Friday Open Thread [2.7.14]

Filed in National, Open Thread by on February 7, 2014

Thanks to Cassandra for picking up the slack on the Open Thread front the last two days. First, on Wednesday I had no power, and then yesterday, I was in Court all morning.

The American Nazi Party had more than 4,000 followers on Twitter, and at least two of were influential conservative and Republican organizations (I don’t call them ‘think tanks’ because thinking is the last thing that occurs there): The Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Yesterday, after being discovered, they quickly unfollowed the Nazis and apologized. But, why where they following the Nazis in the first place? Trying to find new ideas?

That was not an earthquake downstate yesterday, Sussex Countians. Many took to Facebook and Twitter after feeling a similar jolt to the Great East Coast Earthquake of 2011. But according to geologists, it was not an earthquake. So we are left to speculate. Chris Christie sunbathing in Cape May? Mothra emerging from his eternal sleep to challenge Godzilla? A secret launch or explosion at Wallop?

Paul Krugman who dissects the latest GOP lie about the ACA, that it will force some 2 million workers to lose their jobs:

Not a word of this claim was true. The budget office report (CBO) didn’t say that people will lose their jobs. It declared explicitly that the predicted fall in hours worked will come “almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor” (emphasis added). And as we’ve already seen, Mr. Elmendorf did his best the next day to explain that voluntary reductions in work hours are nothing like involuntary job loss. Oh, and because labor supply will be reduced, wages will go up, not down.

We should add that the budget office believes that health reform will actually reduce unemployment over the next few years. [...] Remember, the campaign against health reform has, at every stage, grabbed hold of any and every argument it could find against insuring the uninsured, with truth and logic never entering into the matter.

Think about it. We had the nonexistent death panels. We had false claims that the Affordable Care Act will cause the deficit to balloon. We had supposed horror stories about ordinary Americans facing huge rate increases, stories that collapsed under scrutiny. And now we have a fairly innocuous technical estimate misrepresented as a tale of massive economic damage.

Meanwhile, the reality is that American health reform — flawed and incomplete though it is — is making steady progress. No, millions of Americans won’t lose their jobs, but tens of millions will gain the security of knowing that they can get and afford the health care they need.

Indeed. If you encounter a local Republican repeating this lie, punch them directly in the face and then call them a liar.

More on this from Ned Resnikoff:

All the CBO report shows is that health care reform will allow some people to work fewer hours and continue to receive coverage. If those workers find their jobs to be rewarding, then of course they have the option of staying on the job. But some of them may have a different kind of work that they would rather do instead: Taking care of their own children, for example, or trying to start up a new business. Maybe some of them would like more time to volunteer in the local community, go back to school, or pick up an instrument.

Anyone who has attempted any of the above activities can testify to the fact that they are all a kind of work. They just don’t happen to be minimum wage labor, the type of work which Obamacare most directly disicentivizes. According to the CBO, “the largest declines in labor supply will probably occur among lower-wage workers.”

When Cooke, Ryan and others bemoan the work-killing properties of Obamacare, they’re really saying that low-wage workers should be compelled to stay in these jobs or risk losing basic health coverage. That’s how important it is to keep people behind the counter at McDonald’s, even if it means those same people have less time to spend rearing their children or engaging in other forms of personally enriching, socially beneficial work.

POLLING:

KENTUCKY–US SENATE–Herald-Leader/WKYT Bluegrass Poll: Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) 46, Mitch McConnell (R) 42

McConnell’s approval rating is an abysmal 32% to 60%. In the GOP primary, McConnell leads businessman Matt Bevin (R) 55% to 29%.

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  1. cassandra_m says:

    John Cassidy from the New Yorker has a great article talking about the CBO report that no one is paying attention to — that there are 6 MILLION jobs and workers are missing from the economy.

    Since 2008, the Republicans have been fighting policy efforts to stimulate spending and hiring. In part, they are responsible for the millions of missing workers. For obvious reasons, they prefer to concentrate on the implications of Obamacare, which are, indeed, worth thinking about. As we know, the historic reform is based on imposing universal mandates and distributing generous subsidies to low-to-middle-income households. Politics aside, it’s to be expected that enacting such a policy would have significant effects on work patterns.

    Hello? Democrats? THIS is a pretty serious issue and the GOP should be bludgeoned over this. Repeatedly since they standing in the way of any real boost to the economy. Hell, we actually have a Congressman and a Senator running for re-election here and what do you want to bet that this is NOT a big part of their campaigns?

  2. cassandra_m says:

    Questions on how the data generated by your car gets used. This AAA executive points out the dangers, as well as some common sense solutions:

    A recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on automobile telematics systems found that location-based data are being collected, stored, and shared. It also questioned whether consumers were aware of or in agreement with all the purposes for which their data were being used. This is similar to companies that sell their mailing lists or Internet companies that track the online activity of visitors. The GAO also noted that location data can be used to infer other sensitive information about individuals, such as their religious affiliation or political activities.

  3. puck says:

    On car data: If the car is sexy enough nobody will care about data. Cars are status symbols, just like iPhones. People like them and show them off, so they overlook the privacy implications.

    Car and phone owners don’t need more control on how their data is used. If the data is collected, it is a foregone conclusion that it will be mis-used. What they need is a law that allows them to control what data is collected in the first place.

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