As Mark Twain was quoted as saying, “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” So too have rumors of the death of the Affordable Care Act, or the ACA. For those unaware (and don’t feel bad.. there are lots of people who have no idea) what the ACA is and does, it is the healthcare reform law that was passed earlier this year.
If you listen to conservatives in the 26 states that are suing to have the law overturned on Constitutional grounds, the law is an unconstitutional encroachment on the civil liberties of Americans.
If you listen to the 32 million previously un-insured citizens that this law will help cover by the time it it fully implemented in 2014, it is one of the most important pieces of legislation passed in the past 100 years. It is also the same law that prevents insurers from not covering your pre-existing condition right now.
Yea, that law.
The President's just-announced plan, Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future, is a comprehensive approach to solving the nation's short- and long-term problems. It includes the American Jobs Act, legislation investing $447 billion to fund teachers and public safety workers, modernize schools and other infrastructure, target job creation in low-income communities, provide extra help to long-term unemployed, youth, and other especially vulnerable groups, and protect the jobless with an extension of federal Unemployment Insurance.
It also includes $1.5 trillion in revenues from progressive sources as part of its 10-year deficit reduction plan. You may have heard the President speak of the "Buffett rule" - seeking revenue increases to prevent millionaires and billionaires from paying a lower effective tax rate than people of modest means.
When a President proposes a sweeping, highly progressive new tax plan to a deeply divided conservative Congress smack in the middle of a presidential campaign season, it is pretty clear that he doesn’t actually think he can get it passed. It is a converstaion starter. Or an opening shot for further negotiations. Or, more directly, it is a campaign issue. It’s politics.
Fair enough. Red meat to the progressive base has been few and far between lately, and we finally have something to get excited about it. And let’s face it – the “Buffet plan”, or whatever this proposal will eventually be called- is great. We love it. Any proposal at this level that actually acknowledges the gross inequality in the current federal tax structure is, in our opinion, moving the converstaion in a positive direction.
Cross-posted from The Institute of Southern Studies.
This week, the Department of Justice rejected the new Texas political maps drawn Republican state lawmakers, largely on the grounds that it failed to ensure representation for the state's burgeoning Latino population.
It's not clear yet whether the Texas decision signals an increasing willingness in the Obama's DOJ to challenge GOP redistricting in other Southern states where plans must gain federal approval under the Voting Rights Act.