Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

We Must Normalize Trump to Beat Him

Since President Trump’s inauguration, it’s become popular to demand that we not normalize Trump’s presidency. Politically, this means constantly drawing attention to all the things that Donald Trump does that separate him from past presidents. To that end, the left has focused on a suite of character and corruption-oriented issues:

  • Trump’s tax returns
  • Trump’s possible ties to Russia
  • Trump’s tweets and style of communication (rude, bigoted, or post-fact)
  • Trump’s conflicts of interest (nepotism, lack of blind trust, Ivanka involvement)
  • Trump’s history of screwing people over (Trump University, bankruptcies, cost of Trump Tower security & Mar-a-Lago trips)
  • Trump’s untruthful or corrupt henchmen (Spicer, Kushner, Conway, Bannon, Flynn, Sessions, etc.)

This is all a mistake. To beat Trump we need precisely the opposite approach–we must treat Trump as just another establishment Republican president and attack his administration for failing to help the people it promised to protect. Here’s why.

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A Radical Proposal for Kindergarten and Pre-K

In our schools, we are often trying to accomplish two conflicting goals at once:

  1. We want our quickest students to maximize their potential–this means we want them to be in classes that move at their pace.
  2. We don’t want our slower students to be dismissed and devalued, so we are reluctant to separate them from the quicker students and put them in remedial classes where they may be given a low priority.

If we put fast students and slow students in the same age group together, the class will either move at a pace that’s too slow for the quick kids or too fast for the slow kids. If we separate them, educational resources tend to flow disproportionately to the kids who are already at an advantage, as they tend to have the most involved parents.

I have a suggestion to get around this problem while at the same time resolving public policy disputes about state support for expanding Pre-K education.

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What’s Next for the Healthcare Debate After Trumpcare

Trumpcare has been defeated, and it went down meekly, failing even to receive a vote in the house. But this is not over–ever since Obamacare was passed, the Republicans have taken a variety of low-profile steps to weaken the law and make it less effective. Their hope now is that if they wait, the damage they’ve inflicted and continue to inflict on the system will cause it to unravel, giving them an opportunity to try again.

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Trumpcare Would Cripple Medicaid

A couple weeks ago, we talked about how the American Health Care Act (Trumpcare) would undermine the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) by weakening the individual mandate and distributing flat subsidies indexed to age rather than income. The CBO confirmed the level of damage this would do, estimating that 24 million additional Americans would lose coverage by 2026, increasing the uninsured population from 28 million to 52 million. But these projected losses are not wholly attributed to the changes to the mandate and the subsidies–they are also attributed to a provision of Trumpcare which block grants Medicaid. So today I want to talk about how Trumpcare changes the way Medicaid works.

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No Easy Answers: Why Vox is an Anti-Intellectual Publication and How it Can Do Better

The other day, I ran across a piece on Vox by Zach Beauchamp entitled “No easy answers: why left-wing economics is not the answer to right wing populism.” This piece captures everything that has always bothered me about Vox. Today I’d like to dissect this piece and show you what I mean.

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