Benjamin Studebaker

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

Tag: Mitch McConnell

“Skinny Repeal” Would Still Deprive 15 Million Americans of Their Health Insurance

The Senate has rejected Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’s proposal to repeal Obamacare without a replacement, 55-45. Of the eight potential moderate Republican opponents I highlighted in June, five voted against repeal (Capito, Collins, Heller, Portman, and Murkowski), along with two whose opposition to repeal was not known at the time (McCain and Alexander). But the Republicans have not quite given up–they plan to attempt “skinny repeal,” in which only the individual and employer mandates would be repealed.  But while this may sound appealing (nobody likes mandates), it’s much worse than it appears.

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What do the Midterms Mean? Not Much…

In much of the media’s coverage of the US midterm elections, the focus has been on the number of races won by republican candidates. When we look exclusively at races won, it appears as if the right has scored a stunning victory. The trouble is that in the American political system, power is widely distributed. An individual congressman, senator, or even governor or president can do very little to meaningfully effect policy.  Consequently, when we evaluate what an election means, we need to evaluate whether enough power has been accumulated by one side or the other to meaningfully sway policy outcomes. When we do this at the federal level, we see that the balance of power has remained more or less consistent since 2010.

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Why Cantor Lost but Graham and McConnell Won

In the recent US primary elections, the trend has been for establishment republicans to beat Tea Party radicals. Or that was the trend, until the recent defeat of congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA) at the hands of relative unknown Dave Brat. A sitting US majority leader has never before lost a primary election. This puts these two narratives into conflict–is the Tea Party on its last legs, or is it roaring back into prominence? Let’s take a look.

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Fiscal Cliff Ignorance

I’m back in the United States for a month, so it’s only fitting to write an American piece. There’s a statistic out there that should put fear into the hearts of those of us who practise, either professionally or as a hobby, the art of statecraft. The implications of this statistic are vast for the health of the American economy and the American democracy.

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