Sunday, October 6, 2013

Spin Cycle

For three years we have been inundated with political spin pertaining to the Affordable Care Act. It has managed to go from the mundane to the ridiculous.

A few days ago a Tea Party supporter posted a thread on a Christian forum that had me stopping in my tracks:

Obamacare Fines To Be Seized From Bank Accounts?

I couldn't believe what I was reading. It didn't take much research to find out that only half of Americans have bank accounts , and a large number of those people are not even eligible for a bank account.

And the Affordable Care Act specifically forbids the IRS from taking any monies, or property,

“There’s no criminal sanctions for not paying this, and there’s no ability to levy a bank account or do seizures,” then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman said in April 2010.
In addition, Americans who refuse to pay for mandatory health insurance “shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution,” according to the law itself.
Section 1501(g)(2) of the Affordable Care Act also states that the IRS cannot “file notice of lien with respect to any property of a taxpayer by reason of any failure to pay the penalty imposed by this section.”
 No amount of persuasion - or documentation - would or could persuade this delusional individual that the headline, as horrendous as it was, was political spin. Fodder for the easily confused masses.

My personal position is somewhat neutral. I believe in Universal Health Care. I believe that it is a moral responsibility. I do not know if the ACA is the right plan, because I have not read it in it's entirety. But what I don't like ..... the spin.

It makes me dizzy!

And, I abhor bullies!

They make me angry!

Extremist Republicans (which is to say all of them from Arkansas, based on roll call votes) have forced a government shutdown rather than accede to continuation of the law of the land — the Affordable Care Act. Now come  economic hardships and hassles for millions. As a nice ironic touch, the implementation of Obamacare begins today.

Now comes the fight to win the spin game — on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, advertising, press conferences and all the rest. I can't predict how that will turn out. When it comes to messaging, the Republican Party has a knack for the disingenuous slogan. See: death tax.

Some things to remember:

* WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT: Credit Ezra Klein.

All this to stop poorer Americans from getting health insurance funded by Medicare cuts and taxing rich people.

* TODAY'S FAVORITE LIE: You'll find it in the Too Extreme Tom Cotton and Tiny Tim Griffin messaging. It is that Congress and staff are getting special treatment under Obamacare.

It is a lie.

Again, it is a lie.

Congress and staff have an employer-sponsored health care plan, as millions of others do. That is a nice workplace benefit. To force those employees into a health exchange without their existing employer contribution is to force some of them into medical bankruptcy. That's the Cotton/Griffin plan. Not just for Congress, but for all of the U.S.

* THE REASON LIES WORK: The misunderstandings or simple lack of knowledge among the public is enormous. See polling. But here's some good news: Hot poll that shows the public gets who's responsible for an unpopular action. The public doesn't want Obamacare funding cut off and they don't want government shut down and they blame Republicans.

In Tim Griffin's exceptionalist America, it's every man for himself. If you can't afford health insurance, tough. Move to England, France, Canada, Germany, Scandinavia or any of the other less exceptional countries that believe health care is a birthright. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put it well:

When the American people wake up, they will be furious to learn that Congressman Griffin just shut down our government, forcing Arkansas’s middle class families to pay the price for his demands to pad insurance companies’ profits.

To the dishonest Cotton messaging, his 2014 opponent, U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor responded obliquely:

The Senate has now passed three responsible measures to keep our government open and our economy growing. Yet, the House has continued with their “my-way-or-the-highway” politics. This confirms what the American people have said all along—that hyper-partisanship in the House will shut down our government and hurt our economy just as it’s turning the corner.

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