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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

There Is A Naivete Flaw Regarding Jeff Erdmann

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 08/10/17 07:53

by Dave Mindeman

Let's get back to the Jeff Erdmann interview at the Uptake.

I am a bit concerned about the naivete of Erdmann's government view. He has not been active in politics - says he had to be neutral while he was coaching football. Although other teachers have been some of the most vocal activists I know, each person has to decide that.

But when explaining why he became a Democrat, Erdmann mentions the following...

Other aspects of why I would be a democrat, age 22, 23, I learned a very valuable lesson. It was one of my first checks or second checks as a teacher, and at that time I was pretty physically ... I was in the best shape of my life and I look on there and there's medicare and medicaid coming out, and I'm like, "Ugh. I don't like seeing that money come out of my check." Because at that time, I was trying to buy a truck ... I bought a little used Ford Ranger and I was trying to get my payment under 100 bucks. And so I was frustrated that that was coming out of my check.

Medicaid is not funded by payroll taxes. Medicaid is a joint program between the Federal government and the various states. It is the main contentious argument in changing healthcare because expanded Medicaid under the ACA has been a big factor in increasing enrollment.

Erdmann also talks about "Medicare for All" as the fix - and I think Democrats, by and large, will support that for the most part. But he seems to be saying that payroll taxes are going to fund the bulk of this.

Well if people look at how it would work, it's gonna go from the 1.45 up to 5, 5.5% in a payroll tax, and then that is gonna pay for all the aspects that are needed with it. But when you do this, you're bringing in everybody. You've got all the healthy people, you've got everybody under that.

Payroll taxes going up 300%? I know that the contributions would have to increase some, but the burden on working people seems a little steep. A large number of people do not pay payroll taxes. Retired people, people with dividend and bond income, people on pensions. In fact, the older population, which will consume the bulk of health care services would once again be subsidized by payroll taxes, if that is the main approach.

Medicare for All is a solid idea. Even the idea of just allowing people 55 or more buying into the program would greatly ease the pressure on insurance premiums in the private sector. But Erdmann is going to have to flesh out his ideas - because that kind of increase in payroll taxes is just unacceptable.

And then he lumps the "wealthy" into some broad monetary concept. He insinuates that Angie Craig is "buying" her Congressional seat. I think most of us in the 2nd District are very familiar, from the last cycle, with the Craig story of growing up in a trailer park in Tennessee. In fact, from Erdmann's account of his own story, Angie Craig came from much humbler beginnings than he did. Yet, Erdmann lumps her current status into some kind of "wealthy elite" group. Simply because she began her campaign by self funding to garner name recognition in the district.

Yes, Angie Craig put in a considerable amount of her own money. But unlike the Sheldon Adelson's and Stanley Hubbard's of the world, her contribution "hurt". She took money that could keep her family comfortable for a long time. It wasn't throw away money. She made a heavy commitment to the district.

Yeah, very few people can afford to do that. And she states that she cannot afford to do it that way again. She is not self funding her 2018 campaign. But Erdmann's insinuations of elitism, in regards to Craig, are unfounded and if he truly understood the dynamics of how campaigns operate today, he would save his fire for the actual wealthy donors who are the true corruptors of this system. It seems a little strange to me to lump Angie Craig into the class of Stewart Mills and Betsy Devos. It just does not fit.

And Erdmann talks further:

Angie's running again and we don't know what her platform is, so it's hard to make a comparison as far as that. I think there's definitely comparisons between us. I think there's a lot of differences between us. And as the campaign rolls out, I think people are gonna see that and they'll have an opportunity to choose, to see how that plays into their voting decisions and what they value.

I don't think there is much secret about her platform. She has many of the same issues that Erdmann talks about. Erdmann makes "money in politics" a front and center issue - but Craig has spoken of the same concerns. She wants to get to Universal Coverage in healthcare, but is open to what will work the best - Medicare for All is included in the possibilities. As part of a proud gay family, she has a unique understanding of LGBTQ rights and concerns. There is nothing secret about her platform and I question the "differences" that Erdmann seems to believe exist between them.

Erdmann is a good progressive. I do not question his motives but his approach to a competitive primary shows naivete and inexperience. And we are all too aware of how inexperience can get us into trouble.

If I am being too critical I apologize, but I am concerned that Democrats will once again turn a victory into a defeat because of internal divisions. The 2016 split in our party is still there and exploiting that only plays into the hands of the tribal Republicans.

Jeff Erdmann has not been a Democrat very long. He has not been in the trenches. And, judging by his statements, is still learning about how all of this works.

2018 is extremely important. It is crucial for the 2nd District. We cannot afford more on the job training.

Trump Speaks

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 08/09/17 08:12

by Dave Mindeman

A day in the life of Trump...

Trump on Opioid Crisis

We have the best plan. It is a plan like no one has ever seen. When we put this plan together, you will be so happy and impressed. It is such a bigly big league venture, everyone will be saying it is the best plan they have ever seen. It will solve the problem, that I can tell you.

Trump on North Korea

We have the best plan. It is a plan like no one has ever seen. When we put this plan together, you will be so happy and impressed. It is such a bigly big league venture, everyone will be saying it is the best plan they have ever seen. It will solve the problem, that I can tell you.

Trump on Tax Reform

We have the best plan. It is a plan like no one has ever seen. When we put this plan together, you will be so happy and impressed. It is such a bigly big league venture, everyone will be saying it is the best plan they have ever seen. It will solve the problem, that I can tell you.

Big Money Is A Problem Of Republicans In Charge

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 08/09/17 07:18, Edited: 08/09/17 07:34

by Dave Mindeman

For those of you who think that Democrats are the issue when it comes to big money in politics, please read this....

The Congressional House appropriations bill includes riders that would further pare back campaign finance rules via the following:

The riders attached to the appropriations bill take aim at how the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) enforce campaign finance law.

In the case of the two aimed at the IRS and the SEC, Republicans are seeking to keep the agency from increasing transparency. The politicians behind these measures want to make sure the IRS never cracks down on the wealthy interest that are anonymously passing money through tax exempt non profit groups -- groups that are only allowed to hide the names of their donors under the assumption that they won't get involved in politics. This is a clear flouting of tax law, but the IRS has been slow to act -- and one of these riders aims to ensure that it never will.

The SEC-related rider would make sure that that agency -- Washington's top cop on the financial beat -- never forces corporations to disclose to their shareholders when they are using their money to fund political candidates or causes.

Finally -- in good congressional form -- the rider aimed at the FEC is both the most complicated and, according to watchdog groups who have been sounding the alarm, the most insidious. At the moment, only one trade association at a time can ask the employees of a corporation for money. The rider would bar the FEC from enforcing this rule in 2018, allowing every trade association under the sun to receive money from a given corporation during that year.

Should this rider become law, these specialty PACs would be free to solicit donations from a drastically expanded pool of potential donors, and corporate executives would be permitted to give contributions to multiple trade associations, increasing the disparity between large-dollar donors and the vast majority of Americans.

The first priority in regards to getting big money out of politics is to get a Democratic Congress back in Washington. That, unfortunately, may mean that we need Democratic candidates who can raise enough funds to compete - right now - and win, so that we can reverse some of these "rules" that keep this money in the dark and keep the faucet opened ever wider.

Elect Democrats and then hold them accountable. We will never get accountability on this issue with Republicans holding power.


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