What to Do About Healthcare

By Mike Koetting     March 19, 2018

If it accomplished nothing else, last year’s attempt by Republicans to “repeal and replace” the ACA dramatically increased support for a single payer system. Last June, a Pew Survey found 33% of all Americans in favor of single-payer. By the end of 2017, several different polls were showing a small majority of all Americans supporting single-payer. Support among Democrats is particularly strong. A majority of House Democrats have signed on to the Medicare for All bill, as have a number of high profile senators who might be 2020 presidential candidates. There has even been discussion of making support for “Medicare for All” a litmus test for Democratic candidates.

I think there is great danger in over-investing in Medicare for All at this time. Continue reading “What to Do About Healthcare”

So, What Happened to Healthcare?

By Mike Koetting        March 8, 2018

Six months ago, healthcare was the issue of the land. Now, the issue pops up in disjointed fragments of policy and rhetoric. I read two or so healthcare blogs most days and I still find it hard to follow.  So I figured it might be useful to offer my own recap of what I think is the current state of healthcare policy in America.  It is, after all, on its way to eating up a full 20% of the GDP. (https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20180214.597384/full/ ).

The short version is that for all the sound and fury, the basic ACA structure is much less damaged than we feared a year ago, but the Trump administration has given individual states more latitude to mau-mau the ACA. Of course, even in the absence of broad-scale collapse, some individuals have been hurt. Continue reading “So, What Happened to Healthcare?”

More Immigration

By Mike Koetting           February 27, 2018

I wasn’t planning on another post on immigration, but a question from a friend made me realize I really didn’t understand how immigration to the US works, or at any rate, is supposed to work.  Once I looked it into it, I realized that this post should have preceded—or perhaps replaced—my previous post.

On the other hand, I also realized that some of the details here are relevant to the current political discussions and I might not be alone in not understanding how the system is supposed to work.  Continue reading “More Immigration”

A Scattering of Immigration Issues

By Mike Koetting           February 15, 2018

In the last post I allowed that countries have good reasons to put some bounds on the amount of immigration.  It’s not obvious how to do that and this post can’t answer that question.  But it does address some of the considerations that bear on this problem, which is currently very much under discussion. Continue reading “A Scattering of Immigration Issues”

Immigration and Assimilation

By Mike Koetting

February 5, 2018

The last two posts have raised questions about the American vision.  Then government was shut down because the Republicans were so opposed to letting the Dreamers stay in America.  (Or, if you prefer, because Democrats were so committed to insuring the Dreamers get to stay.)  All of which got me wondering:  how should a country think about immigration?  Obviously, this is a more complicated topic than a single post.  This post will explore just one facet of the issue—assimilation., which I think is at the ideological core of the discussion. Continue reading “Immigration and Assimilation”

The Threat to Our Democracy

By Mike Koetting

January 25, 2018

My last post raised the issue of achieving the proper balance between individual and collective welfare.  I do think that’s the fundamental problem for any democracy.  But, before that question becomes relevant, there has to be a functioning democracy.  We in America tend to take that for granted.  But right now, I am a bit concerned about how our country is faring. Continue reading “The Threat to Our Democracy”

The Republican Tax Bill: How Do They Think About This

By Mike Koetting

January 16, 2018

In my first blog after the fall hiatus, I want to address the Tax Bill and some related issues.  Then I’ll take a quick pass at health care before I return to-my series on what I think are the most fundamental issues facing society.  Unsurprisingly, they didn’t resolve themselves while I was busy with other things.

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Tax Bill 2Chicago Tribune

I don’t intend to use this post to analyze how the Tax Bill passed by Republicans was so awful.  There are plenty of analyses of that, and most of them better than I could do.  What has fascinated me is why Republicans made the choices they did. Continue reading “The Republican Tax Bill: How Do They Think About This”

Reconceptualizing Work

By Mike Koetting                   September 8, 2017      

This post addresses the third of my top three priorities for humanity—rethinking work.  Today’s post lays out some general thoughts and will be followed by posts elaborating some of the assertions made here.  Of all my posts so far, this has been the most difficult to write and the one where I feel most uncertain about what I have to say.  I think it’s important, but I am not sure I have gotten exactly where I want to go.  Why don’t any of you who might be inclined send me some thoughts?

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The main problem with our conception of work, particularly in America, is that it is seen entirely through the old lenses of capitalism, which are too blurred for our current reality.  I think we need progressive lenses. Continue reading “Reconceptualizing Work”

Consumption, GDP and the Environment

By Mike Koetting         August 22, 2017

This is the third post on the environment.  While it does follow from the first two, I also need to acknowledge that I was nudged into this post by a very thoughtful note from Jim Kent, a long-time friend and policy guru.  I have freely incorporated some of his ideas in the below.  I hope he doesn’t mind.

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Almost everyone, everywhere wants stuff to consume.  But the U.S. seems to be particularly vulnerable.  Consumption in the U.S. measures about 50 percent higher than in the European Union.  Americans consume more even than countries having higher per-capita GDPs.  American houses are bigger, they have more appliances in these houses, they drive more cars more miles, and they consume more food. Continue reading “Consumption, GDP and the Environment”

The Environment: Saving Ourselves Will Not Be Easy

By Mike Koetting                August 13, 2017

This is the second post of what I now realize is three posts on the environment. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the entire future of humanity is at least somewhat complicated. Environmental issues are one of what I believe are the three biggest issues facing society, inequality and the meaning of work being the other two.
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My last post argued that even if you don’t believe the case for imminent environmental disaster is absolutely watertight, there can really be no argument that the risks are increasing at a more than linear rate and that any responses will take time to have material impact. Given the magnitude of the consequences of guessing wrong on the dangers, the only sensible course of action is to change course now instead of waiting for absolute proof of looming disaster, by which time it may well be too late. Continue reading “The Environment: Saving Ourselves Will Not Be Easy”