Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Strong Disagreements"

Glenn Greenwald pointed me to this quote at the daily dish, and I thought it needed to be passed along:
"Look, I respect the vice president. He and I had strong disagreements as to whether we should torture people or not. I don't think we should have," - John McCain, another person who believes Dick Cheney is a war criminal. Which, on simple empirical grounds, is indisputable.
Dick Cheney learned this lesson a long time ago. If no one plans on doing anything about it, why not parade around bragging about committing war crimes?

"TARP Was Worse than you think"

Great interview with Neil Barofsky. Now that I own the book, expect more quotes and revelations in the coming weeks.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Plain and Simple Racism From Mitt Romney

I'm sure there will be many more dog whistles from Romney surrogates like the "he's not a real american" thing as the campaign moves forward, but the man himself today said something far worse:

Mitt Romney offered up a curious assessment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at a fundraiser in Jerusalem on Sunday, suggesting that Palestinian suffering — rather than an obstacle to peace — was actually an encouraging sign of Israel’s greatness.

“I was thinking this morning as I prepared to come into this room of a discussion I had across the country in the United States about my perceptions about differences between countries,” Romney told a group of high-dollar donors at a fundraiser in Jerusalem’s King David Hotel. “As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality.”

As the Associated Press noted, Romney actually got the numbers very wrong: Israel’s GDP per capita was $31,000 in 2011 and Palestinians’ per capita GDP was just $1,500. Romney at no point mentioned that the Palestinian territories have for decades been occupied without sovereign control, where residents face significant restrictions on movement and employment.
“It is a racist statement and this man doesn’t realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation,” Saeb Erakat, a senior Palestinian Authority official, told the AP.

Romney attributed the gap in success in part to Israel’s “culture.”

“Culture makes all the difference,” Romney said. “And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.” Among them, he cited “the hand of providence.”

So... no, it's not that Israeli culture is superior. Israel is rich and Palestine poor is due to the fact that one country has occupied the other for the past 30 or so years, while backed by the most powerful country/military force in the world.
If you're saying that "culture" is the reason why, you are being a racist. It's that simple.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A New Jim Crow

In Florida, some things never change:
In the debate over new laws meant to curb voter fraud in places like Florida, Democrats always charge that Republicans are trying to suppress the vote of liberal voting blocs like blacks and young people, while Republicans just laugh at such ludicrous and offensive accusations. That is, every Republican except for Florida’s former Republican Party chairman Jim Greer, who, scorned by his party and in deep legal trouble, blew the lid off what he claims was a systemic effort to suppress the black vote. In a 630-page deposition recorded over two days in late May, Greer, who is on trial for corruption charges, unloaded a litany of charges against the “whack-a-do, right-wing crazies” in his party, including the effort to suppress the black vote.

In the deposition, released to the press yesterday, Greer mentioned a December 2009 meeting with party officials. “I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting,” he said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. He also said party officials discussed how “minority outreach programs were not fit for the Republican Party,” according to the AP.

Peak Friedman

When the person who has studied Tom Friedman's madness better than anyone writes this, we should all take notice:
I realize this is not a statement anyone can make lightly, but: this morning’s column by Thomas Friedman, "Syria is Iraq," is the single most incoherent thing he has ever written. It’s… well, breathtaking is the only word.
Oh man. Read his whole post, it's worth your time.

They Cut Me... LIKE A KNIFE!!!

So my feelings on Tim Geithner are already known... and I will be reading a copy of Neil Brofsky's book as soon as I get my hands on it. And that also means I have plenty of blogging material as peices of the book get revealed. This was far too good to pass up:

Geithner got dramatic. "Neil, you think I don't hear those criticisms? I hear them. And each one, they cut me," he said, pausing and then making an emphatic cutting motion with one hand as he said "like a knife."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Helping the Banks instead of Helping People

David Dayen describes a bombshell from Neil Barofsky's awesome-sounding book:
The important moment in the book for me comes conveniently after Barofsky recounts this FDL News item, one of my HAMP horror stories. Barofsky shows how HAMP’s faulty design led to all sorts of problems like this, with trapped borrowers, extended trial payments, no-doc modifications, and eventually unnecessary foreclosures. Barofsky mused that Treasury didn’t care about the suffering of borrowers under HAMP, and the issue came up in a meeting with the Treasury Secretary, which was also attended by Elizabeth Warren, then the head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, another TARP watchdog.

Warren asked Geithner repeatedly about HAMP. After several evasions, Geithner said about the banks, “We estimate that they can handle ten million foreclosures, over time… this program will help foam the runway for them.”

This is a revelatory moment for Barofsky in the book, and should be for everyone reading. Geithner’s concern, first of all, was with how the banks would respond to the program, not how homeowners would respond to it. In fact, homeowners are quite besides the point. Regardless of their situation, they will be one of the 10 million foreclosures, in Geithner’s construction. His goal was merely to space out the foreclosures and give the banks time to earn their way back to health, mostly through the other parts of the bailout, that enabled them to earn profits.

This is a classic “extend and pretend” scheme; banks can extend the time frame for their losses, and pretend they were financially strong in the meantime. We previously had evidence that Geithner and the Treasury Department thought this way. In August 2010, a Treasury official (which Barofsky outs in the book as Geithner) made basically the same defense of HAMP, that it would give time for the banks to absorb foreclosures rather than have them come on the market all at once. But that came as a defense of the program after the fact. This scene with Warren and Barofsky came in mid-2009, when the program was in its infancy. And it’s prospective, not retrospective. It’s not that Treasury came up with a justification after the performance of HAMP faltered. It’s that it was designed this way.
This account makes clear what we've known for some time. Rather than a program to help the foreclosure crisis, it was designed to help the banks, and help the banks alone.

This administration hasn't given a shit about the foreclosure crisis, and has done nothing to help homeowners in need. In fact, they designed a program filled with ways to screw homeowners, solely because it would help the greater goal (in their minds) which was recapitalizing the banks. A lot of suffering has occurred from foreclosures because the administration chose to think about the banks first, and everyone else never. That's on Tim Geithner and Obama. No excuses.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Starting at Home

Noam Chomsky:
"My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that; namely, I can do something about it. So even if the U.S. was responsible for 2 percent of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2 percent I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Thank god we have so many guns in this country!

These days I don't even know what to say about the American national gun fetish. That something so self-evidently self-destructive is not only defended, but upheld as a pillar of our country... Like Tom Tomorrow said after some past massacre, the debate has been mostly settled, and the other side won- and now this is the price that we all have to pay.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Leverage Only Counts If You're Willing To Use It

The short answer to this post from Lawyers, Guns and Money is no... but it is worth reading:
Normally, legislators who actually care about improving things are at an inherent disadvantage when negotiating with conservatives or venal “centrists.” Joe Lieberman can get his “get rid of something because it will piss off liberals this week even if it’s what I favored last week” amendment passed because his vote is necessary and even with his dumb amendment the bill improves the status quo. But it doesn’t work the other way, because if you refuse his demand and the bill goes down he doesn’t give a shit. Leverage comes from negotiating with people who really want to make a deal, and this dynamic favors reactionaries and nihilists.

The expiring Bush tax cuts, however, are an exception to this rule. Here, it’s wingnuts who desperately need to make a deal, and progressives and moderates who should happily be willing to walk away. Fortunately, as Matt and Barbaraexplain, Senate Democrats seem finally to have figured this out. Look, this strategy here couldn’t be more obvious — let the Bush tax cuts expire, and pass your own “Democratic middle-class tax cut.” If House Republicans vote for it, the policy is better and the popular tax cuts are associated with you. If Republicans just let all of the tax cuts expire, fine — it’s not the optimal time for an across-the-board tax increases, but the revenue will be useful, there will be plenty of opportunities to cut middle-class taxes, and Republicans are responsible for a big tax increase. Unlike in 2010, you’re not going to get anything for extending the cuts and you’re not facing a presidential election in 2 years which would make an anti-stimulus worse for progressive interests. Indeed, the play here is so obvious that any Senate Democrat who won’t go along with it is more committed to upper-class tax cuts than not only good policy but the interests of their party. What makes me unsure about how this will play out is that such Senate Democrats may well exist.
The way to handle the expiration of the Bush tax cuts is so obvious it's absurd. Let them expire, then dare the Republicans to vote against the Obama/Kenyan/Marxist Tax cuts for low and middle income people you proposed in January 2013. This isn't complicated. You can make the Bush tax cuts for insanely rich people go away forever.

But then again the combination of stupidity (OMG what if the Republicans accuse us of RAISING taxes!?!?!?) and the fact that a good bit of the Democratic caucus doesn't actually want to repeal the Bush tax cuts for super rich people makes this whole thing far too predictable. The Democrats will see defections, then the stupid ones will panic to get the best deal that keeps the defectors on board, which will probably include cuts to medicare and social security along with extending the Bush tax cuts. What follows will be a relentless campaign like we saw post election in 2010 where top Democrats whip support for a crappy deal and Barack Obama says possibly the dumbest statement of his presidency (When someone takes a hostage, the only option is to give them absolutely everything they want)

Maybe I'll be totally wrong, and this time will be different, but I'm sure not getting my hopes up, regardless of how much leverage we have. Leverage only counts if you're willing to use it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Noah Galt, Captain of the Animal Hoarding Industry

We might have reached peak stupid around 11 last night:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bold Talk from Harry Reid on Senate Rules Reform

Reid surprised me with talk like this a month or so ago, but he keeps repeating himself, and in this case that can only mean good things:
Reid made the remarks on Friday to MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, a day after Democrats were unable to overcome the GOP threat of a filibuster on a small-business tax-cut bill, which failed on a 53-44 vote:
REID: They’re just trying to kill this bill, as they’ve  killed scores of other bills we’ve had because they’re filibustering. They’re filibustering until we have to change the rules. We can’t go on like this anymore. I don’t want to get rid of the filibuster, but I have to tell you, I want to change the rules and make the filibuster meaningful. The filibuster is not part of our constitution, it came about as a result of our wanting to get legislation passed, and now it’s being used to stop legislation from passing.
SCHULTZ: But you’d change the rules…
REID: Oh, we could have done it in the last Congress. But I got on the Senate floor and said that I made a mistake and  I should have helped with that. It can be done if Obama is re-elected, and I can still do it if I have a majority, we can do it with a simple majority at the beginning of the next Congress.
SCHULTZ: Think the President will go along with that?
REID: You damn betcha.
A bit later in the interview, Reid reiterated his promise:
SCHULTZ: Would you make that as a commitment if Barack Obama were reelected and the Democrats keep the Senate?
REID: Yes. I don’t know how many people watch C-Span on any given day, but I’ve said so right before everybody there, that’s what I would do.
Reid’s remarks have heartened filibuster-reform advocates who supported the 2010 Merkley-Udall-Harkin bill, sponsored mostly by Senate Democratic freshmen. Fix the Senate Now — a progressive coalition including the Communications Workers of America, the Sierra Club, and Common Cause — is reconvening this week in an attempt to revive the issue.
I asked someone who would know these types of thing and had spoken with one of the freshman senators if Reid's stance was bullshit or not. The person replied that anything could happen, but the senators truly believe Reid is behind their efforts this time around. This is extremely encouraging. The filibuster is at the heart of many factors that have destroyed our democracy, and eliminating it is a giant step in the right direction.

Reasons for Not Releasing Tax Returns

If the worst reporter in the world Erin Burnett is saying this about you...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Geithner's NY Fed Knew LIBOR was Rigged

This might get interesting:
The New York Federal Reserve on Friday released documents showing it knew banks were manipulating a key interest rate more than four years ago.

The documents, which date back to 2007, show that the Fed became fully aware that banks were lying about their borrowing costs when setting Libor, and chose to take no action against them.

The documents will likely feed growing concerns about whether the New York Fed, its former chief Timothy Geithner and other market watchdogs did everything they could to stop the manipulation. The documents also raise more questions about whether the New York Fed and other regulators were too cozy with the banks involved, looking the other way in order to spare the banks too much pain at a time when the financial crisis was still brewing.

"We know that we’re not posting um, an honest LIBOR," a Barclays employee tells a New York Fed analyst in an April 11, 2008, call, "and yet we are doing it, because, um, if we didn’t do it, It draws, um, unwanted attention on ourselves."

The New York Fed representative expresses sympathy and understanding:

"You have to accept it," she says. "I understand. Despite it’s against what you would like to do. I understand completely."

The widespread manipulation of Libor, an interest rate set by banks self-reporting what they pay to borrow money for short periods, may have cost borrowers (when rates were manipulated higher) and state and local governments (when rates were manipulated lower) untold millions of dollars. And it could end up costing several banks billions of dollars in penalties and lawsuits.

Monday, July 16, 2012

In For The Kill

This is one of the more effective attack ads I've ever seen.

I was wondering out loud on twitter the other day why use it now, vs saving it for later, but this explination from Josh Marshall makes a lot of sense:
I hope it’s not too obvious to note this. But there’s another aspect of the Bain storm that is critical to recognize. Mitt Romney has had a disastrous few days. Maybe it will go on for another day or another week. But at some not too distant point in the future we’ll be on to something else. And yet both campaigns get that this skirmish is a battle for one of the biggest prizes of the whole campaign.

The Obama campaign is hitting this so hard to take a series of associations and embed them so deeply into voters’ consciousness that they become inseparable from the mention of the phrase ‘Bain Capital’. Those are ‘joke’, ‘liar’, ‘felon’, ‘retroactively retired’, ‘SEC filings’, ‘Caymans’, ‘whiner’, ‘buck stops here’, ‘hiding something’.

You can spin these out forever. But beyond all the specific accusations, they’re painting a picture that makes Romney look ridiculous, like a joke. They’re making Romney look stupid and powerless on the front where he believes he’s one of the standouts of his generation. And that’s plain lethal for a presidential candidate.

But how does it come into play? Simple. Mitt Romney has two claims on the presidency: successful governor of major state and captain of industry. He’s largely written off the first by disavowing a genuine and perhaps far-reaching accomplishment: health care reform. Which leaves him with Bain Capital.

The play here is to make this swirl of awfulness the first thing people think of when that phrase gets uttered.

Think about it this: when do you think the next time will be that Romney talks about Bain Capital on the stump? What will people be thinking about when the 15 minute convention video about Romney’s life gets to the part about Bain capital? The Obama camp is working to build a mental roadblock in front of any persuasive discussion of Romney’s professional life, something which should be the major predicate of his whole campaign. They’re not quite there yet. But they’re getting close.

While I was writing this post a friend emailed and asked “Why now? Isn’t it better to hold this for the convention or some time later?”

In a word, no. The Obama team’s goal here is to make the entirety of Romney’s professional life toxic and off-limits before Romney even gets the chance to introduce himself to much of the public. And they’re off to a pretty good start.
I'm working on a post that cobbles together my overall thoughts on electoral politics but for now, the cliff notes are as follows:
The economy is more important than any other factor, at least 50%, probably more. In the remaining piece of the pie, the only real attacks at matter ones that create a narrative about a candidate, or add to an already existing narrative. As Josh points out, this adds to that narrative of Romney as cold hearted corporate raider and simultaneously obliterates what Romney was planning to use as greatest strength in the fall. How Rovian of them!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Train of Thought Lounge: Justice

This video for their new song "New Lands" is goddam incredible. I'm a fan of post apocalyptic stuff really no matter what, but this new sport looks pretty amazing.

David Brooks Is Wrong on the Internet

David Brooks wrote a column about Chris Hayes' book, and I think he's saying that today's elites don't work as hard because they aren't white protestant males. Which is nice of him to say out loud, but um... no. Also, his column also contains this paragraph:
I’d say today’s meritocratic elites achieve and preserve their status not mainly by being corrupt but mainly by being ambitious and disciplined. They raise their kids in organized families. They spend enormous amounts of money and time on enrichment. They work much longer hours than people down the income scale, driving their kids to piano lessons and then taking part in conference calls from the waiting room.
No. They don't work harder. Stop. Conference calls in the waiting room? Shut up. Seriously, stop. You are one of our elites and you wrote something this fucking stupid. Read that first sentence, it barely makes sense. You are the problem.

Free Stuff

As a follow up to the post the other day, when I saw this headline I seriously didn't believe the quote at first. I figured it was so obviously race baiting and offensive, that Romney couldn't have possibly said it hours after speaking to the NAACP. I was wrong. Yikes:
ROMNEY: Remind them of this, if they want more free stuff from the government tell them to go vote for the other guy -- more free stuff. But don't forget nothing is really free.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


The term hero gets thrown around a lot, but if I can't use it for this guy who appears to be pissing on the Cowboys logo in Dallas stadium, I don't know what the word even means anymore:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Romney Surrounded By Large Group of Black People

Mitt Romney is going to talk to the NAACP today. My guess is that he won't mention that his electoral strategy involves Republicans at the State level doing their best to prevent black people from voting.

I guess if he comes out of it without doing this, it will be considered a win:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

If Only...

Tweet of the day goes to Matt Stoller:

The 800 Trillion Dollar Scandal You Haven't Heard About

Over the weekend and the last day, I've been reading a lot more about the LIBOR scandal that has been making headlines around the world, but not so much in the United States.

For a background, theses videos and this Sam Seder interview with Matt Tiabbi might help:

700 TRILLION dollars in assets could be effected. The scope literally could not get larger.

We will be writing more about this, for sure.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Massive Public Sector Job Loss In a Recession is a "Test of Government Competence"

This graph is pretty amazing:

A few things stand out:

1) Bush's economy = much shittier than people gave it credit for. It's not like many people are putting up these billboards, but it really is incredible how terrible those years were.

2) The public sector losses under Obama are just stunning, and were completely preventable. When you have control of congress, you simply have to find a way to help the states and ensure those layoffs don't happen.

Oh yeah, and maybe spending a full year of your presidency talking about deficit reduction, belt tightening and other austerity bullshit wasn't a great idea either. Because that is exactly what Obama did. From David Corn's book:
Plouffe was concerned that voter unease about the deficit could become unease about the president. The budget issue was easy to understand; you shouldn’t spend more money than you have. Yes, there was the argument that the government should borrow money responsibly when necessary (especially when interest rates were low) for the appropriate activities, just like a family borrowing sensibly to purchase a home, to pay for college, or to handle an emergency. But voters needed to know — or feel — that the president could manage the nation’s finances. The budget was a test of government competence — that is, Obama’s competence.
That was the calculation. I don't give the slightest shit about what David Plouffe has done to get to this position in Obama's White House. If he thought that bullshitting about deficits to "prove to voters" he could manage the budget was important, then he is a fucking idiot. Obama's year of austerity was successful at convincing Democrats that a made up problem (deficits) are actually important. While making Democratic voters dumber is a laudable goal, I'm guessing there are a few more useful things Obama could have spent A FUCKING YEAR focusing on. But we shouldn't be surprised, since David Plouffe also thought that benefit cuts to social security would be "win" with independent voters. Seriously, where do they find people this out of touch with reality?

With morons like that running the show, it's kind of a miracle things aren't worse.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Cult of Austrian Economics

After his real talk on Republicans and health care earlier this week, conservative Josh Barro decided to unload on austrian economics in a spectacular way:
Richard Posner gave an interview to NPR this week in which he blasts current-day conservatives and says today's "goofy" Republican Party has made him less conservative. Over the last 10 years, he said, "There's been a real deterioration in conservative thinking. And that has to lead people to re-examine and modify their thinking."

Posner is probably the most respected judge in America who doesn't sit on the Supreme Court, and a key thinker in the law and economics movement. His alienation is a reflection of how hostile the conservative movement has become to intellectuals.

Of course, conservatives will tell you they care a lot about intellectual grounding. These days, they especially love Austrian economists, such as Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. I have a whole bookshelf dedicated to duplicate copies of Austrian economics books that conservative and libertarian organizations have given to me for free. I have four copies of The Road to Serfdom, which is like Dianetics for libertarians.

There are two big reasons today's right loves the Austrians. One is that Austrian economists reject empirical analysis, and instead believe that you can reach conclusions about correct economic policies from a priori principles. It's philosophy dressed up as economics; with the Austrians, there is never any risk that real-world events will interfere with your ideology.

The other big advantage is that the main Austrian thinkers, Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, are dead, so they can't argue with your interpretation of their work. This is especially important with Hayek, who got sort of squishy later in life.
My question for libertarians is usually a simple one: Why has their ideology failed any time it has been implemented, at any real scale, at any time throughout human history?

I'm honestly not trying to be glib, it just doesn't work. Ever. But there is a good reason for that, because having it work isn't the point. Libertarian economics isn't a means to an end, it's a means for the sake of a means. Barro goes into the recent financial crisis to hammer the point home:
And that is how so many on the right have pulled off the remarkable feat of going through the 2008 crisis and its aftermath without revisiting any of their policy views. Mine have certainly changed a lot -- I have a much different outlook on monetary policy and bank regulation than I did four years ago. Posner had a big shift on fiscal policy.

But if you have Mises at your side, you "know" that empirical findings have no bearing on what policy should be. Leaning on Austrian thinkers is a great way to avoid further thinking. If Posner feels like he's no longer welcome on the right, it's probably because the right has decided it no longer needs people like Posner.
"Leaning on Austrian thinkers is a great way to avoid further thinking." So well said.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Economy Continues to Suck

Two charts from Calculated Risk:

This shouldn't be acceptable, and is doing real, long term damage to enormous amounts of people. The people in charge should probably get creative and do something about this. There are things that don't require 60 Senators or Congress. You're the fucking president. Do something.

Move Along, Nothing to See Here...

Not Good...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

George Bush Doesn't Care About Healthcare People

Conservative think tank guy Josh Barro tweeted something last night that deserves repeating:

And these are things that need to be said. As much as a bitch about the Democrats on this site, there is literally only one side of this equation that even gives the slightest fuck about making sure people have health care they can afford. The irony about Obama's legislation being written by the Heritage foundation is extra irony-y-y (not a word but stay with me) because there is no way in hell any national republican would ever try to pass this type of bill. Why? Because they don't care in the slightest about making sure people have affordable health insurance, because there is no constituency in the Republican party that demands it either.

Want proof? At the state level, there are occasionally Republican governors who didn't run for office to turn their state into a Galtian hellhole, but actually trying to find conservative solutions to real problems that states face. One of those people was Mitt Romney. Elected in Massachusetts, he used his time in office to implement a conservative solution to a problem that at the national level only matters to Democrats. The plan has been successful in some ways, and less so in others (much how I assume Obamacare will turn out), but one place it had no support was among Republicans.

When he ran for national office, by far the biggest knock on Romney was basically the ONLY commendable thing he did, which is attempt universal healthcare for his state. Of course he did it very differently than I would like, but actually caring about this issues makes him seem like Mother Teresa compared to the nihilists running against him and the "Let him die" crew voting in the primary.

So as Josh Barro (again, a conservative) pointed out, the unspoken truth here is that Republicans genuinely don't care about these issues. They never have, and they probably never will. And even the ones who would have cared 10 years ago (like Romney) see the writing on the wall that attempting anything that might help people is nearly a death sentence for your career as a Republican. So as depressing as the choice between corporate friendly pursuit of center-left ends and rule by nihilists bigots is, there is a difference.

There. That's my get out the vote message. Something tells me the Obama campaign won't be using it for a bumper sticker.

Monday, July 2, 2012

What Happens to the Medicaid Expansion?

The expansion of medicaid is how a huge number of the uninsured will be getting their care in the ACA. With that, the supreme court ruling may have thrown a major wrench in the ability to pull that off. David Dayen:
As I explained yesterday, the part of the ruling around the Medicaid expansion, where 7 justices agreed that this was basically a new program, and existing Medicaid funds could not be taken back by the federal government if states declined to comply, has the most near-term consequences for health care itself. Given that Medicaid expansion created half of the coverage increases in the bill, this offered half of the states the opportunity to really take an axe to the program by simply refusing to expand their Medicaid programs. And it leaves the poor between around 50% and 133% of the poverty line in a real no man’s land, because they would both be ineligible for Medicaid AND the coverage subsidies in the exchanges (and ineligible for the mandate, but that just puts them in the status quo, which is terrible).

This has been dismissed by the Democratic establishment as implausible. But it’s such a good deal for those states, they say. But everyone’s in Medicaid now, they say.
. . .
It’s true that it’s a very good deal for states. As Pelosi says, the first three years is basically free, and after that the state only has to pick up less than 10% of the costs. In the example of Texas, by 2019, the state will have spent a mere $2.6 billion on the expansion, while the federal government will have shelled out $52.5 billion. And Pelosi even hinted that the feds could pick up more of that cost (which sounds close to federalizing Medicaid, which is really the killer app here).

Furthermore, looking to history, Medicaid itself was created in 1965. It remains a voluntary program, and Arizona held out for 17 years, until 1982, becoming the last to create their own program for their state. So if all states, including the red states, have Medicaid now, doesn’t that suggest all states will take the expansion over time?

Perhaps. But Pelosi’s response strikes me as the typical Democratic dismissal of conservative ideological intransigence. This is a far more conservative era than 1965. These state governors are well to the right of the crop that held out in Arizona. And Obamacare is seen as the devil’s handiwork. I’d argue that these governors are ideologically far to the right of even 2009, when all of them took stimulus money eventually. The resisters just paid lip service and eventually took the funds. But there wasn’t a Tea Party to pressure them to the right on these grounds. Scott Walker and Rick Scott and John Kasich came right into office and denied the high speed rail funds for Wisconsin and Florida and Ohio, for example. That’s the crop we’re talking about.
There is no way to know for sure, but I agree with Dayen's prediction here. To me, the high speed rail is a perfect example. That was a free gift to those states that they could not afford on their own and do wonders for economic productivity in the long run. And they turned it down. They actively made their states shittier places to take a stand against insanely popular high speed rail. Why would they turn down a chance to make their state shittier and take a principled stand against a law that is unpopular in the abstract?

This is a different breed of asshole governor. I tend to expect the worst from them, and so far I haven't been proven wrong. I also hope that all the Democrats that are so confident about these states opting in to the medicaid expansion have a damn good plan B, because they're going to need it.