Monday, June 22, 2015

Rick Perry On Texas' High Uninsured Rate: "That's Not How We Keep Score"

Yesterday, former Presidential candidate and current Presidential candidate, Rick Perry, went on Fox News Sunday, where the host, Chris Wallace,  asked him a question on the subject of health care. Specifically about the absolutely horrid uninsured rate in his state. Let's see how that went:

WALLACE: One more question about Main Street or looking out for the little guy. When you were governor of Texas, your state had the highest uninsured rate in the country. One in five, more than one in five Texans didn't have health coverage, and yet you refused to set up a state exchange under Obamacare. You refused to expand Medicaid. Is that looking out for the little guy when 21 percent of Texans didn't have health insurance?

PERRY: If how you keep score is how many people you force to buy insurance, then I would say that that's how you keep score. That's not how we --

WALLACE: But the flip side of it, how many people don't have health insurance.

PERRY: Let me explain what we do in Texas. This is a state by state decision. We make access to healthcare the real issue. We passed the most sweeping tort reform in the nation. We got 35,000 more positions licensed to practice medicine in 2013 than we did a decade before that. This is an issue for me, it's about access to healthcare. And it's not about whether you force somebody to buy insurance. It's whether Texans have access to good healthcare.
I have to admit, I'm not sure what Perry's trying to say. He doesn't care about people having insurance, but rather, he cares about them having "access"? I'd figure insurance would fall under that umbrella. Is he trying to say that it's okay that so many people don't have insurance because they can still see a doctor? Who pays for that visit? The Freedom fairy? Or do most of the doctors down there treat all poor people for free?

Also, Perry's claim about massive surge in doctors rushing into Texas after he helped pass tort reform is, unsurprisingly, bunk:

And the bulk of that influx has come in larger cities where health care was already abundant, leaving large rural swaths of Texas still without doctors…. [M]edical records in Texas show that of the state’s 254 counties, only 106 have an obstetrician/gynecologist — just six more than in 2003. In Presidio County, which has 8,000 residents and is growing, some of Parsons’ patients move 240 miles away to live with relatives in Odessa or Midland when they become pregnant. […]
Medical rolls increased by 24 percent since 2003, while Texas’ population was soaring by 20 percent during the decade. Texas also saw rapid growth of physicians per capita before tort reform, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Furthermore, over 10,000 of those doctors were ones "“who sought licenses in Texas but took jobs elsewhere”. Oops.

And that leads me to my next question: if Rick Perry did such a great job in turning Texas in a free market utopia, why did/does it still have the highest uninsured rate in the country?  Under Perry's stewardship, taxes were cut, spending was cut, regulations were cut, tort reform was passed, the  medicaid expansion was turned down, etc. Don't conservatives constantly say these policies would somehow allow more people to be insured? In fact, Texas seems like a great example of what the rest of the country would be like if the Republican alternative to Obamacare was actually in place.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wisconsin Dead Last In New Business Start Up Activity

It's such a shame that President Obama keeps ruining Scott Walker's economy:

Wisconsin ranks last of all the states for new business start-up activity, according to a major survey released June 5.

Milwaukee fared little better, coming in 39th among the nation’s 40 largest metropolitan areas.
The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship is the first and largest study tracking entrepreneurship across city, state and national levels for the United States. Produced by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the index is one of the world’s most respected and cited entrepreneurship indicators in the nation.
When Walker became governor of Wisconsin in 2011, he presided over $2 billion in tax cuts, which, like all Republican politicians who endorse the magical effects of supply-side economics, he assured everyone, would lead to an explosion of economic growth. Sadly for Walker, things didn't pan out that way.

Back in 2010, Walker claimed that his freedom loving policies would create 250,000 jobs by the end of this first term. Turns out Walker fell short by 120,000.

Walker, like nearly all Republicans, believed tax cuts for the wealthy would result in increased revenues. Not only did said tax cuts not increase revenue, the state currently faces a $238 million shortfall.

And now, Walker's failed on yet another metric. Quite spectacularly, I might add. By being dead last in new start ups, that means that even high tax hellholes like California, Minnesota and New York (and really, every other Democratic state) are doing better, despite their job killing policies. How is such a thing even possible?

So Walker may have wrecked his state's economy, but on the plus side, he plans on making it harder for women to have abortions, so there's that, at least.

Monday, June 1, 2015

BREAKING: Job Creators Have Not Trickled Down Jobs In Kansas

Okay, so we all know by now how Kansas Governor, Sam Brownback's "experiment" with lowering taxes on the rich did not in fact, lead to more revenue. But hey, who cares about actually paying for government services? Afterall, our greatest founding father, Ronald Reagan, never wound up collecting more revenues with his policies, so why would we expect a lesser Republican like Brownback to do so?

However, where the Gipper was lacking in terms of collecting money, he made up for in job creation (well, not really that either, but just play along for a moment).

So how has Brownback fared so far on the job creation front?

The new national jobs report for April, released Wednesday, shows Kansas now trails 44 other states and the District of Columbia in total nonfarm job creation in the first four months of 2015.

That’s an extremely dismal record, especially given that Gov. Sam Brownback has pledged previously that the huge income tax cuts he pushed in 2012 would bring a resurgence of employment to the Sunflower State.

It’s not happening.

The new report shows Brownback is falling far short of keeping his promise on job creation in Kansas.
During his re-election campaign in 2015, the governor said he wanted to create 100,000 new private sector jobs in his second term. That works out to just over 2,000 added employees per month over that four-year period. Brownback said Kansas had to grow that quickly so it could gain more tax revenue to avoid budget shortfalls.

But the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows Kansas now has actually lost a total of 300 nonfarm jobs in the first four months of Brownback’s second term, from January through April
That’s worse than 44 other states. Put another way, it’s better than only Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma and West Virginia. All those states have lost jobs at slightly higher rates than Kansas has.

Okay, so things didn't exactly go according to plan. Brownback promised that he would turn Kansas into an economic powerhouse, but instead has turned it into the exact opposite. Stuff happens.

But the report wasn't all bad news. There was one positive stat buried in the article:

The nonfarm jobs report is the best overall measurement of total employment, including government jobs. If you strip those out, you’re left with the private-sector job figure that Brownback used. In that case, total private sector employment has gone up by only 700 in the first four months of the year.
Of course, I meant "positive" in the same way that a doctor informs you that a loved one is merely comatose as opposed to being dead after a car crash.

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Maine Gov. Says He'll Veto Every Democratic Bill Until The State Income Tax Is Repealed

Apparently, Maine's Republican governor had a little temper tantrum last week:

AUGUSTA, Maine — During a fiery news conference that lasted nearly an hour, Gov. Paul LePage pledged Friday to veto every bill sponsored by a Democrat until his opposition relents and accepts his constitutional amendment to eliminate Maine’s income tax.

LePage this year has proposed a constitutional amendment that would eliminate the state’s income tax by the year 2020. Republicans, who have shied away from the governor’s more comprehensive tax reform efforts, have rallied around the amendment.

Democrats have opposed it, sparking LePage’s trademark fury during a news conference at the Blaine House.

Like all Republican plans to eliminate the income tax, this would mean a huge boon to the wealthy, and a pretty significant hit to the middle and lower classes, as it more than likely means the income tax would be replaced with a higher sales tax, an idea the governor is very fond of.

It seems LePage thinks that by allowing more money to be concentrated at the top, it means more money will eventually be trickled-down to everyone else. The governor attempted to do just that back in 2011, lowering the top rate from 8.5% to 7.95%. How did that work out? About as well as anyone expects by this point:

Across the U.S., total state tax revenue reached pre-recession levels in mid 2013. But tax receipts in 30 states, including Maine, have not yet recovered. This chart, with data from the Pew Charitable Trusts, shows Maine’s tax revenue picture compared with the nation’s. In the third quarter of 2014, more than five years after the recession’s end, Maine was still collecting less than at its peak before or during the recession. Comparisons are based on Maine and the U.S.’s peak tax revenue level since 2006.
Well, clearly it seems that, as usual, revenues have only gone down cause we haven't cut taxes enough