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August 02, 2022

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Hi wj, The reason I used "self-identified conservatives" is because "preference for small changes" doesn't describe very many American self-identified conservatives that I know about. I'll accept your word that it describes you!
HOwever, the preference for small changes doesn't seem to me to be the philosophical idea that units CPAC, evangelicals, Romney, McConnell, Goldwater, the writers for the National Review, Trump voters and others who self-identify as conservatives. The unifying idea that joins all those people is that government is supposed to supply them with services, and not supposed to do anything for anyone else, plus a desire to get their own taxes cut so that their goodies are paid for by someone else. They rationalize this selfishness by marginalizing everyone else. THus, Republicans in congress who have federally funded health insurance but opposed Obamacare, even though Obamacare was a small change that Romney promoted to avoid a big jump to single payer.

Or take, for example, eastern Washington state where nearly every job is wholly funded or subsidized by funded by federal or state taxes and many are based on access to socialist big government programs. In addition, there's Medicare, Medicaid, and SOcial Security. Yet every year the self-identified conservatives elect candidates who call themselves conservatives and run for office as opposed to socialism and big government programs, while claiming to be the real true Americans and while repeating whatever have message the Republicans have decided on: CRT! TRANS KIDS! Teachers are grooming kids to be gay and teaching white kids to hate white kids! Election officials are cheating! Climate change is a communist plot to attack capitalism! We are pro-life and Democrats murder babies! And those self-identified conservative politicians never have any solutions to any real problems, by big changes or by little ones.

I think it is giving those people too much credit to say they prefer slow change. I think the "conservative" politicians are mostly pro-oligarchy and the "conservative" base voters are people who have a profound disrespect, bordering on hatred, for the rest of America--while demanding that the rest of us fund their economy. The unifying theme is, when it comes to participation in political life, selfishness.

NO one is going to scream louder or faster for government assistance than an eastern Washington wheat farmer or rancher when their crop burns or their cows die of heat stroke from climate change. But until that happens, until climate change is THEIR problem, they will continue to deny that it is a problem at all and will continue to oppose any government programs intended to address the effects on other people.

CPAC, evangelicals, Romney, McConnell, Goldwater, the writers for the National Review, Trump voters and others who self-identify as conservatives.

I'd say that Romney and (my distant memories of) Goldwater might qualify under my definition. The others, no way. I'd split them into those who are, as you describe, in it for everything they can milk from the system, and those who simply want to control things, and force evertbody else to go aling. For the second group (McConnell, evangelicals, CPAC), the money may be nice, but is essentially incidental to gaining power over others.

I think the "conservative" politicians are mostly pro-oligarchy and the "conservative" base voters are people who have a profound disrespect, bordering on hatred, for the rest of America--while demanding that the rest of us fund their economy.

Pretty much. But saying a conman is a conservative, just because that's the label he uses to scam the marks? Not seeing it.

As for the marks, I'd say it's simple ignorance (arguably fostered by the aforementioned conmen) that gets them to say "conservative." They are the ones who want to go back to some (imagined) past paradise. I.e. reactionaries, whether they are aware of the label or not. As for their hatred of America, it's for America as it is vs how they imagine it was. It's part of why the conmen want to control education -- lest the mirage of the past get replaced by reality.

until climate change is THEIR problem, they will continue to deny that it is a problem at all and will continue to oppose any government programs intended to address the effects on other people.

Denial is strong in them. But the recurring wild fires here are starting to break thru.

nice work wonkie

I've been saving this twitter thread to use in a post, because it says most of what I want to say more clearly than I could. But I might as well put it here -- I can re-use it if I get time to write the post (which is intended to be about lush islands and the leftiest lefties in leftytown).

Maybe one of these days.

PS for wj -- you can clarify what you think the word means all you want, but what's important is the reality of what's going on in this country (and all over the world). There is no place for wj-style conservatives in the R party these days. This is the R party these days. Abolishing Roe and then keeping on going is the R party these days.

But I need not elaborate. We all know the list all too well.

For the record, I hadn't seen wj's 7:13 when i posted my 7:17. As a champion nitpicker-about-words, I can sympathize with the frustration over how these words are used. But I don't think that's what's important about what wonkie is (and I am) saying.

From Janie's twitter link:

Here is the Republican message on everything of importance:
1. They can tell people what to do.
2. You cannot tell them what to do.
In other words, libertarian at home, autocratic elsewhere.

There is no place for wj-style conservatives in the R party these days.

Certainly not at the top. Either Federal or state elected office. Locally things are a bit better. But only a bit.

Increasingly, I find myself without a political home. The GOP is no longer a viable option. But what is a conservative Democrat? Manchin? Give me a break. I'm glad he's nominally a Democrat, because it has kept McConnell out of power. But really, he (and Sinema) are as pro-oligarchy as any Republican Senator. So, not seeing a place for me there either.

I sympathise with wj's protestations that 'conservative' should mean 'conservative'. It reminds me of the time I spend attempting to explain that 'socialism' means 'socialism', whatever false claims the USSR or the Nazis might have made.

Increasingly, I find myself without a political home.

You think that doesn't apply to a lot of the rest of us? As long as we have a two-party system, a lot of people are not going to have a political home. You can be an independent, after all. Headline from Gallup last year: Independents are Still the Largest Political Group in the U.S.

Or basically you could just vote for sane people for the time being, and maybe someday there will be a party that will suit you again (Eisenhower redux?).

And when you say "increasingly," my mind is a little bit boggled. The R party has been totally off the rails since 2016, but it wasn't a sudden fall off a cliff.

And by sane people for national office I mean people who won't put Rs in the Speaker or Majority Leader role.

Here is the Republican message on everything of importance:
1. They can tell people what to do.
2. You cannot tell them what to do.

Basically, a less elegantly-phrased Wilhoit's Law.*

I think small "c" conservatives as defined in wj's 4:11 make up a significantly large part of the electorate. The "if it ain't broke don't fix it, and if you gotta fix it, do it incrementally" crowd. But I also think that many of the small "c"s tend to wear it as something of an identity to the extent that - perhaps not as challenging with the new paper ballots - I suspect having to physically pull a lever for a (D) on the old voting machines would elicit a visceral (there's that word again) reaction.

It's why the Affordable Care Act is good but the socialist-agenda Obamacare is an abomination. So the generally-reasonable small-c conservative electorate votes for the big-C Conservative leadership who are actually Primary-distilled-Crazytown Republicans because "Anyone's better than a Democrat". And so we're at where we're at.

Drives me nuts when I hear (always with pride), "My family has always been [Party]!" And I'm like, "Great. But what do you think about it?"

*Anyway, here's a recent interview with the author about his original piece on CrookedTimber.

You can be an independent, after all.

You can. But there's a significant downside.

The parties (both of them) insist that only those registered as party members are allowed to vote in their Presidential primaries. (Some places have other rules for everything below that level. But not for this.)

So, if you aren't registered with one of the parties, you get no say in what your choices will be come the general election. That is, you are dependent on the preferences of non-independents. Which IMHO can be very bad indeed.

See 2016 for how bad -- can you honestly say that, if independents got a say, we would have ended up with those two candidates? I'd give long odds that at least one, possibly both, would have been different. Either one being different would have given us a different President.

I'm tired, so maybe I'm not sorting this out very effectively, but it seems like you want to have your cake and eat it too, or that you keep moving the goalposts.

There is no political home for you, there is no true political home for me. Pick something. Like I said, pick the sane-people party. The R party is trying to destroy small-d democracy in this country (among other things). The D party is trying, in the face of every kind of hijinks, criminality, and lunacy in the books by the R party, to actually solve problems and govern.

Pick one. I bet you won't be immediately (or ever) cast into the abyss for that.

See 2016 for how bad -- can you honestly say that, if independents got a say, we would have ended up with those two candidates?

And honestly, so what? Six years ago. Long over and done with.

Counterfactuals -- unprovable, irrelevant, pie in the sky, deflction.

We have the system we have, 2-parties, closed primaries, electoral college, greatest deliberative body in the world (ha ha).

Two parties, one sane (not perfect; that's different, and non-existent), one so far gone you can't see it from here. Pick one.

Yeah. I can't think of the last time I had someone I thought was an ideal presidential candidate who had a chance of winning either major party primary (I started 2016 as a fan of Lessig, FFS).

I will say again, if the Ds had the slightest bit of sense, they'd look at the Latino Tío Bernie voters and find out what made a bunch of socialism sensitive, blue collar social conservatives into Sanders voters, then make that issue and language the center of their policy platform. (Hint: he's pro-labor). The rest of the big tent issues can still play a role, but they have to accommodate themselves to the pro-labor core.

May not give wj a home, but I'd bet it would attract a metric butt ton of independents if the face selling it were passionate and not pre-tarred with the "socialist" brand.

Humans have been around for 10's of thousands of years, and they have tried a wide variety of social and political arrangements (cf Graeber & Wengrow's The Dawn of Everything). Viewed from that perspective, the current worship of "free markets" and capitalism is hardly a position of embracing "small changes". Our current system is a really big and revolutionary change from the past. It is relatively new.

To me, what distinguishes "conservatism" in its recent form is the insistence on maintaining hierarchies-class, sex, race, etc., and using politics to achieve that goal. You can natter on all you want about "small changes", but what I hear is you are pretty much OK with things the way they are.

perhaps not as challenging with the new paper ballots - I suspect having to physically pull a lever for a (D) on the old voting machines would elicit a visceral (there's that word again) reaction.

It seems to me that marking a paper ballot is, if anything, more visceral. Lots more motions, and when you're done you can see that you have done something.

why the Affordable Care Act is good but the socialist-agenda Obamacare is an abomination.

Quite simple, really. a) Obama's name was on it, and he's a Democrat, whereas with ACA you can avoid remembering that. b) Similarly, Obama's name was on it, and he's black, whereas with ACA you can avoid remembering that either.

Recall how attached to Social Security and Medicare they are, carefully ignoring the detail that both were rammed thru by Democrats. Not to mention all the current Republicans (OK, not many are saying it out loud; yet) who are talking about drastically changing, maybe even repealing, both. As with banning abortion, they'll assume very carefully that it's just empty bluster for the (other) marks. Right up until it happens.

it seems like you want to have your cake and eat it too, or that you keep moving the goalposts.

There is no political home for you, there is no true political home for me. Pick something. Like I said, pick the sane-people party. The R party is trying to destroy small-d democracy in this country (among other things).

Not sure how I'm moving the goalposts. But I'm willing to be educated on that.

I could just decide to become a Democrat. After all, I haven't voted for a Republican for President in a general election since the mid-90s. On the other hand, I have the luxury of living in an open primary state. So the only place my party registration matters is the presidential nomination. Leaving the GOP to every crazier candidates by default seems like a poor idea. For all the "a single vote doesn't matter" stuff we hear occasionally, every little bit helps.

. You can natter on all you want about "small changes", but what I hear is you are pretty much OK with things the way they are.

Really? Seriously?

OK, I admit I'm nowhere near wanting everything changed. But there's obviously lots of places where things should change. Many of which I've even spoken of here. For instance:

  • The tax system needs a serious overhaul. Big increases on the rates (and fewer loopholes to exploit) for high incomes. Lots more resources for the IRS to audit those who can afford extensive accounting staff to game the system. Plus bigger penalties, both for the cheats and for the accountants -- that means both higher financial penalties and serious minimum jail time.
  • While we're at it, I'd like to see serious limits on tax-free inheritances. (Maybe a couple of million per, but something like 50%, rising to 90%, above there.) Wanna be rich? Go out and do the work yourself. Getting lucky on your parents shouldn't be the primary path to wealth.
  • I'm not sure how to tackle it, but it shouldn't be possible to use layers and layers of shell companies to obscure who the beneficial owners of stuff are. There's a place for subsidiary companies, and for trusts of various kinds. But the current situation is way out of hand.
  • The law enforcement system needs big changes. As big as (albeit different from) the ones Volmer initiated in the early 1900s. The places where the poor (and minorities) live need both more and better policing. More of the same is counterproductive, but less policing is bad for the people who live there, too.
  • Immigration law needs a lot of work. And not just to let the bright foreigners who come here for education stay and contribute to our nation. We need blue collar workers at least as much.
  • And while we're on the subject, we need to be talking a lot more about the criticality of the work done by folks without a college education. College should be readily, and affordably, available to those who want it and can benefit from it. (That's "affordable" as in you can cover your own tuition and living expenses by working half time, without needing big loans.) But we shouldn't be so focused on education as the only path to a good job. Apprenticeship programs should also be far more available than currently, for those inclined that way.
  • Our transportation infrastructure is suffering from years, maybe decades, of "deferred maintenance." Fixing that, and avoiding it going forward, probably means better (and less redirectable) ways of financing it.
  • It needs to be possible for people to afford to live near where they work. (Long commutes are bad for the commuters, bad for the environment, bad all around.) If you're a banker or a CEO, your mailman and your plumber shouldn't have to live more than 15 minutes away. And all your and their kids ought to be in the same school. Which means some serious changes to how we do zoning.
  • How we deal with the mentally ill needs to change. I understand the motivation which led to closing the (mostly state run) asylums. But that's been a dismal failure. Living in a homeless encampment is not an improvement.
Not close to a complete list. But (except for the changes to law enforcement) not that radical changes either. Big in their impact, I'd say, but not in how big the change itself is.

Just been mulling over what 'self-identified' in 'self-identified conservative' means. Does it mean someone who says they are conservative but aren't really? Or someone who is hypocritical about what they want? Not trying to pin the tag on anyone, but wj gets a pejorative reading from it, and it seems that it is there (given that it's coming from wonkie, who is not identifying as conservative) but I'm not sure why that's the case.

In this context one should include the deliberate non-self-identification. "I hate the Jews but I am no antisemite" (a common Austrian sentiment) or Orban's ridiculous statement at CPAC that since he is a Christian, nothing he says can ever be construed as racism (despite using explicitly racist terminology on a regular base) are extreme examples. "I am not a liberal" seems to have become a common statement in the US as a result of a longterm rightwing campaign to make it a dirty word (that now concentrates on its successor 'progressive').
Mabye we see right now something similar on the Right (just in reverse) with deliberate defiant adoption of derogatory terms for self-identification. 'deplorable' was for some time used that way, these days 'christian nationalist' seems to be on the rise. wj could find hope in the idea that sooner or later 'conservative' could become a dirty word on the Right, so the term can again be attributed to wj's crowd without the RW extremist taint attached to it.
'old' or 'classical' conservatism will probably not do since that's almost inevitably tainted with the image of 19th century reactionaries (same as 'classical liberalism' smells of laissez-faire Manchesterism).

@lj -- I'd be curious to see what wonkie has to say, but I just took "self-identified conservative" at a straightforward, practical face value.

None of these words, as Hartmut touches on in his 7:01 comment, are now used to mean anything definite as far as their content (former content?) is concerned. They've been deliberately detached from any concrete or clear meaning, to the point where they're no more useful than saying "You're an asshole" or "I love freedom."

So by "self-identified," I took Wonkie to mean simply the people who call themselves conservatives. As opposed (e.g.) to people who call themselves liberals, or progressives, or nationalists, or socialists (another word that has been deliberately ane hopelessly detached from any practical usefulness).

And also as opposed to people who are called conservatives by other people, but who don't call themselves that.

Of course, *my* analysis (and wonkie's, if I'm right about what she meant) falls apart because wj calls himself a "conservative" as well.

Which is why I keep wanting to talk about e.g. policy preferences instead of using useless corrupted labels.

But then along comes wj with a policy list. Juxtaposed with his notion that it's still important and useful to vote for less-insane Rs, his list flabbergasts me so much that I can't find anything coherent to say.

Juxtaposed with his notion that it's still important and useful to vote for less-insane Rs, his list flabbergasts me so much that I can't find anything coherent to say.

Indeed. I would support just about all of the policy proposals wj listed, but that would not make me a "conservative" in any meaningful sense. Not one of those policy prescriptions is endorsed by even an insignificant number of so-called Republicans...who, it might have missed his notice, call themselves "conservatives".

Perhaps he owes us a couple of examples of those "big sweeping changes" that simply will not allow him to call himself a "liberal" much less a "progressive".

Perhaps he owes us a couple of examples of those "big sweeping changes" that simply will not allow him to call himself a "liberal" much less a "progressive".

Seconded. Maybe not "owes", but "would be so kind as to give us".

The item from wj's list that's niggling at me the most as I try to carry out my morning agenda:

While we're at it, I'd like to see serious limits on tax-free inheritances. (Maybe a couple of million per, but something like 50%, rising to 90%, above there.) Wanna be rich? Go out and do the work yourself. Getting lucky on your parents shouldn't be the primary path to wealth.

Short of forcing everyone to say the CRT oath before football games, in the context of American politics this is one of the most anathema-to-conservatives proposals you could possibly dream up. Just one of the gazillion articles that pop up if you ask Google about Rs and the estate tax.

If I want a return to the New Deal, does that make me conservative or reactionary?

If I want a return to the New Deal, does that make me conservative or reactionary?

No. At least not in the minds of those who still want to reverse it (while keeping a deathgrip on their Social Security). :-)

More seriously, I'm not sure what you mean by "return to." Perhaps a revival of the CCC, even with today's unemployment rates??? Can't really speak to your question until I figure out what you are looking to reinstate.

Perhaps he owes us a couple of examples of those "big sweeping changes" that simply will not allow him to call himself a "liberal" much less a "progressive".

OK, I'll have a go. Feel free to tell me that I have misunderstood the progressive (or whatever we're calling you guys) policy goals in these areas.

A blanket public health service (perhaps like the one in the UK). I'm fine with tweaking Obamacare. (It needs to change, both to make the transition to those who can afford their own more gradual and to cover all states. But those are, to my mind, small changes.) But not beyond that.

Totally ignoring, in sports, what gender a trans person was a puberty. Like it or not, biology still matters in some areas.
Similarly, I have a problem with the lack of some objective criteria, not just "self identification," on what gender someone is (at least for some purposes). Want to be treated as a girl in your social interactions? Fine. Want to use the women's locker room? Demonstrate that you aren't just a guy wanting a chance to look at naked women.

Public sector unions. Particularly the right to strike. (Yup, this is indeed a reversal.) If you opt for the civil service (i.e. far greater protection against being fired, or even laid off) then you shouldn't be able to strike. Want a right to strike? Stay in the private sector. I can go into why at greater length, if anyone is interested.

Does that help?

Re inheritance taxes, Janie, I have a problem with people getting a free ride -- and that seems to me to be a conservative position.. Whether from the government or from inheritances. No problem with someine working hard (or just being inventive) and getting rich. But "working hard" is the critical part of that.

For example, Elon Musk being super rich? No problem (for all that I'm not fond of some of his political views). Fine. David Koch being super rich because he picked his parents well? Definitely have a problem with that.

The parties (both of them) insist that only those registered as party members are allowed to vote in their Presidential primaries. (Some places have other rules for everything below that level. But not for this.)

Unaffiliated voters in Colorado can vote in one or the other of the parties' presidential primaries, but not both. I'm quite sure there are other states with open presidential primaries.

Speaking broadly, state laws do not recognize the national parties. The national party organization can't put names on the Colorado ballot, only the affiliated state party can. Things may get interesting in 2024 when the national parties attempt to blackmail state governments into changing their laws about primaries.

I would support just about all of the policy proposals wj listed, but that would not make me a "conservative" in any meaningful sense. Not one of those policy prescriptions is endorsed by even an insignificant number of so-called Republicans...who, it might have missed his notice, call themselves "conservatives".

And that is why, bobby, I say that (self-identification notwithstanding) they aren't conservatives.

Wow, is that a flood from me or what?!?!?

Perhaps I need to get up earlier, so I can respond more in the flow.... Nope, not going to happen.

Unaffiliated voters in Colorado can vote in one or the other of the parties' presidential primaries, but not both. I'm quite sure there are other states with open presidential primaries.

Are you sure, Michael???

Yes, of course you are. I'm astounded simply because, as I've understood it, the reason that California has open primaries everywhere else, but closed party primaries for president, is that the national parties demanded it. Certainly that point came up when, not all that long ago, open primaries were being discussed here.

In 21 states.......

oh wait, that's the wrong link.

This one.

P.S. bobby, there's nothing that prevents you from agreeing with a conservative. Take this, from Dick Cheney (nobody's idea of a flaming liberal): “In our nation’s 246 year history there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our Republic than Donald Trump.”

I expect you find yourself in complete agreement.

Janie, thanks for the link. Obviously I am either mistaken about what I read, or simply misinformed.

Although, since I'm in California, my situation remains, whatever it's cause.

Re inheritance taxes, Janie, I have a problem with people getting a free ride -- and that seems to me to be a conservative position

There are (at least) two separate questions in this discussion. One is your quirky way of using the word "conservative" -- which at this point I couldn't care less about. In the context of American politics in this era, and in the specific context of which party prefers which policy, the fact that you consider that to be a "conservative" position couldn't possibly be less relevant. (A lot more could be said about the issue of inherited wealth, but I will leave it for now.)

The other question is your policy preferences, separate from labels.

Tell me if I've got it wrong: you prefer a bunch of policies that a lot of Ds, liberals, and progressives think are just dandy (on a specific sampling of 2: bobbyp and me). But you can't be a D because a lot of Ds want to go much further than you do.

On the other hand, most of your policy preferences are anathema to the R party, policies that they have fought against, undermined, ranted about, and/or blocked for decades.

But somehow, because of a word ("conservative") that you like to apply to yourself and that allegedly used to apply to Rs, you have to remain an R, and vote for Rs (who are trying to destroy the country and taking away other people's rights here there and everywhere).

Perhaps it's best that I don't try to understand it.

Perhaps a revival of the CCC, even with today's unemployment rates???

I was thinking more along the lines of a WPA. I've wanted big ticket stuff like modernized and integrated power grid/generation and improved rail systems for a while. It does seem like a tall order given the post(?)-COVID unemployment numbers.

OTOH, I think the unemployment numbers paint as accurate a picture of the actual health of the economy as the Dow. As in, not very. Road/bridge repair remains critical at the very least. I guess we'll see where these new infrastructure bills get us.

Pre-COVID, when there were a lot more blue-collars out of work - especially with all that tariff nonsense - it kinda made sense to me that people like coal miners who already know how to operate heavy machinery, etc, could be utilized on infrastructure projects that, if not shovel-ready, were at least known-necessary. Seemed more reasonable than sending them to school to learn web development. But instead we gave away $2 trillion to the wealthy. To create jobs.

******

Also on the wish list: A national standard for elections. I'd prefer open primaries, ranked-choice, and all by mail.

Perhaps it's best that I don't try to understand it.

Or maybe you could attribute it to inertia. After all, for this conservative, it would be a big change. :-)

it kinda made sense to me that people like coal miners who already know how to operate heavy machinery, etc, could be utilized on infrastructure projects that, if not shovel-ready, were at least known-necessary. Seemed more reasonable than sending them to school to learn web development.

Amen

I was thinking more along the lines of a WPA...

Here's something that always gets me laughed at... I was hired for the state legislative budget staff despite my "advanced" age because (a) I was qualified and (b) I had some experience with analysis of large software projects. During three years in that job I was convinced of this: drop me into any state government in the country with free access to the systems staffs, and in six months I will hand you a list of billions and billions of dollars worth of software that needs to be written, some of it desperately needed.

I also point out that the commercial software industry has a pronounced tendency to chase talent out long before retirement age. The country has a huge pool of skilled programmers and analysts not doing programming. Mike's Old Programmers project can both make use of the talent, and fill a huge gap in public infrastructure.

The country has a huge pool of skilled programmers and analysts not doing programming.

Including me, although I had a very strange skillset that made sense at my company for 30 years but might not make sense anywhere else. And now I've gone on to other interests. Then again, sometimes I think it would be nice to be earning a bit of $ to supplement my SS and IRA.

Never heard of "Mike's Old Programmers" --

In Europe 'supplementing the SS and IRA' would be a bit of an ambiguous wording ;-)

More boots and bombs!

@Hartmut: sigh. I get tired of spelling out Social Security or even Soc Sec.

Then again, context matters. ;-)

I have come to the position that the correct tax policy is "high marginal rates on 'unearned income' (cap gains, interest, inheritance)" and "low marginal rates on earned incomes" (wages and salaries).

That's when I'm feeling generous. On other days it's "go Thullen on the richy-rich parasites". They always have the option of disposing of their excess riches before being scragged.

Points on the use of the word "scragged", only encountered hitherto by the likes of me in the context of Savage Henry.

(Just checked this, and I am quite wrong. It was "croak a scag baron named Savage Henry". But I'm leaving it in, on the principle that you can never have too much, or even enough, HST.)

Republicans block cap on insulin costs for many Americans from Democratic deal

Self-identified conservatives.

First in a series.

GftNC: funny you should have scrag/scag, I had scrag/frag in my head.

A blanket public health service (perhaps like the one in the UK). I'm fine with tweaking Obamacare. (It needs to change, both to make the transition to those who can afford their own more gradual and to cover all states. But those are, to my mind, small changes.) But not beyond that.

I'm frustrated by the framing that the choice is between the US healthcare setup, with or without Obamacare, and a blanket public health service. This is simply false.

The right way to pay for healthcare is by contributions which depend on income not on health status. Of course the US tacitly does some of this by means of employer-provided insurance and by Obamacare's restrictions on insurers, but it's a mess. Just accept the principle, even if that's a large change, then you can have a system which makes sense.

It's not necessary to have a system anything like the UK's, nor in my opinion is it a good idea. Have a look at Germany for a system which the US might find quite congenial.

Self-identified conservatives. [Re block of insulin price caps]

I'm a bit uncertain whether plutocrat or oligarch would be the more correct terminology in this case.

In a similar vein, not unlike to my previous comments on the estate tax, I've got serious reservations on how long patents (and copyrights) should run. Certainly not past the life of the individual creator (and spouse, if any; willing to stretch to adulthood of minor children, should they be orphaned, but no further). And some more sane cap than currently on those held by organizations.** The point of both patents and copyrights, after all, is to reward creation, not to enrich their heirs and assigns.

Generics do good things for drug prices. At least if antitrust laws are enforced.

** This
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/why_people_with_diabetes_cant_buy_generic_insulin
reminds me that incremental improvement patents are getting abused, too.

The US health care and health care payment system is so twisted, confusing, bizarre, arcane, and time-consuming to navigate that it's essentially abusive.

And it's meant to be.

When people talk about Medicare-for-All, all I can do is roll my eyes. I'm pretty sure I'm no dummy, but I had to go take a class to have even a beginner's grasp of the complexities of Medicare. Lucky for me, I had employer-provided health insurance past the time I was eligible for Medicare, so I never had to navigate the ACA. (Even that was complicated, but never mind.)

The productivity for actually useful things that is lost because of the time people have to spend on all this crap is beyond measuring. And not only consumers, of course, but the massive bureaucracy needed to support the mess.

/rant -- I really hate this subject.

"Even that was complicated" -- "that" meaning my employer-provided insurance. I am very grateful that it was (mostly) paid for. But it still suffered from all the same arcanity that characterizes our system as a whole. In network, out of network, deductible, cap, HSA, FSA (?), blah blah blah.

I never had to navigate the ACA.

I was on the ACA for a while. And it was complicated. Although California has done a moderately good job of simplifying it.

As for Medicare, opting for an HMO (Kaiser in my case) makes it about as simple as employer-provided health care. Just with more uninteresting emails from the Medicare folks which don't apply.

Employer-provided health insurance implements roughly the sort of risk pooling used in any sensible scheme, but on much too small a scale.

(The cost incidence is of course on the employees, via reduced salaries, but shared among them without regard to health status.)

The cost incidence is of course on the employees, via reduced salaries, but shared among them without regard to health status.

I do understand that, originally, employer provided health insurance was a ploy to get around (wartime) restrictions on wage increases. But at this point, does anybody think that phasing it out would result in higher salaries? Maybe for C level execs, but below that?

That being the case, it's hard to make a convincing case that it's reducing salaries today.


I read this in disbelief:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/06/us/roe-safe-haven-laws-newborns.html

We all know that occasionally desperate mothers in dire straits abandon their newborn babies, but to read about this system, and the need for this system, is to be transported to another century, to the era of foundling hospitals, and even earlier. Dear God, what kind of world do these people aspire to?

But the safe haven movement has become much more prominent, in part because of a boost from a charismatic activist with roots in anti-abortion activism, Monica Kelsey, founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes.

***
Ms. Kelsey said she was in contact with legislators across the country who wanted to bring the boxes to their regions, and predicted that within five years, her boxes would be in all 50 states.

There was an interesting discussion of boxes like this on this BJ thread last night. I didn't know they existed either. The woman who said she regularly designs them is an architect (I think hospitals are her specialty) and (IMHO) one of the very in-crowd in-crowd folks at BJ, i.e. she can be assumed to despise the right and the right's agenda but has a complex and nuanced view and experience in relation to such facilities.

If you skim the thread you'll see that she thinks this self-promoting asshole's boxes aren't very good.

The thing I was most curious about was the legal aspect, but I wasn't curious enough to go looking on limited time. By implication, though, the legalities, as you would expect, differ from state to state. (N.b. I never read BJ comment threads word for word, but sometimes a topic like this will draw me in.)

Safe Haven Baby Boxes.

***
Ms. Kelsey said she was in contact with legislators across the country who wanted to bring the boxes to their regions, and predicted that within five years, her boxes would be in all 50 states.

Would it be rude to wonder if these "Baby Boxes" would have the same security issues as ballot drop boxes?

Definitely reminiscent of foundling hospitals. Except for concerns about what happens to the kids a few weeks or months after the photo op for the drop off. Especially the minority kids.

Truth to tell, I didn't read the article about Kelsey. But there are no photo ops when people drop off babies.

From the Maine statute:

The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) is required by statute to establish guidelines which will inform Safe Haven Providers of procedures to follow when an infant is relinquished into their care. A Safe Haven Provider is by definition of Maine statute a law enforcement officer; staff at a medical emergency room; a medical services provider; or a staff person at a hospital. When a person voluntarily delivers a child less than 31 days old to a safe haven provider and expresses no intent to return for the child, there is legislation enacted into Maine law (2001) which allows this population of safe haven providers to accept the child and requires the provider to follow guidelines established by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The purpose of these guidelines is to also outline for Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services staff the protocol to follow when a Safe Haven Provider reports that a child has been delivered into his/her/entity’s care.

Obviously it would be better if no woman (or man, for that matter) was ever so desperate. We're a long, long way from that and going in the wrong direction...

Interestingly, an event like this is a main plot element of a book I liked a lot (which was made into a mini-series): Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng.

Where I live so-called baby hatches have been a highly controversial topic a few years ago and it's a legally gray area. The impression I got is that it is a worthwile effort. But around here it can be guaranteed that it is not used by religious fundamentalists to get their hands on newborns.
And it has the advantage that the mother has enough time to potentially change her mind afterwards (so it is a reversible step).

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babyklappe
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_hatch

Janie, when a child is dropped off, do they typically (in Maine) get put in the foster care system? (And if so, why have a middleman?) Or get adopted somehow? Or what?

wj, the BJ thread and the statute link are all I potentially know about the subject. I say potentially because I have read neither one word for word.

The reason to have a middleman is, I gather from the BJ thread, because people in the desperate situation of wanting to give up a child often do not want to interact with anyone else, although my impression -- again from that thread -- is that some states allow this no-contact method and some don't. But if you can remotely imagine the agonized desperation someone would be going through, I don't think it should be too hard to imagine a great deal of skittishness and fear about interacting with authority.

A very quick glance at the Maine statute, or even just the bit I quoted, should suggest the answer about the foster care system. Or at least, the care system. "Office of Child and Family Services" would be in charge of that. They have their problems, but they're what we've got.

So at least in Maine, and assuming no corrupt officials (I would tend to assume overworked to the point of ineffectiveness first), there will be no handing over of babies to salivating "Christians" without a legal process.

...it's hard to make a convincing case that it's reducing salaries today.

Economic theory and empirical evidence suggest that the incidence is mainly on employees.

However, if conditions were to change it would take time for a new wage equilibrium to be reached.

From the architect in the BJ thread:

Suzanne

AUGUST 6, 2022 AT 8:35 PM

@Baud: I think of them the way I think about needle exchanges or safe injection sites.

The hospitals that I have worked with that have these have said that they get a surrender approximately once every two to three years.

To me the more encompassing tragedy is the way the repeal of Roe, plus poverty, plus our execrable health care system, etc. etc. etc., will increase the need for these facilities.

I once heard a sort of parable in the workshop world I used to hang out in (conflict resolution, gender peacemaking, and weekend group therapy -- she said only half-jokingly).

The parable was about some people who suddenly saw bodies floating down a river next to where they were standing. The people went to work to see if the people coming down the river were still alive, and to help them if they were.

Then one of their number got up and stopped helping and started running upriver. Someone called after him to come back and keep helping. He replied, "No, I'm going upriver to see who's throwing them in."

Among other things, I think the parable was meant to suggest that both kinds of work are needed: feeding the hungry (metaphorically speaking) and remedying the social conditions that lead to some people not having enough food.

Maybe there's not actually enough people power, or will, or time, to do all of it. But with Roe repealed, it's hard not to assume that the need for a safe and legal pathway to give up a child you can't raise is going to increase drastically. The fact that some attention whore is capitalizing on the situation is awful, but that doesn't undercut the fact of the need.

To me the more encompassing tragedy is the way the repeal of Roe, plus poverty, plus our execrable health care system, etc. etc. etc., will increase the need for these facilities.

Yes, of course that's absolutely right. To me, it is one of the more graphic illustrations of the iniquity of (above all) repealing Roe. And that is not to disregard the other contributory causes to which you refer.

To me, it is one of the more graphic illustrations of the iniquity of (above all) repealing Roe.

What I dread is the all too real possibility that we reach the point where we are saying: "I really wish they had just repealed Roe and stopped there!" Because the further changes are so much worse. (Griswold leaps to mind. And yes, I am aware that, as decided, it only covered contraceptives for married couples.)

The Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act this afternoon. House is supposed to return on Friday to vote on it. I admit that I had given up hope that my state and local governments would get any help on climate change.

Here's a pdf that talks about the German babyklappe, mentioned by Hartmut above, and the Japanese baby hatch, which was started in my town about 15 years ago.

http://papers.iafor.org/wp-content/uploads/papers/ecerp2018/ECERP2018_41322.pdf

I don't like citing the paper because IAFOR is a scam organization that sets up conferences and runs publication opportunities to scam researchers into participating with little review. However, it hits a sweet spot for information.

I have not clicked on that link, so I do not know whether one aspect is mentioned there: The baby hatches are also aimed at young women from ultra-conservative families (mostly but not exclusively Turkish) where anonymity can be a matter of life and death, i.e. where the women risk being 'honor' killed by their own families, if it became known that they were pregnant. For that reason the baby hatches are also installed in a way that 'users' can't be spotted from the surrounding area.

That wasn't mentioned, though it says that the first one was set up in 2000, which corresponds in time to changes in the citizenship law, allowing immigrants to get German citizenship after 8 years residence.

The paper does note that confidential childbirth is legally allowed in Germany, which is not the case here in Japan.

The paper does note that confidential childbirth is legally allowed in Germany, which is not the case here in Japan.

What is meant by "confidential childbirth"?

From the link
The precise difference between the two is that in
anonymous childbirth, a pregnant woman can give birth in a hospital and leave the
baby in hospital with total anonymity. Of course, hospital personnel will talk with her
during her stay to suggest alternatives such as adoption or bringing up the baby by
herself with support; that is one benefit of anonymous childbirth as compared to the
baby-hatch. In confidential childbirth, on the other hand, a mother leaves her own and
her baby’s information only at a pregnancy conflict counseling center, which keeps it
sealed up until the child has reached a specific age (16 in Germany) and only if the
child demands its disclosure. In this way, a person’s right to know his or her origin is
assured.

On a different note
https://digbysblog.net/2022/08/07/this-isnt-a-political-party/

Pepper calls for Democrats to stop putting all their funding into U.S. House, Senate, and gubernatorial races and more on statehouses where gerrymandering is collapsing democracy rapidly. Business as usual is foolhardy and dangerous.

“My God, Democrats, don’t you see it? It’s the statehouse, stupid! That’s where the attack is happening!”

Exactly! It's the statehouses are where the gerrymandering gets done. From which so much else follows. Anywhere you regularly have a governor from one party, but the state legislature regularly has a veto-proof majority from the other party, something is badly wrong. (Yes, I know I sound like a broken record on this. Having been harping on it here since the 2010 midterms. But it's still the biggest recurring mistake rhe Democrats make.)

The precise difference between the two is that in anonymous childbirth, a pregnant woman can give birth in a hospital and leave the baby in hospital with total anonymity.

The joys of single-payer or its equivalent. Try getting out of a US hospital -- or other than the emergency room, into a US hospital -- without proving identity and insurance coverage.

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