Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: This Trump Hire is Hazardous to Your Health (And Not Just Your Medicare)


Richard Eskow
This Trump Hire is Hazardous to Your Health (And Not Just Your Medicare)
Donald Trump’s latest cabinet pick endangers the health and well-being of millions of Americans. From tax cuts to surgeons’ income, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia – Trump’s choice to run the Department of Health and Human Services –has repeatedly fought for the wealthy and privileged at the expense of ordinary Americans. As a trained physician, Price is supposedly bound by the Hippocratic oath: “First, do no harm.” Unfortunately, he’ll soon be in a position to do a great deal of harm – and his widely publicized desire to gut Medicare is only part of the problem.


“Donald Trump Is Coming for Your Medicare” argues The Nation’s David Dayen: “The selection of Georgia Congressman Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary offers the clearest signal yet that Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan are perfectly aligned, and ready to make Medicare phase-out the signature proposal of his presidency.”
Politico explains “Tom Price’s radically conservative vision for American health care”: “His vision [includes] privatizing Medicare so that seniors would receive fixed dollar amounts to buy coverage … Trump’s transition spokesman did not return calls Tuesday about whether the president-elect now shares his nominee’s views on Medicare … Price also wants to limit federal Medicaid spending to give states a lump sum, or block grant, and more control over how they could use it — a dream of conservative Republicans for years and a nightmare for advocates for the poor who fear many would lose coverage. Trump has endorsed block grants.”


Treasury pick Steve Mnuchin lacks government experience. NYT: “Over his business career, he was never particularly involved in politics, nor did he publicly express an interest in public policy. He never ran a large organization or showed himself to be an accomplished economist … he is very much a part of the firmament of the finance world, even if he never reached the corner office of one of Wall Street’s top firms … he is expected to face a steep learning curve when it comes to working on international trade, where he doesn’t have much previous experience …”
Sen. Warren rips Mnuchin nom. Politico quotes: “Steve Mnuchin is the Forrest Gump of the financial crisis — he managed to participate in all the worst practices on Wall Street. He spent two decades at Goldman Sachs helping the bank peddle the same kind of mortgage products that blew up the economy and sucked down billions in taxpayer bailout money before he moved on to run a bank that was infamous for aggressively foreclosing on families.”


Trump’s cabinet is “most conservative since Reagan” declares Politico: “…conservative activists and think tanks say his early picks have inspired confidence that his administration will take action on their long-standing priorities … at this rate, with cooperation from a Republican Congress, Trump will have the support to dismantle a significant portion of President Barack Obama’s legacy and set his sights on Great Society programs that have been the linchpin of the social safety net for nearly 50 years.”
Trump meets with Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn. Bloomberg: “Transition spokesman Sean Spicer didn’t give any hint of the agenda for Trump’s meeting with Cohn or whether he’s in line for an administration job. But a person familiar with transition planning said Trump and his aides are still discussing what role he might play, with potential jobs including posts at the Treasury Department or Office of Management and Budget. Cohn also may be considered for the Federal Reserve…”
Bloomberg’s Noah Smith defends Trump’s infrastructure plan: “Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen … cautioned against spending too much on infrastructure, warning that a move could stoke inflation and reduce the government’s ability to use fiscal stimulus in the event of a recession … [But w]hen economists look for actual evidence that deficit spending drives up inflation, they find very little … there are many prime-age workers who are out of the labor force, and might come back if a burst of infrastructure spending gave them opportunity to do something useful…”
Trump claims he’ll leave his business. Politico: “… ‘the president-elect on Twitter said legal documents “are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations.’ … Exactly what strategy Trump will deploy to end his business conflicts is unclear … Trump has dismissed suggestions he sell everything, and his aides had stayed mum beyond issuing an official statement that his three oldest adult children and a ‘team of highly skilled executives’ will soon be in command of the official Trump Organization. While a patchwork approach is certainly more complicated, and it might still result in litigation and bad headlines, political, business and legal experts told POLITICO it’s also the price Trump must pay if he’s serious about making the leap from international entrepreneur to president of the United States.”
Many unanswered questions in Trump’s deal with Carrier. W. Post: “What did the president- and vice president-elect offer the manufacturer? What did they threaten it with, if anything? Will taxpayers be ponying up? … as the group Good Jobs First has relentlessly documented, corporate subsidies tend to under-deliver on jobs promises, and they often advantage big corporations over small businesses and start-ups. It would immediately create some perverse incentives for multinational companies…”


House Dems hold leadership election today. AP: “Pelosi is likely to be re-elected easily Wednesday despite disenchantment among some in the Democratic caucus she has led since 2002 … The 76-year-old Pelosi has been promising some changes to assuage concerns in her caucus, including adding a member of the freshmen class to her leadership team. But her proposals do little to ensure new blood at the very top or change the seniority system that has key committees led by lawmakers in their 80s …”
Election will have repercussions. Politico: “Pelosi’s team has projected confidence, and she’s the heavy favorite to win another term atop the House Democratic caucus. But [Rep. Tim] Ryan’s bid ensures that even with a win she’ll have to contend with a growing group of detractors inside her own party.”
House Dems jostle to lead tax-writing committee. Politico: “Both Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) and Richard Neal (D-Mass.) announced Tuesday they would seek the [Ways and Means committee] post, shortly after the long-time ranking member, Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), said that he wouldn’t run for the top job again … Becerra [is] plugging himself as a fighter ready to take on President-elect Donald Trump and his agenda … Neal, who’s generally been more likely to work across the aisle on Ways and Means than Becerra, maintained that he also was better prepared on policy matters such as taxes, Medicare, Social Security and welfare.”


Cities and states can lead on climate, says Climate Narrative Project’s Jeff Biggers in NYT oped: “With or without significant federal support, reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require major private investment … and ambitious private-public initiatives from mayors and governors. We need to activate a new era of ‘regenerative’ cities and states. California’s recent move to reduce its carbon emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 is a hopeful shift that other cities and states should emulate.”
Former Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano defends DACA in NYT oped: “…the program is not the same as amnesty. Each case is assessed on its own merits to ensure the applicant meets the criteria and poses no security threat. This is similar, but not identical, to how a prosecutor decides to charge a case. The program does not grant categorical relief to an entire group. Today, there are nearly three-quarters of a million Dreamers who no longer have to constantly fear an encounter with an immigration enforcement agent … There is no reason to abandon these sensible priorities now.”
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