A personal note on policy evaluation

I want to lay out one of my key heuristics for policy analysis and evaluation for the next four years. But first I need to go back a little in my life to two time periods.

1992 sucked for my family. I am one of five kids. My mom worked a retail job as she was mainly trying to get all of us going in the right direction while managing half a dozen minor chronic conditions between all of us. My dad was a union electrician. Construction is a pro-cyclical industry so when times were good, they were very good and when times are slow, they are really bad. The 80s were good as Boston boomed. The late 80s after the S&L crisis plus the overbuildout of Boston sucked. He was able to get the occasional side job and short term position as an electrician and had already started to work as a cabinet maker, a newspaper deliverer and half a dozen other side jobs and hustles to hold on. We were waiting for the Big Dig to really ramp up as that would clear a log jam on the job list at the union hall.

I remember crying in happiness one day when my parents decided to get me a treat of sweet canned corn instead of frozen corn. We had not had my favorite type of corn in so long as the extra thirty cents a pound was too much of a lift.

Now fast forward.

Mid-2008 my wife had gotten laid off as her organization got a new CEO who wanted to quickly leave their mark for decisiveness and wiped out several profitable but not exciting departments. She was pregnant with our daughter. I was working as a program evaluator for a behavioral health care coordination program. It was funded by a federal grant that was due to run out at the end of FY09. We were trying to transition our funding to local and foundation money. By mid-2009, my wife was working part time at a position far below her skill level, our daughter was happy making faces at her parents, and there was absolutely no local or foundation money as 51 mini-Hoovers were in effect for state level austerity. I got laid off. The next year I stayed home with our daughter as the combination of unemployment insurance and not paying for daycare that was the best solution possible.

Now fast forward.

The past six years have been great for my family. My career has taken off. My wife’s career has launched. We have two great kids. We have stability and we have a cushion. Yesterday the induction motor on the furnace failed after a good eighteen years of service. I was able to grumble and mumble as I wrote a check to the HVAC technician but writing that check had no impact on my family’s financial stability. We’re in good shape.

Some of this is a humble brag. But most of this is how my policy evaluation heuristic is formed. If a policy helps 2009 Me or 1992 Me out more than it helps present day me out, I’m most likely for it. If 2017 Me is advantaged over either 2009 or 1992 Me, I’m highly likely to be opposed to it.






34 replies
  1. 1
    JPL says:

    My younger son feels about the same way that you do. Both he and his wife have successful careers, and can benefit under this administration, and he’s depressed. He understands that our democracy is at risk.

  2. 2
    PST says:

    Bravo! I think that is a wonderful way to think about policy. I believe it echoes the way many of us here look at the world. It gets harder when we worry that 1992 us or 2009 us might be Trump voters.

  3. 3
    Spanky says:

    You (and I) are in the minority. I don’t remember whether I first saw this statistic here or not:
    63% Of Americans Don’t Have Enough Savings To Cover A $500 Emergency

  4. 4
    waysel says:

    You’d make a lousy Republican, Richard. Where’s your sense of infinite personal greed?

  5. 5
    MomSense says:

    Any thoughts on the alleged replacement plan Susan Collins is going to introduce?

  6. 6
    ribber says:

    I love this heuristic. I’ve had the exact same thought less eloquently stated with the years 1984 and 2002.

  7. 7

    @MomSense: I will need to read it first. But if it is based on Cassidy 2015 (which I think it will be) then it is actually a replacement plan that grapples with reality and it would be a legitimate opening bid for an honest and potentially productive negoatiation. Cassidy 2015 plus a significant set of technical corrections (most notably family glitch and probably phasing out SHOP) would probably get 20 Democratic votes in the Senate and 80 or more in the House. There are downsides to Cassidy 2015 but given the political environment, it entrenches the concept that the Federal government is responsible for making sure people get covered and after that it is a matter of arguing over what dials to turn and at what level to fund (Cassidy 2015 if I am reading it right is actually authorizing a lot of money and perhaps more money than PPACA)

  8. 8
    Rusty says:

    Your evaluation criteria algorithm is spot on. Too much of the campaigns, even on the left was about middle class issues and very little about true poverty issues. Free college is nice, but nutrition, health, housing, etc. programs for the least of society is more important. I will lament the loss of the NEA and the CPB, but it’s the proposed cuts in SNAP and PELL grants that matter. Let’s keep focused on the those in true need.

  9. 9
    MomSense says:

    @Richard Mayhew:

    I’m nervous because if it is some sort of block grant to the states scheme, those of us with Republican governors and/or legislatures will be screwed.

  10. 10
    Another Scott says:

    Yup, “where you stand depends on where you sit” – people are very often products of their environment.

    On Cassidy 2015 (which I haven’t read, just going on your description) – I can’t see it happening with this Congress and this President. The Teabaggers don’t care about effective policy, they care about maximalist punching down and riling up their primary voters. And cutting taxes for the 1%. And destroying social programs and investments in science. They’re not interested in spending more on any social programs. If they actually do the final act of repealing Obamacare, I expect they’re going to have a lot of trouble actually voting for some sort of replacement. And I still don’t want any Democrats voting to help them do it.

    Make them own it.

    Our best hope is taking back the House and Senate in 2019. That means if Donnie and his minions have the votes to destroy the federal government, and they want to do it, then it has to be on them. Democrats getting all “bi-partisany” in trying to fix the destruction won’t help in 2019 and won’t help the country.

    Shumer and Pelosi need to be of one mind on this. Unity and resistance is the best path forward.

    Eyes on the prize.

    My $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  11. 11
    cmorenc says:

    Mid-2008 my wife had gotten laid off as her organization got a new CEO who wanted to quickly leave their mark for decisiveness and wiped out several profitable but not exciting departments.

    This is a point I’ve tried to tactfully make with my son-in-law, who has a project-management position with a major corporation that allows him to telecommute for the major portion of his job, with travel maybe 1x per month. I should also mention that his wife (my daughter) has her own professional career where she will always out-earn him by a considerable amount, but which is tied to their present location. Two particularly salient points I’ve driven home are: 1) No matter how well he is performing in his particular project-management niche, if some MBA-type two or three levels above him thinks they can make their own management prowess look better on a spreadsheet by eliminating him (or his department and him along with it) – they will happily do so, without any sense of loyalty to the people affected for their previous value-contributed to the company. 2) No matter how high one climbs in the big-corporate world, even CEO of the company – the moment they retire, no one truly gives a shit about their accomplishments – the only true reward is what vested assets they’ve accumulated during their tenure; 3) they are living in a truly nice location of the sort that only a couple of hours or so away – corporate climbing types will often choose to make vacation visits to (when they can afford to take time off) – but he doesn’t have to, cause he’s already where they’d like to be able to take time off to go to. Why kill yourself, dude? When the time to raise kids come, embrace being “Mr. Mom” for a few years while using your skills to do part-time consulting gigs.

    I think he’s actually listening to me on these points, which is good – because the day will come when he’s going to have to accept the reality that they’re all true. Years go, I watched my brother, who had a similarly cushy situation, blow it because he couldn’t bear the thought that some of his college classmates were purportedly becoming rich “masters of the universe” – and he forced his wife to uproot from a cushy situation to pursue his mad dreams, which all came crashing down on him when the sociopath big corporate types he went into a venture ended up waking away from it, leaving him holding a bag of nothing.

  12. 12
    cmorenc says:

    @Another Scott:

    Our best hope is taking back the House and Senate in 2019. That means if Donnie and his minions have the votes to destroy the federal government, and they want to do it, then it has to be on them. Democrats getting all “bi-partisany” in trying to fix the destruction won’t help in 2019 and won’t help the country.

    THIS. People who have been voting for these GOP sociopaths, thinking they won’t “really” screw people like themselves, but rather only the purportedly undeserving “others”, unfortunately need the tough-love experience of what hard-right GOP government is really like to wake the fuck up. It might not take an early 1930s-scale economic disaster to make it sink in – maybe only another 2008-scale crisis, maybe even only a deep recession two years into Donnie’s presidency. But when the opportunity presents itself again, we progressives CANNOT afford to fuck it up with bickering over the details such as single payer vs ACA and so on.

  13. 13
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    I’m Generation Jones, like Obama. Too young to be a true raging asshole Boomer, a little too old to be GenX.

    Every milestone emergence in my life has been into a shit economic circumstance. College was 84, and I wasn’t in the financial services industry, an inheritor or S&L hedge fund or junk bond guy, plus I was in the Ohio Valley Reagan Recession, so I went to law school after a miserable year. Worked full time for my first year or so of school, then started doing some clerk work for different lawyers. Come out of law school in ’88, smack in the middle of the End of Reagan’s Presidency Broader Recession, did some atrociously paid PD work, followed by a few miserable years as a fledgling lawyer in private practice.

    Clinton’s presidency brought broad improvement to my clientele, and things really looked up.

    The Bush term kicked the legs out from under my clientele (mostly middle class) – they had work that needed to be done, but no money to pay for it.

    The Obama term really stabilized my folks. As they improved their lives, mine improved too.

    By my anecdotal experience, I know what is coming for us all with a conservative ideology economic regime, and shudder. I’m probably better positioned this time, but it is still going to suck.

  14. 14
    cmorenc says:

    @MomSense:

    I’m nervous because if it is some sort of block grant to the states scheme, those of us with Republican governors and/or legislatures will be screwed.

    More specifically, think about how:
    1) the tobacco settlement monies have been diverted by state legislatures into general fund usages rather than healthcare purposes.
    2) ditto “education lottery” revenues for education getting de facto diverted, by siphoning off the non-lottery tax sources to other purposes, and lottery revenues merely replacing them.

    Unless these “block grants” are ironclad tied to health provision, they WILL get diverted, by means both direct and indirect.

  15. 15
    JPL says:

    @MomSense: Maybe not. For republican governors it wasn’t about the expansion of health care, as much as the expansion of health care under President Obama.

    Let em die was an accurate term.

  16. 16
    MomSense says:

    @JPL:

    I think it was in part about Obama but I do think they are of the punish the poors mentality. My governor actually vetoed a bill that would have made Narcan readily available to first responders but his response was basically that even if you save them they will only use again. In other words better to just let them die.

  17. 17
    sheila in nc says:

    You’ve totally got that right and it’s a key insight that people who disapprove of safety net programs don’t get. It’s not that we are trying to subsidize people who will never “shape up” (at least for most recipients). It’s that the arc of someone’s life includes both heights and dips. This refers both to jobs/income and to health status. If society is there to help with the dips, how is that bad?

  18. 18

    @Another Scott: I have a hard time seeing Cassidy 2015 getting out of the House unless Pelusi supplies more than half the votes (which may be worthwhile for tactical reasons) but having a viable cooperative bill in the Senate that is going nowhere could be extremely useful.

    Strategic co-opposition is the phrase I’ve seen a couple of times… agree on some goals (make education better, make healthcare better/cheaper, make whatever better) authorize trusted negotiators to talk to Republicans and expect 95% of the time for the trusted negotiators to walk away as no deal could be made. Basically a Gang of 6 ACA strategy but with the Dems in place of Snowe, Grassley, Enzi authorized to say yes if the deal is actually good enough.

  19. 19

    @PST: 1992 me would have been a Tsongas primary voter as his house gave out full size candy bars for Halloween and that is a major selling point for a not quite teenager

  20. 20

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: I’m on the edge of X and Millenial and my life pathway has basically emerged the same way — get out of college and grad school for public policy in the early Oughts recession as the cities and states cut back massively no jobs except FIRE. Get to the point where I actually have experience and value add beyond my degree and 2008-2010 the economy falls through the floor…

    I see people a few year younger than me never really have that yo-yo of expectations.

  21. 21
    ThresherK (tablet) says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: I like the term. I’m also near Obama’s age and I am technically a.boomer, but c’mon, that’s not the real category for my age.

    Spousal ThresherK is an actual boomer and was a fledgling hippie chick. She was the sweet spot agewise for The Monkees.

  22. 22
    Another Scott says:

    @Richard Mayhew: Normally, I would agree with that, and that’s what Obama tried to do in many negotiations with Boehner and McConnell early on. Be “reasonable” and show that you respect the other side even when you vehemently disagree with their positions.

    But the GOP has gone farther and farther right. They spin anything to their advantage with their primary voters.

    If even one Democrat votes for repealing Obamacare or votes for some “replacement”, it’s going to be spun by the GOP and the press as a “bi-partisan” action and thus and forever more “both sides voted to repeal Obama’s signature achievement…”. People who don’t pay attention to the details of politics will continue to figure that “they’re both the same, might as well vote for the guy who will cut my taxes*…” It’s a huge own-goal to do something like that.

    Schumer and Pelosi are smart cookies and they know the GOP’s MO. They know how to count votes. They know what they’re doing, and if they figure a way to win the war is to allow, say, Manchin to vote to repeal and “replace”, well, OK – maybe losing that battle might make sense. But I do hope they are thinking clearly about this stuff. It’s deadly serious because we must do our absolute best to win in 2018 so that we can start to roll back Donnie’s destruction in 2019.

    We’ll see.

    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Scott.
    * – not applicable to 99% of federal taxpayers.

  23. 23
    Calouste says:

    Both 1992 and 2009 were after at least 8 years of Republican President. Today is after 8 years of a Democratic President. Coincidence? I think not.

  24. 24
    Seanly says:

    My circumstances bounced around a bit too. The 80’s were rough on my mom, but she kept a roof over our heads and food on the table. She could’ve gone hospital executive but wanted to finish her English PhD. She just really wanted to be a professor and made that happen in the late 80’s around the same time I graduated high school. I was lucky to get into a good university with financial assistance and what is now a small amount of loans.
    My circumstances have steadily improved though I’ve had a couple of slides down. My wife has fought cancer twice and still suffers the effects of the bone marrow transplant. I lost my job in 2011, but we ended up in a city we love. Just this morning I got down a little when I saw that an old grad school buddy is the lead of transportation at a mid-size firm while I am a schlub lost in a large corporation. But I’ve got a job and make decent bank while my wife is back to working part time and still can get SSDI. While I would likely benefit from an extra trillion in infrastructure spending* for the next 10 years, I fear for the direction of the country. Like Richard, I welcome policies that would benefit younger me, but I doubt this administration will carry those out.
    * PS – I don’t think Trump will get even this. Transportation in only a few states could make this happen. You can’t have toll sewers, dams, schools, or airports so I don’t think the trillion dollar P3 will work if the conservatives in control even allow it.

  25. 25
    joel hanes says:

    My ghod you’re young.

    I remember Eisenhower and Kruschev; I got drafted in 1972.
    In 1992, when you were a kid, I’d been out of the Army for over sixteen years.

  26. 26
    Spider-Dan says:

    @Another Scott: I mentioned this in another thread: what is the long-term endgame? Serious question.

    Unless we can build the ever-elusive Permanent Democratic Majority, is it really better governance for the Dems to sit on their hands, let the ACA be completely repealed as we return to an even-worse-version of 2008’s healthcare system, then ride into office and pass a (better?) replacement… only to have that replacement plan demagogued again, and have every Republican committed to repealing it as their first point of order at whatever point in the future they get power again? At a certain point, half a loaf really is better than none; even a crappy GOP version of healthcare reform would still save millions of lives.

    After 2000 and 2016, the idea of sacrificing short-term for the greater long-term good is questionable. Even if everything works according to plan, Dems vote No on everything, and get a clean sweep into office in 2020… can you really tell me that in 2028 we won’t be sitting here arguing about how we can’t choose the lesser of two evils again, or how Dems and GOP are really no different because wars still exist?

  27. 27
    I'll be Frank says:

    It’s the end of the fight against communism. We’re done exporting good manufacturing jobs as a communist fighting tool, and we’re done spending money on all the niceties associated with kinder, gentler capitalism. What alternative do you have? It starts with N and ends with one.

  28. 28
    artem1s says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:

    Every milestone emergence in my life has been into a shit economic circumstance.

    right there with you. out of graduate school in 1986. made my first career re-location in 1989 because there were so few job sectors in the place I was living. the problem was lack of diversity, not just the lack of jobs. It was clear to me that if one vital industry went under, the entire middle class in that region was going with it. After the 80s, I was done with believing anything the R’s said about security or policy once they sold arms to Iraq, backed murderers in El Salvador, and funded a new generation of serial killers in the School of the Americas. I had yet to understand the depth of their corruption and depravity and didn’t know about the southern strategy yet, but when the GOP sent Buchanan out to destroy the last vestiges of Ross Perot’s party, it became clear they weren’t at all interested in working on behalf of their constituents, just destroying threats to their own power base. I had fallen for the Reagan line in my 20s, but everything about his administration and the way that the Bush crime family leveraged him as a puppet convinced me to never trust them again. And the fools that continued to depend on their con became people I really didn’t want to be around. The fundamentalists seriously creeped me out, and I was pretty religious at that time.

    Come 1992 there were multiple programs in my new urban environment to aid lower and middle class job seekers and home buyers. The Clinton years sealed the deal for me in how I began to think about economic development and the value of investing in infrastructure and home ownership. I bought my home with a low interest, low down payment program and got low cost funding for rehab. I felt like I was contributing to reviving a neighborhood that had been blighted by white flight. It felt good. I started to look at the work I was doing and decided I wanted to work in a more socially responsible sector. By 2000 I was in full career change mode. The economy was still doing OK. I was infuriated about W’s theft of the election but felt that it probably wouldn’t last any longer than his father’s administration and there wouldn’t be too much damage. 9/11 changed everything. The economic crash that fall never went away for a lot of the country. By 2004/05 the businesses and jobs created in the 90s boom were being eliminated faster than I’d ever seen. It made the 80s depression look like child’s play. Consumer confidence was rock bottom. The only thing saving most people were the low interest rates on their mortgages, and then that all started to unwind. I was a prime target, great credit, equity in my rehabbed house, and plenty of companies offering me massive ARMs daily. I was lucky. I didn’t get involved in any of the adjustable rate scams. I borrowed during that time but only low fixed interest loans. When I got laid off in 2005, it took me 18 months to get back into a full time job. I figure I lost about 5-6 years recovering from that but the only reason I was able to recover at all was because I hadn’t risked my house. I was able to take advantage of the Fed lowering rates because I still had my home. I can see why some people thought the housing boom was a great thing and why they thought that W’s administration was good for them. And I can understand why they buy into the lie that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was responsible for the bubble bursting. I know it’s trash because I started to see through the GOP misdirection decades ago.

    1980s me wouldn’t have been helped one wit by free tuition. It was the other costs of college that nearly did me in. I paid off my first set of student loans in the 90s but it will take the rest of my life to pay off the second set. I moved to someplace with better job opportunities because I needed a living wage. I have never seen jobs created by any Republican administration (except job in the killing sector; war, police states, and prisons), so I know this one isn’t going to be any better.

    1990s me benefited greatly by block grant funding targeted toward low and moderate income earners. Home ownership supplemented my income and made it easier and cheaper to get credit. Also, local infrastructure investment made my area a much better place to live. Retraining helped me double, then triple my earning power. There were definite policy problems that needed to be adjusted from the Clinton era, but they were solid building blocks to start with.

    the 00’s were a time to hunker down and cover up. I expect that is what most people will be doing now. I expect consumer confidence to bottom out. and people are going to be looking back to what they did in the 00s to protect themselves. I am going to be paying down debt as fast as humanly possible and doing everything in my power to lower basic living costs and monthly bills. This isn’t going to be good for the GDP and I don’t see anything in the GOP’s bag of tricks that will help that most people will be acting the same way. I was looking forward to retirement within 5 years. Now I know that won’t happen. Now I know it may never happen. There might be some small fortunate gains during these first few years of Twitlers reign. But experience has taught me that the GOP only understands how to run shell games. Their whole economic theology is based on mortgaging assets to the hilt, stealing everything that isn’t nailed down, burn the rest for insurance, and then run off with the short term profits and leave the ash heap to spoil. They will build nothing that lasts or makes a lasting impact. if I get out of this alive, I hope to remember the most rewarding careers and lives will be in rebuilding what they destroy. Not fighting over the scraps they leave. I won’t get to retire the way I was planning but there are worse things I could be doing with the rest of my life, I guess.

  29. 29
    artem1s says:

    @Richard Mayhew:

    Basically a Gang of 6 ACA strategy but with the Dems in place of Snowe, Grassley, Enzi authorized to say yes if the deal is actually good enough.

    that’s pretty smart actually. if they live tweet everything that happens while the GOP lawmakers are trying to ratfuck any deals, and get under Twiter’s skin while doing it, even better.

  30. 30
    bemused senior says:

    @cmorenc: This. My husband got laid off in October in the transition of CEOs at “biggest network equipment company”. Lots of political jockeying as to which SVP got the bigger piece of the new pie, so the branch containing the start-up he had worked for that was acquired a couple of years earlier was sliced off when its SVP was offed. He is a really great engineer and system architect but he is 62. He was able to find another gig three months later, after tickling all his contacts and having several discouraging interviews structured for new college grads. We would have been ok-ish even without a new job for him, except we are semi-supporting our daughter and family who recently had twins. She has a reasonable job, but her husband is underemployed, and Silicon Valley is impossibly expensive. BTW the ACA doesn’t subsidize their insurance because her job allows her to cover her family (at great expense). So yes, you have to make conservative economic choices if you have people depending on you, and they aren’t always what most appeals to you. I want our country to make policy choices that don’t force families to hunker down.

  31. 31
    Kelly says:

    My dear departed father ran heavy equipment for logging and road construction. He could push a perfect grade without a transit let alone all this modern GPS stuff. Boom and bust. Boom and we’d get a newer used car. Bust and I was washing parts while he fixed what we had. I went to a state university in the 70’s. Tution was low in those days the state paid much much more of the university’s budget. Between Pell grants and low tuition I could work overtime all summer and pay as I went. Thanks to the generosity of my society I graduated with a CS degree debt free when the job market for techies was insatiable.

    My first wife died of cancer after 5.5 years of treatments. We had excellent coverage from the gigantic
    tech corporation. I really don’t know what it cost. We’d see 6 figure bills sail by and we’d make $25 copays. Probably around $750k in the end. All the retirement savings and all the kids college savings for a prosperous family wouldn’t have covered it. We got to know some of our oncologist’s other patients. Many would come in for chemo AND GO BACK TO WORK that same day. Got keep that job and coverage. The doc had staff scrounging money for poor patients and treating some for free. He’s a skillful and kindly man.

    My wife and I retired in our 50’s. As long as there’s an individual market with some form of guaranteed issue we’ll be OK. Unless they break Medicare and Social Security.

    I didn’t get here on my own.

  32. 32
    gVOR08 says:

    I got laid off following an acquisition and downsize in 2000. Did some odd jobs and then got into a small co that appreciated my abilities and a long term project with military funding exempt from sequester. Carried me through to retirement last year. A lot of my friends and acquaintances got laid off around 2008 – 09 and got hurt. Just the luck of timing. There but for the grace of luck is a good way to look at the world. You’re a good man Richard Mahew.

  33. 33
    Another Scott says:

    @Spider-Dan: I’m an optimist about the long-term future. I just hope to live to see it. ;-)

    My underlying premise is that the GOP will do what they want. They’re the majority in the House and Senate and they have the power to change the government. The PPACA, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and all the rest are in their hands. They control the rules of debate, they control what comes up for consideration and what gets sent to die in committee.

    Given all that, the question becomes: how can the Democratic Party regain the majorities to reverse those changes and restore the pre-Trump order? And how can it do it as quickly as possible?

    I do not think impeachment is something to count on, and even if it did somehow happen, it wouldn’t change what Pence and the Teabaggers want to do. They want to roll-back 70+ years of progress and they’re going to use every underhanded trick to do it while they have the majorities.

    Yes, having -20+M + 5M people is better than -20+ M + 0M people without access to health care.

    But how would Democrats campaign on that in 2018?

    “Vote Democratic! Not quite as evil as Trump and his minions!”

    I don’t think so.

    The GOP is taking actions that will put millions at needless risk of death, disfigurement, illness, sterility, shortened lifespan, and more. And that’s just in their healthcare proposals. Democrats need to be united and stand up and say:

    “No, we will not go along with this. Our parents and grandparents didn’t create these programs – these program that the people have paid for for decades – only to let some right-wing ideologues destroy so that they can give trillions of dollars to their rich friends. We won’t stand for it.”

    The long-term end game for me is to win elections to implement sensible policies. Sensible policies like non-partisan redistricting. Sensible policies like taking “equal justice under law” as meaning what it says – so that everyone has equal ability to vote, equal ability to be considered for government programs (student aid, small business loans, housing loans, etc.), equal treatment by law enforcement and government agents and government agencies.

    If there were sensible non-partisan redistricting at the state and federal level, then things like we’ve seen in NC over the last few years wouldn’t have happened. Virginia would have expanded Medicaid. And DeVos and her colleagues wouldn’t have been able to buy her state government and destroy Michigan’s public schools, nor poison the people of Flint.

    We’re not doomed to yo-yo government cycles. Those cycles are the result of intentional policy choices and those policies can (and must) be changed.

    Will everything be sweetness and light in January 2021? Maybe not. But I’m going to do what I can so that we make progress. And I think an important part of that is making noise (and supporting groups) that convince my representatives that the GOP alone must own their destructive policies, given the mass media environment we have, the abundance of propaganda, etc. (mentioned earlier).

    Am I wrong? Maybe. I welcome contrary arguments.

    My $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  34. 34
    Spider-Dan says:

    I suppose the counterargument would be that the GOP is unlikely to rollback (or, more precisely, campaign on rolling back) healthcare reforms that they themselves pass. So if the choice is to yo-yo from +20M to 0, or to get a relatively-permanent +5M and then try to do better when the Dems take office anyway (because the GOP will still fail for reasons unrelated to healthcare), do we prioritize policy or politics?

    That’s not a rhetorical question. I honestly don’t have an answer, and the lack of a solution makes me feel very fatalistic; it’s hard to work for a goal when you can’t even figure out what the goal is.

    I would be 100% on board with the “make them own it” strategy if I wasn’t convinced that the left will point the cannons at the decks the moment we get back in power.

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