

    I’m continually surprised at how different and more complex things often are than they are initially reported to be.

    I don’t use the news as sources, so I am rather well insulated to the Left’s propaganda, lies, and disinformation distortion.

    It is just way too much of a bother to use the Art of Propaganda to filter the news.

  29. Bill Says:

    Neo, good point on the research exhortation. I’m embarrassed. But it can be really hard to know. I often Google and get conflicting answers. Reality is nuanced. And, frankly, if my “proof” comes from, say, CNN or NYT I can’t post it here because no one here believes those sites. And I quit believing that Fox News wasn’t just Trump propaganda a while ago.

    It’s not much of an excuse. Ill try to do better

    “I think your objections to Trump are in large part objections to his style. I very much dislike it, as well, but I separate that from what he actually does.”

    They go way deeper than style. But I’ve written about that ad nauseum on these threads. This statement is the mirror equivalent of someone saying, a few years ago,” your objections to Obama are because he’s black”. In other words, “your objections are stupid”. Mine aren’t, but think what you will.

    “Somehow, his fighting the NFL hasn’t keep him from tending to all sorts of other business. I don’t see him sloughing off at all in the work department.”

    Remember two of the complaints about Obama was that he golfed too much and that his family spent too much on trips (“moochelle”). The idea was that he didn’t work hard enough.

    Trump golfs a lot. And he visits (and makes money for) his gold resorts. A lot. He’s making $$$ of the Presidency while enjoying a rich vacation nearly every weekend. Meanwhile, in theory at least, we’re on the brink of war with NK. Or are we? Who can tell anymore.

    I’m not sure he’s working hard enough. The effort he put into repeal and replace was laughable and mostly consisted of insults of congress and excuses.

    But the main point. Why is the President of the United States fighting a private industry that isn’t doing anything illegal just because they aren’t patriotic enough for him?

  30. Bill Says:

    Neo, I may be beating a dead horse, but your point about NFL tax breaks/rrsearch got me thinking. The same article you posted says this:

    Since the national anthem controversy, other Republicans aside from Trump have called for an end to tax breaks the NFL gets at the state level, including subsidies for stadiums.

    Last month, Louisiana state Rep. Kenny Havard called for the end of his state’s funding to the New Orleans Saints. The Times-Picayune reported that the Saints receive about $165 million of its $1.5 billion value in public funding, incentives and tax breaks.

    Some questions

    1. Is the point that there aren’t any federal tax breaks anymore since 2015? I was thinking more of the lavish state and city incentives I’ve heard people complain about all my life. Like the 165MM amount to the saints

    2. You’re right, democrats have complained about those forever, although more from an economic, rather than a patriotic, perspective

    3. To my point 1, it’s correct that at the state level Trump can’t do much, if anything. So was it just bluster, or does he not understand? He wrote

    “Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!”

    What “massive tax breaks” was he talking about? State and city incentives?

    This is an example of why it’s more than style. This particular obsession of our President is authoritarian, violates the spirit of the first amendment, and is either actually ignorant because he doesn’t understand current law (and that’s troubling) or manipulative dishonest demagoguery because he does understand it but doesn’t care, or an attempt to sway state legislators to join him in forcing patriotic displays from NFL players. I think the main reason is it plays well with his crowd.

  31. neo-neocon Says:

    Bill:

    I believe it was just bluster.

    I also agree—and I wrote about this extensively during the campaign—that Trump has an authoritarian impulse, an authoritarian kneejerk emotional reaction. However, as president, although we see sporadic examples of this mainly in his tweets and bluster, so far it has been confined to tweets and bluster. In fact, in his acts as president, I see them as having been quite constitutional. The MSM keeps reacting to the former, and tries to distort the latter to make it seem that he’s actually doing something tyrannical, but so far I haven’t seen that happen in reality.

  32. neo-neocon Says:

    Bill:

    The NFL is an organization which was not legally considered a private industry till 2015, when it gave up its tax breaks as a nonprofit:

    At the corporate level, the National Football League considers itself a trade association made up of and financed by its 32 member teams. Up until 2015, the league was an unincorporated nonprofit 501(c)(6) association. Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code provides an exemption from federal income taxation for “Business leagues, chambers of commerce, real-estate boards, boards of trade, or professional football leagues (whether or not administering a pension fund for football players), not organized for profit and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.”. In contrast, each individual team (except the non-profit Green Bay Packers is subject to tax because they make a profit.

    The NFL gave up the tax exempt status in 2015 following public criticism…

    Come to think of it—and this just now occurred to me—Trump’s focus on the tax issue might be an attempt to remind people of the special status the NFL has enjoyed for much of its existence (even if it doesn’t enjoy it now).

    Remember that Trump also has a personal history with the NFL that goes way back.

    Football is a popular symbol for America (as is baseball), whether we like it or not (I don’t generally watch football or follow it). More importantly, in very public games, it all begins with a playing of the anthem in a symbolic patriotic gesture. Trump is going after the NFL for allowing what he considers (and most people consider) disrespect to the flag in that very public ceremony.

    As far as doing the research goes—yes, sometimes it’s very hard to ascertain the truth. Everyone needs to try, anyway. But often it’s actually very easy. In this case it was very easy. ALL the sources agreed. There’s a very specific history that’s easily and immediately accessible, not in opinion pieces but in factual pieces. It only took a few seconds to discover this.

  33. DNW Says:

    This whole business of mandating the performance of public displays of patriotism, before what are in essence nothing more than commercial athletic spectacles designed to delight physically decaying middle aged nostalgia victims, is pure nonsense.

    Get rid of the national anthem, and with it goes any pretense that these drug-aided orgies of remotely controlled acrobatic imbecility have anything to with real American ideals, or virtue, or (shudder and spit) “solidarity”.

    Give Bill credit where credit is due, then.

    It’s time to drive a spike into that pathetically sentimental “We” crap, and allow the natural lines in the sand to emerge, letting the social chips fall where they may.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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