Category: Froma Harrop

Sanders’ ‘Medicare for All’ Is Not Fair to Medicare for 01/21/2020

It needs pointing out that Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All plan bears little resemblance to Medicare. The Vermont senator undoubtedly exploits the word “Medicare” to obscure the radicalness of his single-payer proposal. Medicare, after all, is very popular.

Those who admire single-payer systems — which do have their virtues — should own up to it and not hide their plans under misleading labels. Medicare isn’t single-payer.

Even Canada’s single-payer system doesn’t offer the range of free services Sanders proposes.

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Democrats Should Put an End to Caucuses for 01/16/2020

“It is quite astonishing to see with what deadpan and neutral a tone our press and television report the open corruption — and the flagrantly anti-democratic character — of the Iowa caucuses.”

I quote the late Christopher Hitchens because I couldn’t put it better.

In a primary, eligible voters can show up anytime while polls are open, cast anonymous ballots and go home. In the caucuses, they must show up on a winter night and spend several hours jostling with neighbors and strangers as they show support for one candidate or another.

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Do Canadians Want to Defer to Harry and Meghan? for 01/14/2020

One thing Canadians tend to be is sensible. And so it is surprising how many would consider making Prince Harry and his wife, the former Meghan Markle, king and queen of Canada. Harry is a beneficiary of the lucky sperm club, and Meghan was TV actress from Los Angeles. Do Canadians really want to defer to these two, even under their current titles, His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex?

A writer for Toronto’s The Globe and Mail called their possible part-time residence in Canada “the fairy-tale ending we all deserve.

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Energizer Bunny Biden Spooks the Left for 01/09/2020

Throughout this unsettling conflict with Iran, Joe Biden has stood out as a calming Democratic voice, speaking of the stakes and challenges with deep knowledge of foreign policy. Just another reason for activists on the left backing Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren to lose their minds.

The news for them hasn’t been great of late. Biden is now tied with or close to Sanders for first place in Iowa and New Hampshire, according to the most recent reputable poll. Warren polls behind Pete Buttigieg in both places.

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Anxiety Grips Leaderless America for 01/07/2020

George W. Bush and Barack Obama both had Gen. Qassem Soleimani in their gunsights. Neither ordered the trigger pulled because of the enormous risks involved in killing one of Iran’s top leaders. In listing the possible responses to recent Iranian provocations, U.S. military commanders told President Donald Trump that doing this would be the most dangerous.

Trump did it on Friday. Iran predictably returned fire with dire threats to U.S. interests.

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Do Americans Even Want Time off? for 01/02/2020

A new Gallup survey finds that about half of Americans who hold second jobs say they don’t do it out of financial necessity. Why, then, do they put in the extra hours? Do they just like working?

Europeans, in stark contrast, relish their free time. Workers in Denmark actually went on a general strike because they were entitled to only five weeks of vacation. They wanted six.

Many American workers get a lousy one or two weeks off, if that much.

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The Phantom Momentum of Bernie Sanders for 12/31/2019

A late-December flurry of articles on a revival of Bernie Sanders’ prospects points to a cardinal rule of political journalism: The story must change. Whether the story has actually changed matters not.

Thus, we had a headline in The New York Times reading, “Why Bernie Sanders Is Tough to Beat,” and one in Politico that said, “Democratic Insiders: Bernie Could Win the Nomination.” The polls, however, have barely budged.

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Veganuary: A Resolution You Can Skip for 12/26/2019

I never got the point of a vegan diet. I dislike its cultish mindset. And I regard New Year’s resolutions as prelude to failure. That gives Veganuary three strikes and an out as an obsession to commandeer my January.

The push to adopt a strictly vegan diet for the month of January speaks volumes about English-speaking peoples’ rocky relationship with food and affection for movements. Veganuary started in Britain.

A vegan diet is like a vegetarian one — no meat, fish or fowl — but it also bans animal byproducts, such as cheese, eggs and milk.

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The Great Deal-Maker Says Canada Should Deal on Our Drug Prices for 12/24/2019

Heavens, no. We don’t want the U.S. government to negotiate drug prices for Americans. That would be socialism, conservatives keep saying. So let’s have the Canadian government do it for us.

President Donald Trump’s latest plan for reducing the outrageous prices Americans pay for their prescriptions is to let states import cheaper drugs from Canada. Past proposals to tie U.S. drug prices to other countries’ prices have gone nowhere. And nowhere is where this one will go.

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Feeding Innovation Better Than Barring Fossil Fuels for 12/19/2019

The two most left-leaning presidential candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, seem to think that a ban on fracking would help solve the climate crisis. Hydraulic fracturing is a process that has enabled a revolution in the U.S. production of oil and especially natural gas.

Natural gas emits half as much of the planet-warming gas carbon dioxide as does coal. The newfound abundance of natural gas has lowered its price, nearly putting coal out of business. In fact, there’s now a glut of natural gas that has sliced its price nearly in half from a year ago.

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Was Boris Johnson’s Win Bad for Democrats? Not Quite for 12/17/2019

Right-leaning opinions have declared British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s trouncing of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn a favorable portent for President Donald J. Trump in 2020. Not so fast. Other readings of the British election results see the very opposite.

For starters, Corbyn was a despised figure including within his own party. Trump is, let us say, also less than universally loved. Even a strong economy hasn’t lifted his approval ratings above the disapproval ones, which, according to reputable polls, remain quite high.

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Raise Revenues, but Hold the Drama for 12/12/2019

Democratic candidates offer two basic approaches to raising revenues for public programs. One is grand opera — accusing the wealthy of greed (Bernie Sanders) and malice, that is, “leaving everyone else behind” (Elizabeth Warren). For this bad behavior, there must be punishment in the form of taxation.

The other approach is to simply increase their taxes a reasonable amount and not get personal. Many rich people may not like it, but they won’t feel under moral condemnation. Some even back the idea.

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