Sherpas for forensic accountants

The Cohen information sure as hell seemed like it was screaming systemic tax and accounting fraud in the Trump Organization given how he was reimbursed.

And now the Trump Organization CFO has immunity. I bet his future job will be to sherpa forensic accountants hired by both the Federal government and the State of New York through the Trump Organization’s books. But I am neither a lawyer nor an accountant…

Open thread.



Distribution, net health expenditures and single payer

This week there were two very different groups that evaluated two different single payer proposals.

The Mercatus Center, a liberterian group, evaluated Senator Sanders (I-VT) Medicare for all proposal.

The Rand Corporation evaluated the New York Health Act.

Both proposals made some strong assumptions on provider pricing and implementation challenges but I think both groups made reasonable estimates of a good case scenario for advocates. And both groups came in with roughly the same type of conclusions:

  1. Total health expenditures would go down slightly (~2%) at the end of the implementation period
  2. Government health expenditures would go up a lot
  3. Everyone would get covered
  4. Significant distribution of costs and benefits are not uniform in the population.

This last point is key.  Single payer produces winners and losers.

The tweet above is the distribution of average winners and losers of moving to single payer in New York. This only looks at changes in taxes, premiums and cost sharing. On average, people who are in the bottom 90% of the income distribution are better off with single payer.  People in the top 10% of the distribution are worse off.  I think this graph understates the change as doctors are a disproprortionately likely to be members of the top 10% so they’ll get hit coming and going.

People who have something to lose will scream a whole lot more than people who are promised future yet to be delivered benefits/improvements.

Mechanically designing a single payer system is fairly straightforward in the American context.  Levers can be twisted, knobs turned, incentives tweaked, budgets adjusted.  Different people with different values will move those interacting variables in different manners, but a clear logic model to implement a version of single payer can emerge.

The challenge with single payer systems in the United States is the political problem. It is the problem of managing both change-aversion and juggling the trade-offs that produce happy but not motivated winners and extremely loud and angry losers who were well positioned in the status quo and are losing their advantages.

That is the challenge, not the mechanics per se.



An Op-Ed About Some Other Workers In The Heartland

Sarah Smarsh gives us the other side that the news media have ignored.

Most struggling whites I know here live a life of quiet desperation, mad at their white bosses, not resentful toward their co-workers or neighbors of color.

It turns out that a great many working class whites are not the bigots and Trump-lovers that the MSM has portayed. There are large groups of people who think differently, but somehow they just didn’t show up when a New York Times or Washington Post reporter parachuted into Clover Corners, Ohio.

The trouble begins with language: Elite pundits regularly misuse “working class” as shorthand for right-wing white guys wearing tool belts. My father, a white man and lifelong construction worker who labors alongside immigrants and people of color on job sites across the Midwest and South working for a Kansas-based general contractor owned by a woman, would never make such an error.

And, whocoodanode –

Like many Midwestern workers I know, my dad has more in common ideologically with New York’s Democratic Socialist congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez than with the white Republicans who run our state. Having spent most of his life doing dangerous, underpaid work without health insurance, he supports the ideas of single-payer health care and a universal basic income.

She lists news stories that have gone undercovered in the race to find the Trumpiest heartland voters – like barriers to voting. Seems strange that reporters so devoted to getting both sides of a story never found this one.

Read the whole thing.  Good to keep in mind in place of today’s sexytime news dump.

And open thread!



Not the least that can be done

The Senate has had a busy day.

First, Senators Scott (R-SC) and Rubio (R-FL) temporarily allied with a unified Democratic caucus to assemble a minimum blocking coalition to a nominee for a lifetime appointment on the 9th Circuit Court:

And then a bit later in the afternoon, the entire Senate told the White House to get a clue that it was being trolled by Putin:

So the Senate as a body and individual Senators in a closely divided body found ways to assert their institutional and personal prerogatives.

Baby Steps

Open thread



Repub Venality Open Thread: Crossing Jordan, A River of Accusations

I believe the Dispatch is Jordan’s ‘hometown’ paper, where his voters live…

… “To date, Rep. Jordan has not responded to those requests, but we understand from public statements issued on his behalf today that Rep. Jordan is willing to talk to the investigative team,” Trafford said.

Jordan, who has represented a swath of west-central Ohio since 2007, is considered one of the more-powerful conservatives in Congress and is widely credited as being a driver in former House Speaker John Boehner’s resignation. Earlier this year, Jordan said he was considering running for House speaker if Republicans keep control of the chamber in November.

Doug Andres, a spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, called the allegations “serious.”

“The university has rightfully initiated a full investigation into the matter,” Andres said. “The speaker will await the findings of that inquiry.”

Jordan has said as far back as April that he did not know anything about allegations against Dr. Richard Strauss, who died in 2005…

All together now: “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover up… “


 
Repub leadership changing its ‘relationship’ status on Facebook to “It’s complicated!”


Read more



And Now For Something Completely and Totally Predictable

Like I said yesterday, pinning your hopes for saving on the people who have wanted this for decades is pointless. Burn it all fucking down.

Speaking of, this fucking cocktease:

A MONSTER asteroid as big as New South Wales is cannoning past Earth so close it can be seen by the naked eye.

But don’t worry. It won’t bite.

NASA has calculated the space rock’s orbit carefully.

Bring it, motherfucker.



Russiagate Open Thread: Trump & His Fellow Repubs to the Finland Station

I suppose it could be a kompromat issue for these six, too, but IMO it’s more likely they’ve just decided Putin is the one with the power and they’re irresistably drawn to power…

… “Russia has decided to meddle in other countries’ elections, including ours. Russia has invaded Ukraine, taken Crimea, it’s prolonging the war in Syria. And I’d prefer to be a friend of Russia and that’s one of the things we’re going to talk about. I would like to respectfully ask the Russians to stay in their own lane,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., one of the senators who will be on the trip.

“It’s useful for the Russians to know that we are of the belief, evidence is clear, that they intruded in our elections and it will be something I hope that members of Congress convey,” added Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, also noting that senators had planned their trip before the Trump/Putin summit, to be held in Helsinki on July 16, was announced.

The meeting was organized by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who told ABC Thursday that they are hoping to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, but that the meetings were not yet confirmed. Other attendees include Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., John Hoeven, R-N.D. and John Thune, R-S.D…