Thursday, November 2, 2017

Trump's Big CON: He is the Jealous President

UPDATE:  "President Trump hasn't been able to repeal Obamacare, so he might be trying to destroy it instead. He can't seem to decide.

This would be even more spiteful than it sounds. That's because, in the short run, Trump's latest move would actually make the government spend more money to cover fewer people, not to mention everyone else he's done to sabotage individual insurance markets. The point of it all, as Trump can't help but explain 140 characters at a time like some attention-deficit Bond villain, is to force the Democrats to “call me to fix” the health-care system — and, as part of the deal, to get them to pay for the border wall that Mexico won't cover.

Yes, that really might be the plan. Trump is telling us that he's shooting the hostages he's taken — the health-care system — and hoping that people will blame Democrats for it.

Now, the Trump administration is actually taking a three-pronged approach to undermining Obamacare. The first is drastically cutting back on the government's outreach efforts. . .

The second is letting people once again buy bare-bones coverage that doesn't meet Obamacare's minimum standards. The problem with that is that only healthy people would buy those plans, which would eventually mean that those would be the only plans healthy people would buy. Why is that? Well, there would be what's known as a death spiral . . .

The third is pulling the plug on Obamacare's cost-sharing reduction payments, or CSRs."

Read the Washington Post, Trump can’t decide if he wants to sabotage Obamacare.

As noted before, "Legendary House Speaker Sam Rayburn once said, 'Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.' Simply put, Trump is about as far from being a good carpenter as one can be in the world of politics."

The Donald is not very intelligent, he has no "ideological principles . . . [or] consistent beliefs", and  "is pushed in different directions by competing impulses, any one of which may dominate at a particular moment. It has become clear that there may be no desire that governs his actions more than his need to destroy and discredit everything Barack Obama did. We can debate why this is; my view is that Trump, who is obviously a deeply insecure man, looks at Obama and sees someone who is his superior in almost every way — smarter, more competent, more admired and respected — and is enraged by the inevitable comparisons. But the fact that Trump is driven to undo anything with Obama’s name on it is undeniable.

That goes a long way toward explaining why Trump is so eager to destroy the individual insurance market, at the cost of enormous anxiety and suffering among the public, when his advisers have surely explained to him that he will be held responsible for whatever happens to American health care on his watch. No matter how much it costs him politically, he wants to be able to say that Obamacare is dead, he killed it, and it was a terrible thing in the first place.

However, at the same time Trump is desperate to show that he can make a deal. The failure of the GOP effort to repeal the ACA plainly weighs on him. Despite his belief that he is the greatest dealmaker in human history, you may have noticed that he has negotiated precisely zero deals of any magnitude since becoming president. The Republican Congress has passed no major legislation this year. Trump’s increasingly desperate and comical insistence that he is piling up an awe-inspiring record of accomplishment — 'in nine months, we have done more, they say, than any president in history,' he said today — only highlights his eagerness to have something he can say he actually got done."

Read the Washington Post, Does Trump want to destroy our health-care system? He can’t seem to decide.

Trump's Big CON: He Won't Be Draining the Swamp, Quite the CONtrary (CONt., Part 5)

Two employees and a $300 million no-bid contract, it helps to have friends in Washington.

Read the Washington Post, Small Montana firm lands Puerto Rico’s biggest contract to get the power back on, which notes:

"Whitefish Energy is based in Whitefish, Mont., the home town of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. . .

The scale of the disaster in Puerto Rico is far larger than anything Whitefish has handled. The company has won two contracts from the Energy Department, including $172,000 to replace a metal pole structure and splice in three miles of new conductor and overhead ground wire in Arizona.

Shortly before Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, Whitefish landed its largest federal contract, a $1.3 million deal to replace and upgrade parts of a 4.8-mile transmission line in Arizona. The company — which was listed in procurement documents as having annual revenue of $1 million — was given 11 months to complete the work, records show.

Puerto Rico has 2,400 miles of transmission lines across the island, and 30,000 miles of distribution lines with 300 substations. Jeff Hawk, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ power restoration task force, estimated that 80 percent of the grid has been damaged. A month after the storm, about 80 percent of customers remain without power. . .

Under the contract, the hourly rate was set at $330 for a site supervisor, and at $227.88 for a 'journeyman lineman.' The cost for subcontractors, which make up the bulk of Whitefish’s workforce, is $462 per hour for a supervisor and $319.04 for a lineman. Whitefish also charges nightly accommodation fees of $332 per worker and almost $80 per day for food."