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Weiland, Income Inequality, Debt Ceiling, ObamaCare — All Connected!

Rick Weiland sends out a press release with two impressive features. One is his mention of speaking to a crowd of over 120 people in Sioux Falls last night. He got over 120 people to come out to the Labor Temple on a Sunday evening and pay $9 a head for chili, cornbread, and more pickin'-an'-a'grinnin'. Add that kind of Sunday turnout to logo-integrity, and you've got a recipe for a Weiland barn-stormin' steamroller!

Oh yeah, Weiland also said stuff. Important stuff. Right stuff.

It is inexcusable what is happening in Washington.... That is supposed to be our government, yet it is only hours away from being shut down because the big money special interests that control it will not allow the politicians they have bought to represent us. "We bought you your office, now do as we say." That's what their lobbyists are telling Members of Congress right now, and that is why Congress is about to do something 99% of the American people know is nuts....

Billionaires and big corporations don’t want change... they like things exactly the way they are, where 95% of the income increase during the economic recovery has been captured by the top 1% of the population. They don’t want a level playing field. They want to keep stacking the deck against small businesses and everyday citizens and are willing to spend tens of millions of dollars every year to do it [Rick Weiland, press release, 2013.09.30].

Weiland reminds me of something economist Mark Thoma wrote last week about the debt ceiling fight and its roots in income inequality:

We have lost something important as a society as inequality has grown over the last several decades, our sense that we are all in this together. Social insurance is a way of sharing the risks that our economic system imposes upon us. As with other types of insurance, e.g. fire insurance, we all put our money into a common pool and the few of us unlucky enough to experience a “fire” – the loss of a job, health problems that wipe out retirement funds, disability, and so on – use the insurance to avoid financial disaster and rebuild as best we can.

But growing inequality has allowed one strata of society to be largely free of these risks while the other is very much exposed to them. As that has happened, as one group in society has had fewer and fewer worries about paying for college education, has first-rate health insurance, ample funds for retirement, and little or no chance of losing a home and ending up on the street if a job suddenly disappears in a recession, support among the politically powerful elite for the risk sharing that makes social insurance work has declined.

Rising inequality and differential exposure to economic risk has caused one group to see themselves as the “makers” in society who provide for the rest and pay most of the bills, and the other group as “takers” who get all the benefits. The upper strata wonders, “Why should we pay for social insurance when we get little or none of the benefits?” and this leads to an attack on these programs [Mark Thoma, "The Real Reason for the Fight over the Debt Limit," Financial Times, 2013.09.24].

The Republicans aren't really worried about the debt. If they were, they'd be taking very different approaches to the budget and admitting the problem is taxes, not spending.

But the Republicans are terrified that the Affordable Care Act will take full effect on January 1. Republicans are terrified that millions of voters will call up the health insurance exchange tomorrow, look at the numbers, and realize, "Holy crap! ObamaCare's saving us thousands of dollars!" Republicans are terrified that the ACA is about to change from an abstract bogeyman to a concrete affirmation of our ability to work together, to take care of each other, and to secure for ourselves and our posterity more liberty than the corporations want us to have.

Rick Weiland gets that. Pass me some cornbread, and send Rick nine bucks.


  1. Douglas Wiken 2013.09.30

    The Pee Pot Republicans are behaving like the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt. If rational legislators don't do exactly as they wish, they are going to do the partisan equivalent of burning Christian churches, poisoning all wells, blowing up all bridges, burning all standing crops, etc.

  2. Michael B 2013.09.30

    Have you ever considered that maybe the leaders of both parties desire a shutdown so they can use the issue in the next election?

  3. John Hess 2013.09.30

    All politicians play politics, but some (in historical context) are more reasonable than others. Looking at the situation, it's not always between the two extremes. Cruz wants to divert a law that has already been passed, and somehow the majority of Republicans are fearful enough to follow him. The truth means nothing to him. That's scary. Peter King being the voice of reason should be enough to give pause.

  4. Jana 2013.09.30

    Governor D and his henchmen are offering to staff Mt. word yet on helping federal employees and their families. No word on what they are planning to spend.

    Gov, if it's going to hurt SD, why don't you tell Kristi and John to grow up and keep the government know...for the good of the people they are supposed to represent.

  5. grudznick 2013.09.30

    If we get the right people we could organize a good Blog Running of Mr. Rushmore. Do we need cookers? I know some people that are good cookers to work in the restaurant and snack shop. And parkers, I know some guys who can use the flags and stuff and park cars and direct people. Let us show them that Mr. H's bloggers can run a park better than the high paid falootin' government employees. Also, if anybody has lights on the rollbars or roof it would be good to use for parking cops and crowd control.

  6. Douglas Wiken 2013.09.30

    Perhaps Daugaard and his aiders and abettors should get going on taking advantage of the federal funds for "Obamacare". As a "libbie", I have nothing against state yokels doing the work at Blogmore, but it is just a publicity stunt. I guess we should just feel lucky that Janklow did not figure out a way to sell it and the Badlands to the bidder with the biggest payoffs.

  7. Stan Gibilisco 2013.09.30

    Make them all give up their health plans and enroll in Obamacare right now.

  8. Jerry 2013.10.01

    Rick's message just got a whole lot stronger after the fiasco in Washington this very night. As one of many who have worn the uniform proudly, this is a dark stain on what we fought for. We damn sure did not fight so republicans could steal the bread from children, not did we fight so republicans could deny healthcare to our women and our needy. Nope, none of us did that. The republican brand just slipped a whole lot and by doing so, increased the voice of Rick Weiland as one of getting things done by sweeping out the misfits that now inhabit the congress. By the way, the healthcare exchanges are now open for business in spite of the spoiled drunk children in our congress.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.10.01

    I'll happily enroll tomorrow.

  10. Old guy 2013.10.01

    Cory spending and taxes are the problem in DC not just taxes or spending.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.10.01

    Old Guy, I'm always happy to stop spending government money on wasteful projects. But the link I offer above talks about CBO numbers that show government health care spending going down as a percentage of GDP, but debt increasing because we are reducing tax revenues. The spending curve is going down, but the taxing curve is going down harder, failing to capture the wealth we have and could afford to provide necessary services. Taxing really is the greater problem here than spending.

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