As an economist and market analyst, I try to shy away from politics and focus on the facts. Nonetheless, I often receive politically charged questions that are usually some variation of the following: “With X party in office, the country is doomed. How can you say otherwise?” I have heard this in every presidential election from George W. Bush to Joe Biden. But the truth of the matter is this: both the economy and the markets grew during all of those administrations. Of course, each one had its own challenges and problems, but as a country we continued to move forward. Companies found ways to grow and make money. Given this, are politics really a problem for the markets?
A Limited Effect
No matter which side, the administration actually has a very limited effect on the national economy and on the financial markets. In fact, if you look at a chart of the economy or of the markets, and cover up the dates, you really can’t pick out when your party was in charge. Similarly, when you look at economic and market performance under various permutations of which party is in charge, there are differences, but they are not consistent over time. For all of the headlines and the fearmongering, politics and governance don’t make a significant difference.
Who’s In Control?
How can that be? Simple. Every president and Congress would like to have control—but they don’t. States push back. The Supreme Court pushes back. Municipalities push back. It is rare that something significant actually gets through. And even when it does? The genius of the American system is that companies then set their collective minds on how to avoid it, if they don’t like it, and/or how to make money off it. For example, look at literally any tax bill ever passed.
Fundamentally, that is the strength of the American system. When you say that Washington will derail the economy or the markets, you are saying that it really controls all of the shoppers and the companies, which simply isn’t true. It is certainly in the interest of politicians to exaggerate their power (to motivate their supporters) and to exaggerate their opponents’ powers (again, to motivate their supporters). But the fact of the matter is that the U.S. economy is driven by millions of profit-motivated companies that will find ways to work around or profit from pretty much anything the politicians can do. Thank goodness for that.
Which doesn’t answer those who maintain that this time is different. That somehow today’s problems are worse than they have ever been before. There is always a constituency for panic. But if you really believe that, if you really believe that Washington—of one party or the other—can derail the country, then what you are saying is that Washington already has full control. That is not what I see when I look around.
This Too Will Pass
What I see is the same vivid debate on policy we have always had and the same back-and-forth that ultimately results in a reasonable solution. Perhaps it is louder now, but it is still the same process.
One of my favorite quotes, from Winston Churchill, notes that you can always count on Americans to do the right thing once they have tried all the alternatives. I would argue that is what is happening now and that despite the short-term damage, which can be real, ultimately we will move ahead again.
Opinion: Iowans want health care focused on patients, not politics, and Democrats are delivering – Des Moines Register
President Joe Biden’s health care proposals have received widespread support from voters across the political spectrum.
Joe Biden signs Inflation Reduction Act to tackle climate, health care
The legislation signed by President Biden aims to address climate change, lower prescription drug costs and provide health care subsidies.
Anthony Jackson, USA TODAY
- Matt Sinovic is the executive director of Progress Iowa, a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization.
No matter where we live or the color of our skin, we all deserve to get the care we need without going broke. Luckily, President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have delivered on their promise to lower costs and improve health care for American families. Along with making key investments in climate and energy, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 drives down prescription drug prices by giving Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices, institutes a cap on out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and protects Americans against outrageous and arbitrary price increases. The legislation also includes measures that will lower health care premiums for millions by extending Affordable Care Act financial assistance for three years.
This bill is testament to the Democrats’ unwavering commitment to ensuring health care is affordable, accessible, and equitable for every American. While Biden and Democrats are fighting tooth and nail to lower health care costs for people like me and other Iowans, Republicans like Sen. Chuck Grassley are continuing their attacks on health care, putting their own political interests over the health and financial well-being of their own constituents.
Every single Republican in Congress opposed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. By voting against the bill, Republicans voted to raise health care costs for working families and maintain Big Pharma’s broken system. Even worse, Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst helped block a critical provision that would cap insulin costs at $35 per month for millions of diabetics with insurance. As many as one in four of the 7.5 million Americans dependent on insulin are skipping or skimping on doses, which can lead to death. As voters across the political spectrum have demanded action to rein in drug prices, Republicans have opposed any meaningful reform.
Instead of offering solutions to curb inflation or lower people’s cost of living, Republicans have laid out a radical, corporate plan that would raise costs, threaten Medicare coverage for millions, and rip protections from people with existing conditions. Republicans are still fighting to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to make premiums more expensive for middle-class families.
The Republican war on health care doesn’t stop there — Republicans have worked to undermine access to care for women, seniors, and people with disabilities. Republicans, especially those aligned with former President Donald Trump, have attacked abortion rights and opposed legislation to end the maternal mortality crisis. They voted against capping drug costs and extending hearing benefits for seniors. Republicans in Congress also continue to fight closing the coverage gap in 12 states that have rejected Medicaid expansion, which has left more than 2 million vulnerable Americans uninsured. Failure to support these policies disproportionately harm people of color, who face increased barriers to accessing care and worse health outcomes.
By fighting efforts to lower health care costs, Republicans are turning their back on the American people. It isn’t surprising that Biden’s health care proposals have received widespread support from voters across the political spectrum. However, if it were up to Republicans, health care costs would skyrocket, the rich would become richer and millions of Americans would be thrown off their coverage with nowhere to turn.
The contrast is clear: Between fighting to lower health care costs and expanding affordable coverage to working families in Iowa, Democrats are working tirelessly to lower everyday costs for all Americans. Meanwhile, Republicans unanimously oppose legislation to lower health care costs, expand affordable coverage, and give families more breathing room to pay for other essentials like food, child care, and rent.
Some things never change: Republicans want to raise health costs, ditch critical protections, and put profits over patients.
Matt Sinovic is the executive director of Progress Iowa, a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization. Year-round, Progress Iowa promotes progressive ideas and causes with creative earned media strategies, targeted email campaigns, and cutting-edge new media.
Mintoff seeks return to politics, running to be Tiny mayor – MidlandToday
A former Tiny Township councillor, who abruptly resigned in September of 2021, has decided to jump back into the political arena and is seeking to become the municipality’s mayor.
“I truly believe that Tiny’s at a crossroads right now,” said Tony Mintoff. “I think that there has been a need for strong, decisive leadership and a steady hand at the helm, and I think I can offer that to the residents.”
Mintoff has entered as a candidate for mayor of Tiny in the Oct. 24 municipal election. (Recently, David Evans also announced a candidacy for the mayor’s seat next term.)
“I think the elephant in the room is that I resigned my position (as councillor) this current term, this past year. A number of people have some concern about that, and I understand that,” said Mintoff.
Despite plans of a relaxing retirement, the 71-year-old Tiny resident chose to enter the mayoral race after seeing the experience others were offering to bring to the role.
“I’m really concerned, to be quite frank, that we could very well elect both a mayor and deputy mayor that have absolutely no municipal experience or political experience,” Mintoff explained.
“Having gone through the learning curve of just being a councillor who got on with a number of other members of council who had experience, I found it to be a pretty steep and difficult learning curve,” he explained.
“I think, given the fact that the mayor and also the deputy mayor would be not only trying to manage and steer Tiny but also to participate at the county council as well is a pretty tough act if you have no experience or background at all.”
With this intention, Mintoff simultaneously declared a joint candidacy with fellow resident Steve Saltsman as a candidate for deputy mayor.
“You’ll see our campaign signs showing up pretty soon, and you’ll see that our signs have two names on them, not one. We are running as a tandem,” Mintoff said.
As for the mayoral candidacy, Mintoff has more than 40 years of municipal and provincial experience with roles as a Toronto firefighter, fire chief, and throughout six years as an assistant deputy fire marshal for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. He served on Tiny council for 10 years leading up to his resignation.
His reasons for leaving as councillor were multi-faceted involving several concerns, some of which included the municipal handling of short-term rentals, aggregate operations at French’s Hill near Wyebridge and the threat to clean water in the township, and contentious beach ownership along the township’s shores of Georgian Bay.
These issues are on Mintoff’s campaign list to address, along with affordable housing and the potential opportunities the Huronia Airport can provide.
“We’re just on the cusp of that now,” said Mintoff. “There’s a huge opportunity there to develop some of that property to create aerospace-type jobs, or even unrelated jobs, that would be higher-end scale and that would employ skilled workers.
“I think creating jobs for people is just as important as creating houses for them. If you create the jobs around here, then, hopefully, they’re going to want to live around here. They’re hand in hand.”
Tiny council chambers remains physically closed to members of the public, although meetings are livestreamed and archived for residents to participate through phone or by virtual means. However, Mintoff feels more could be done.
“We really need to do a better job to engage the residents, to give them the sense that in a democratic society they have access to their elected representatives in a meaningful way, not just through Zoom,” he said.
“I think what we need to do is open the council chambers. The province has been open for months. There is no legitimate reason for the council chambers to be closed still. People know that. They’re very offended by it; they’re angry about it.”
He added, “People are starting to become apathetic, which is probably one of the worst ways to undermine our system.”
Information on the Tiny municipal election can be found on the Tiny Township website.
The politics of climate change | TheRecord.com – Waterloo Region Record
In her brilliant 2019 article “The challenging politics of climate change,” Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow with the Washington-based Brookings Institution, explores how “the lack of intensity around (climate change) is simultaneously incomprehensible and totally understandable.”
She offers four explanations: “complexity; jurisdiction and accountability; collective action and trust; and imagination.”
Our climate crisis is a political hot potato because it is complex and voters don’t like complexity. As well, it isn’t obvious how our actions impact the climate — for good or bad. We can’t see greenhouse gas emissions the way we can see water pollution from a chemical plant, or toxic smoke pouring out of a smokestack.
Kamarck says climate change and cybersecurity are “two of the stickiest problems of the 21st century … because it’s so difficult to nail down jurisdiction.” Who is responsible for what? Where does the buck stop? And do we trust our government and politicians to do the right thing?
A half-credit of Civics in high school is not enough for most of us to untangle the Gordian knot of responsibilities in the multiple levels of government impacting our lives.
The politics of climate change is about government action, or the lack of it, but it’s also about navigating the strategies we use to tackle the issue. Since we politicized climate change in the 1970s, our response has been highly divisive. This has to change because everyone is affected and a vigorous and collaborative political response is essential.
Despite the sound science, we still have climate deniers and liars, who come in many forms. The Guardian’s environment editor, Damian Carrington, categorizes them as “the shill, the grifter, the egomaniac and the ideological fool.”
In a Scientific American interview, climate scientist Michael Mann, famous for his hockey stick graph showing the exponential growth in carbon dioxide in our atmosphere from human activity, said that climate deniers have been replaced by inactivists. The deep pockets from the fossil fuel industry are now funding “legislative efforts blocking clean-energy policies” through “deflection, delay, division, despair mongering, doomism.”
Both the oil and tobacco industries share the same devious strategy to shift the blame and responsibility from the corporation to the individual. In 2005, British Petroleum created a marketing campaign for people to calculate their personal carbon footprints. There is no question that we each bear responsibility for our own actions to live sustainably, but who is holding corporations to account?
For the past 10 years, Ottawa-based Gerald Kutney has taken on the climate denialists, bots and trolls to clean up the Twitter-verse. His goal is to stop the propaganda and lies being repeated by the “denial-saurs” from becoming the truth.
Kutney picked Twitter because it’s “the best, ongoing teaching ground about climate denialism in the world, day in and day out.” To counter the piling on from followers of the biggest climate deniers, Kutney introduced #climatebrawl. Just like the bat signal in Batman’s Gotham City, the hashtag alerts an international support system prepared to do battle, armed with the truth about our climate crisis.
We have to trust the evidence-based solutions from our best climate scientists and not the ramblings and rants of disbelievers. Denial-saurs, like most of the contenders for the Canadian Conservative party leadership, are treating our future like a political football.
Kutney’s best advice is “Vote. Just vote,” and hold our elected officials to effective climate-action plans. We cannot afford to be silent in our winner-take-all electoral systems unless we want to be governed by the choices of a minority of climate denialists.
This goes for municipal politics as well. There will be many new faces on councils after this fall’s municipal elections. Our future depends on their commitment to climate action.
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