Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by houser2112 » 2018-02-09 08:12am

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-02-08 11:24pm
^whether.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-02-09 09:58am

Noted and logged.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-02-09 04:53pm

Yes, there are certain specific spelling errors that I habitually make unless I pay very close attention to what I am writing. Yes, I'm sure some people find it annoying. But I can't help but notice that nobody else gets their spelling and grammar nitpicked as much as I do (and I know I'm not the only person here who makes mistakes), nor did I, to my recollection, until, oh, maybe a year ago? Nor do I now on any other forum or social media site that I participate on. Just saying.

Anyway, this has fuck all to do with Trump's domestic policies, so getting back to the topic at hand...

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/08/politics ... index.html
President Donald Trump signed a major budget deal into law early Friday morning, hours after Congress voted to end a brief government shutdown overnight.

The House of Representatives voted 240-186. The GOP-controlled chamber needed help from House Democrats to clear the bill, and 73 Democratic members gave it. Sixty-seven House Republicans voted against the plan.

The colossal bill, which lawmakers have been negotiating for months, is a game-changing piece of legislation, clearing the decks for Congress in dealing with major spending issues as well as doling out disaster relief money and hiking the debt ceiling which was set to be reached next month.

The Senate approved the measure earlier on Friday morning. The federal government briefly shuttered for the second time in less than a month overnight, after Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul prevented the deal from passing Thursday.
Full article in link.

So... a budget is finally passed. No doubt there will be many benefits to doing so. The thought of hitting the debt ceiling particularly makes me nervous. And they apparently did get McConnel to agree to at least schedule a vote on DACA.

However, we don't yet have a deal on DACA, we don't yet have a solution, and I can't help but note that, by passing a longer-term budget agreement, the Democrats have essentially sacrificed their biggest piece of leverage in that fight- the threat of an imminent shutdown.

If, as I fear, DACA expires without legislation to protect the Dreamers, then Senator Schumer and those who voted with him will, in some measure, be complicit in permitting the United States government to commit an act of ethnic cleansing. I will vote Democrat in 2018 because I have no choice- or, rather, because it is effectively a choice between that and open fascism and Russian proxy rule. But not everyone sees it that way, and such failures and concessions will reinforce the common perception of the Democrats as a party of weak and ineffectual compromisers, feed into "both sides" narratives that are wielded so effectively by the Right to suppress and divide progressive turnout, and in this case risk damaging Latino turnout as well.

If a solution on DACA is not reached, then in my opinion, Schumer should resign as Minority leader- and I will call his office, and those of his fellow Senators, and tell them so.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Caiaphas » 2018-02-12 02:47pm

I wasn't around for the last tax code revision; would anyone from that era mind elaborating on what it took last time to revise it and the odds in the present of revising corporate tax rates back up (within the next couple decades, at least)?

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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-02-12 02:56pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-02-09 04:53pm
So... a budget is finally passed. No doubt there will be many benefits to doing so. The thought of hitting the debt ceiling particularly makes me nervous. And they apparently did get McConnel to agree to at least schedule a vote on DACA.

However, we don't yet have a deal on DACA, we don't yet have a solution, and I can't help but note that, by passing a longer-term budget agreement, the Democrats have essentially sacrificed their biggest piece of leverage in that fight- the threat of an imminent shutdown.
Shutting down the government basically always backfires on the party responsible. Throwing away this weapon rather than trying to use it is a bit like throwing away the ticking bomb in your backpack rather than hanging onto it to throw at the enemy later.

In other words, it is a very good idea.
If, as I fear, DACA expires without legislation to protect the Dreamers, then Senator Schumer and those who voted with him will, in some measure, be complicit in permitting the United States government to commit an act of ethnic cleansing.
They will be "complicit" either in the sense that:

1) A vote was held, in which case Republicans holding both houses of Congress and the White House was able to vote such a course of action into law over their objections, which makes them 'complicit.' Or:

2) No vote was held, in which case Republican leaders who promised to hold a vote reneged on their promises to do so, which the Democrats extracted at considerable risk of backfire upon themselves.

Neither is a particularly relevant sense of the word "complicit."

There are middle grounds between "do everything up to and including self-destruction to prevent this course of action" and "complicit."

...

The reality is, elections have consequences, when bad people are elected the consequences are bad, and a minority party has very little leverage with which to make good consequences happen. Even preventing bad consequences is difficult, because the US government isn't actually well designed for that; things would be very different right now if the congress had to pass things by a 55-45 majority or something.

Basically, the only thing stopping the Republicans from doing every terrible thing in the book right now is the Republicans' own incompetence, internal squabbles, and lingering reluctance to do things that will predictably backfire on them in the future (like banning the Senate filibuster). Blaming Democrats for times when the Republicans succeed in doing things they in fact have the power to do whenever they can be bothered to get their act together is folly.
I will vote Democrat in 2018 because I have no choice- or, rather, because it is effectively a choice between that and open fascism and Russian proxy rule. But not everyone sees it that way, and such failures and concessions will reinforce the common perception of the Democrats as a party of weak and ineffectual compromisers, feed into "both sides" narratives that are wielded so effectively by the Right to suppress and divide progressive turnout, and in this case risk damaging Latino turnout as well.

If a solution on DACA is not reached, then in my opinion, Schumer should resign as Minority leader- and I will call his office, and those of his fellow Senators, and tell them so.
If Schumer extracted a promise from McConnell and McConnell reneges, why is it Schumer who should resign?
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-02-13 01:20am

You know what's great about being poor? Struggling to feed yourself. You know how that can be even better? Having Trump dictate what you receive in groceries:

NPR
Trump Administration Wants To Decide What Food SNAP Recipients Will Get
February 12, 20183:21 PM ET
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Rebecka Ortiz offers her daughter a pasta sample at the store where she was using her food stamps to stock up on food for her family in Woonsocket, R.I. The Trump administration is proposing drastic changes in the "food stamp" program, now called SNAP. People getting that aid would lose much of their ability to choose the food they buy.
Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post/Getty Images
The Trump administration is proposing a major shake-up in one of the country's most important "safety net" programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. Under the proposal, most SNAP recipients would lose much of their ability to choose the food they buy with their SNAP benefits.

The proposal is included in the Trump administration budget request for fiscal year 2019. It would require approval from Congress.

Under the proposal, which was announced Monday, low-income Americans who receive at least $90 a month — just over 80 percent of all SNAP recipients — would get about half of their benefits in the form of a "USDA Foods package." The package was described in the budget as consisting of "shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables." The boxes would not include fresh fruits or vegetables.

Trump Offers Spending Blueprint, But Congress Already Wrote The Check
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Trump Offers Spending Blueprint, But Congress Already Wrote The Check
Currently, SNAP beneficiaries get money loaded onto an EBT card they can use to buy what they want as long as it falls under the guidelines. The administration says the move is a "cost-effective approach" with "no loss in food benefits to participants."

The USDA believes that state governments will be able to deliver this food at much less cost than SNAP recipients currently pay for food at retail stores — thus reducing the overall cost of the SNAP program by $129 billion over the next 10 years.

This and other changes in the SNAP program, according to the Trump administration, will reduce the SNAP budget by $213 billion over those years — cutting the program by almost 30 percent.

Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a hunger advocacy group that also helps clients access food-assistance services, said the administration's plan left him baffled. "They have managed to propose nearly the impossible, taking over $200 billion worth of food from low-income Americans while increasing bureaucracy and reducing choices," Berg says.

He says SNAP is efficient because it is a "free market model" that lets recipients shop at stores for their benefits. The Trump administration's proposal, he said, "is a far more intrusive, Big Government answer. They think a bureaucrat in D.C. is better at picking out what your family needs than you are?"

Trump Wants Families On Food Stamps To Get Jobs. The Majority Already Work
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Trump Wants Families On Food Stamps To Get Jobs. The Majority Already Work
Douglas Greenaway, president of the National WIC Association, echoed that sentiment. "Removing choice from SNAP flies in the face of encouraging personal responsibility," he said. He says "the budget seems to assume that participating in SNAP is a character flaw."

It isn't clear how billions of dollars' worth of food each year would be distributed to millions of SNAP recipients who live all over the country, including dense urban areas and sparsely populated rural regions. The budget says states will have "substantial flexibility in designing the food box delivery system through existing infrastructure, partnerships or commercial/retail delivery services."

Critics of the proposal said distributing that much food presents a logistical nightmare. "Among the problems, it's going to be costly and take money out of the [SNAP] program from the administrative side. It's going to stigmatize people when they have to go to certain places to pick up benefits," says Jim Weill, president of the nonprofit Food Research and Action Center.

Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, called the proposal "radical and risky." The idea that the government could save money by distributing food itself, she said, is "ill-informed at best."

It isn't clear whether the boxes will come with directions on how to cook the foods inside. "It could be something that [SNAP recipients] don't even know how to make," notes Miguelina Diaz, whose team at Hunger Free America works directly with families to help them access food aid. "We deal with different people of different backgrounds. Limiting them by providing them a staple box would limit the choices of food they can prepare for their families."

According to Dean, from CBPP, the Trump administration wants to trim an additional $80 billion from the SNAP program by cutting off about 4 million people who currently receive food assistance. Most of them live in states that have decided to loosen the program's eligibility requirements slightly. Under the administration's proposal, states would no longer be able to do so.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in early December that he wanted states to have more flexibility in doling out SNAP, announcing the agency wanted to hear about programs from states that don't increase the cost of the program and will combat what he said is fraud and waste. At the National Grocers Association conference over the weekend, Perdue said the budget has "common-sense reforms that call for greater consistency across nutritional programs."

Nutrition programs, including SNAP, made up about 80 percent of the USDA's budget in the most recent farm bill, making it the largest portion of agency spending. About 44 million people participated in SNAP each month in 2016, at an annual cost of $70.9 billion. Nearly two-thirds were under 18, over 60 or disabled, according to the USDA.

Congress largely ignored Trump's proposed budget for SNAP last year, when he wanted to cut the funding by a quarter. This time, it's a farm bill year, meaning many budgetary decisions will be made among the House and Senate agriculture committees.

Several critics we spoke with expressed skepticism that the proposed SNAP changes would pass in Congress. Even so, Weill says, "Whenever you see proposals like this that attack [SNAP] ... it harms the program even if it doesn't pass, in the long term reducing support for the program and stigmatizing people who use it."
Hope you like peanut butter, pasta, shelf milk, and canned veggies. Anything else is too good for you poor people.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Ralin » 2018-02-13 03:18am

Is this really a completely bad idea? Food deserts are a thing, and there is something to be said for sending non-perishable foods to people on public assistance instead of letting convenience stores soak up EBT dollars.

I'd rather it was in addition to existing SNAP benefits, but it has potential.

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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Dragon Angel » 2018-02-13 04:00am

Will there be enough food that can proportionally feed a family? Or will that family have to tightly ration or risk starvation?
Will food actually be in people's hands? Or will the logistical nightmare the article talks about cause many to miss out?
Will the food be substantial enough to satisfy the body's needs? Or will there be a slapdash allocation that will end up nutritionally depriving people?
Who will be contracted to provide the food? Is there a guarantee that whoever provides this food will not cut corners, as is the case with many privatized services? Or will there be regulations to curb that?
How will this affect local economies, where expected revenue from SNAP users will step right off the cliff?

These questions (and god damn more, I thought of these in only like 5 minutes) need to be answered, and to be honest, do you really expect this current administration, who has and is continuing to completely screw up whatever it touches, to not screw this up as well? Do you expect them to not Make America Starve Again?

This is so fucking ironic coming from the party of "Small Government", who has for decades criticized anything even remotely Socialist as "the GOVERNMENT is trying to TELL YOU what YOU SHOULD DO". This is literally stuff from their vision of a total communist government. Except as we all know from other areas they have touched, this can be expected to fail and fail brilliantly or catastrophically, choose your adverb.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Thanas » 2018-02-13 06:07am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-02-09 04:53pm
Yes, there are certain specific spelling errors that I habitually make unless I pay very close attention to what I am writing. Yes, I'm sure some people find it annoying. But I can't help but notice that nobody else gets their spelling and grammar nitpicked as much as I do (and I know I'm not the only person here who makes mistakes), nor did I, to my recollection, until, oh, maybe a year ago? Nor do I now on any other forum or social media site that I participate on. Just saying.
"Just saying", the perfect saying for cowards who want to make an accusation without making an accusation. Typical TRR cowardly behaviour.
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Re: Trump Dump: Intfoodernal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Broomstick » 2018-02-13 08:44am

Ralin wrote:
2018-02-13 03:18am
Is this really a completely bad idea? Food deserts are a thing, and there is something to be said for sending non-perishable foods to people on public assistance instead of letting convenience stores soak up EBT dollars.

I'd rather it was in addition to existing SNAP benefits, but it has potential.
Food benefits started in the Great Depression with actual staples given to the poor - my mother recalled sacks of flour and the like. We started with government distribution of actual foods. When I was a poor college student in the 1980's we had "government cheese" and the tail end of actual commodity distribution. We started with that. Why do you think we moved from that system to the current one?

In addition to other problems listed by other posters:

Taking EBT dollars out of the current food system (i.e. grocery stores) is going to have an enormous impact on the primary food distribution sites, that is, stores, and the people who work in them such as myself. EBT money doesn't fall into a black hole, it goes to pay food producers and store staff, it pays utility bills and rent/mortgages, it pays the truck drivers who transport the food and the farmers and factories that produce it.

Setting up an alternative to the current food distribution system will be redundant and expensive as hell. We already have an efficient food distribution service, it's called "grocery stores". (US grocery stores run at a 3-4% profit at most, they have to be efficient or they go out of business)

Apparently, there's no provision for dietary issues. A LOT of adults, even in the US with it's heavy European ancestry, can't digest milk and thus the milk provided is useless or worse. This will impact people of color more than white people, as the ability to digest milk is strongly linked to ancestry (mostly northern Europe, a few groups in Africa, and India) People with peanut allergies can just fucking die, I suppose. This makes EBT more like WIC, which is a headache to administer but at least has options for the milk-intolerant or other dietary issues.

Non-perishable foods are ALREADY available to people on EBT.

This is intrusive, big government intervention even the left wouldn't approve of, why the fuck are the Republicans doing this? ("Being mean" comes to mind)

And yeah - the vast majority of people on EBT work. It's fucking program requirement already. Unless you're disabled after 3-6 months (it varies due to stuff I don't want to drag in here for brevity sake) you either are 1) working, 2) looking for work under a monitored system, 3) a full time student, 4) a full time caretaker for kids under school age, or 5) forced into some sort of volunteer or state-subsidized work. If you don't do that you lose the benefits.

This is re-engineering a system that actually works fairly well based on MYTHS about who is on welfare and why, and what those people are like.

I am now going to find a wall I can punch. :banghead:
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Esquire » 2018-02-13 09:41am

Ralin wrote:
2018-02-13 03:18am
Is this really a completely bad idea? Food deserts are a thing, and there is something to be said for sending non-perishable foods to people on public assistance instead of letting convenience stores soak up EBT dollars.

I'd rather it was in addition to existing SNAP benefits, but it has potential.
Yes, it really is a completely bad idea. It'll reduce received benefits by any useful metric, severely disrupt local economies in precisely those areas where they can least afford it, and - as the Republican Party has always been so fond of - require an entire new layer or two of intrusive government bureaucracy.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-02-13 11:53am

I've participated in WIC. It's a truly massive pain in the ass. If this is going to make basic food aid distribution as much of a pain as well... it's going to do nothing but clog the arteries of local governments even worse as people try to cope with it, and people will quite literally starve because a LOT of folks depend on this kind of assistance. I wouldn't have because both my wife and I had jobs... but if one of us hadn't been able to work for an extended period... yeah.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Broomstick » 2018-02-13 12:26pm

If you think WIC is a pain in the ass now let me tell you about the days of paper vouchers....

But yeah, it would be like WIC, only even more inconvenient and byzantine.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Wild Zontargs » 2018-02-13 01:15pm

Esquire wrote:
2018-02-13 09:41am
Yes, it really is a completely bad idea. It'll reduce received benefits by any useful metric, severely disrupt local economies in precisely those areas where they can least afford it, and - as the Republican Party has always been so fond of - require an entire new layer or two of intrusive government bureaucracy.
To be fair, it sounds like they plan to expand existing programs to accomplish this:
Under the USDA America's Harvest Box proposal, all Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participating households receiving $90 per month or more in benefits will receive a package of nutritious, 100-percent U.S. grown and produced food. Approximately 16.4 million households, or about 81 percent of SNAP households would be impacted by this proposal.

The amount of food received per household would be scaled to the overall size of the household's SNAP allotment, ultimately representing about half of their benefits. SNAP participants would receive domestically-sourced and produced food in lieu of a portion of their SNAP benefits.

USDA would utilize a model similar to that currently used to distribute USDA Foods to other nutrition assistance programs to provide staple, shelf-stable foods (such as shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, ready-eat-cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables) to SNAP households at approximately half the retail cost.

This proposal creates a new approach to nutrition assistance that combines retail-based SNAP benefits with delivery of USDA America's Harvest Boxes supporting the President's leadership on Buy American. This proposal is cost-effective, enhances the integrity of SNAP, and provides for states' flexibility in administration of the program.

The remainder of the household's benefits will still be provided via the current Electronic Benefit Transfer card.

This proposal would save $129.2 billion over the ten-year period between Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 and FY 2028. This estimate accounts for about $2.5 billion annually in additional administrative funds for states.

USDA currently purchases a wide variety of food for several nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch Program, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, The Emergency Food Assistance Program, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

States will be given substantial flexibility to distribute these food benefits to participants. States can distribute these boxes through existing infrastructure, partnerships, and/or directly to residences through commercial and/or retail delivery services.
If they really are able to simply extend existing programs to SNAP recipients, and use existing systems for delivery, I'm not certain it's a terrible idea.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-02-13 01:57pm

Thanas wrote:
2018-02-13 06:07am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-02-09 04:53pm
Yes, there are certain specific spelling errors that I habitually make unless I pay very close attention to what I am writing. Yes, I'm sure some people find it annoying. But I can't help but notice that nobody else gets their spelling and grammar nitpicked as much as I do (and I know I'm not the only person here who makes mistakes), nor did I, to my recollection, until, oh, maybe a year ago? Nor do I now on any other forum or social media site that I participate on. Just saying.
"Just saying", the perfect saying for cowards who want to make an accusation without making an accusation. Typical TRR cowardly behaviour.
I stated a fact. I did not speculate as to the reason for it, nor did I make any "accusation" beyond that which I stated directly (that I am subject, for whatever reason, to disproportionate criticism on this topic). Nor will I be baited by a clumsy accusation of cowardice into further derailing this thread with a rant upon the topic, which is, after all, not about me (and I'd much prefer that it remain that way).
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Broomstick » 2018-02-13 02:08pm

Wild Zontargs wrote:
2018-02-13 01:15pm
Esquire wrote:
2018-02-13 09:41am
Yes, it really is a completely bad idea. It'll reduce received benefits by any useful metric, severely disrupt local economies in precisely those areas where they can least afford it, and - as the Republican Party has always been so fond of - require an entire new layer or two of intrusive government bureaucracy.
To be fair, it sounds like they plan to expand existing programs to accomplish this:
Fuck NO this is not an expansion - the stated intent is to CUT benefits, not increase them! Or even maintain them at the same level.
The amount of food received per household would be scaled to the overall size of the household's SNAP allotment, ultimately representing about half of their benefits. SNAP participants would receive domestically-sourced and produced food in lieu of a portion of their SNAP benefits.
Do you know what in "in lieu" means? It means INSTEAD OF. This is in no way an expansion of anything.
USDA would utilize a model similar to that currently used to distribute USDA Foods to other nutrition assistance programs to provide staple, shelf-stable foods (such as shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, ready-eat-cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables) to SNAP households at approximately half the retail cost.
And, again - fuck you if you can't digest milk. Fuck you if you have a peanut or bean allergy. Fuck you, you don't deserve fresh fruit and vegetables, enjoy your scurvy.
If they really are able to simply extend existing programs to SNAP recipients, and use existing systems for delivery, I'm not certain it's a terrible idea.
Know what the current "existing delivery system" for SNAP food is? THE FUCKING GROCERY STORE.

Right now EBT accounts are filled ELECTRONICALLY - no mail, no delivery of actual material objects. Just electrons. Pray tell, what is cheaper than that in this world? Then the poor people get themselves to the "food distribution center" a.k.a. THE FUCKING GROCERY STORE and pick up the food themselves.

There is NO fucking way this is going to be cheaper. There is not a goddamned reason to set up a parallel food delivery system in this nation. This is a hate-based policy to fuck the poor, interfere with their lives, and reduce the food going to the poor. It's shit, bullshit, and more shit.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-02-13 02:12pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-02-12 02:56pm
Shutting down the government basically always backfires on the party responsible. Throwing away this weapon rather than trying to use it is a bit like throwing away the ticking bomb in your backpack rather than hanging onto it to throw at the enemy later.

In other words, it is a very good idea.
I would strongly question the claim that the Democrats are "the party responsible" for a shutdown, when the Republicans consistently break their word and refuse a fair compromise.

How the voters will perceive it, of course, depends on many factors. Shutting down the government under Obama did not seem to hurt the Republicans much- if anything, the party of the sitting President tends to take the blame whenever anything goes wrong.

In either case, I am reluctant to surrender our main piece of leverage which gives us options other than "Ineffectually rant while the Dreamers get deported" or "Make a "compromise" where we endorse draconian white supremacist border policy on other points to save them."
They will be "complicit" either in the sense that:

1) A vote was held, in which case Republicans holding both houses of Congress and the White House was able to vote such a course of action into law over their objections, which makes them 'complicit.' Or:

2) No vote was held, in which case Republican leaders who promised to hold a vote reneged on their promises to do so, which the Democrats extracted at considerable risk of backfire upon themselves.

Neither is a particularly relevant sense of the word "complicit."
The question is: has the Democratic leadership made a reasonable effort? Or have they talked a good game, while conceding anything that might actually give them effect leverage in a (at best) naïve trust that the Republicans will keep their word this time?
There are middle grounds between "do everything up to and including self-destruction to prevent this course of action" and "complicit."

...
I'm aware. But if Schumer doesn't expect the Republicans to go back on their word, then he has utterly failed to learn from experience.
The reality is, elections have consequences, when bad people are elected the consequences are bad, and a minority party has very little leverage with which to make good consequences happen. Even preventing bad consequences is difficult, because the US government isn't actually well designed for that; things would be very different right now if the congress had to pass things by a 55-45 majority or something.
Normally, I'd say "well, that's democracy", if not for our abundance of voter suppression laws and the Electoral College slanting the result.

But that position of disadvantage is, to me, all the more reason not to surrender the little leverage we, as the minority in government (as opposed to public opinion), possess. Or, to borrow a line from the new Churchill movie: "You cannot negotiate with the tiger while your head is in its mouth."
Basically, the only thing stopping the Republicans from doing every terrible thing in the book right now is the Republicans' own incompetence, internal squabbles, and lingering reluctance to do things that will predictably backfire on them in the future (like banning the Senate filibuster). Blaming Democrats for times when the Republicans succeed in doing things they in fact have the power to do whenever they can be bothered to get their act together is folly.
I don't, on the whole, blame the Democrats, as you know.

I do question weather Schumer has made the right tactical choices on DACA. He seems to waffle between a hard-line stance and a compromise one, which is arguably worse than committing to either. As it stands, he'll likely end up getting blame for a shutdown without getting much tangible on DACA in return.

But I acknowledge that we are not privy to knowledge of all the negotiations going on behind closed doors. Schumer may know something I don't to justify his actions.
]If Schumer extracted a promise from McConnell and McConnell reneges, why is it Schumer who should resign?
I'd have thought "McConnel should resign" goes without saying. Though I don't believe that McConnel is capable of shame.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Thanas » 2018-02-13 02:41pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-02-13 01:57pm
I stated a fact. I did not speculate as to the reason for it, nor did I make any "accusation" beyond that which I stated directly (that I am subject, for whatever reason, to disproportionate criticism on this topic).
Neither of those are facts, just your mistaken perception of being somehow singled out for criticism.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Esquire » 2018-02-13 03:01pm

Wild Zontargs wrote:
2018-02-13 01:15pm
Esquire wrote:
2018-02-13 09:41am
Yes, it really is a completely bad idea. It'll reduce received benefits by any useful metric, severely disrupt local economies in precisely those areas where they can least afford it, and - as the Republican Party has always been so fond of - require an entire new layer or two of intrusive government bureaucracy.
To be fair, it sounds like they plan to expand existing programs to accomplish this:
No. There is no 'to be fair;' the plan does nothing of the sort and, by logical necessity, will do essentially the opposite of this. As Broomstick said, do you not know what 'in lieu of' means?
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-02-13 03:06pm

Thanas wrote:
2018-02-13 02:41pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-02-13 01:57pm
I stated a fact. I did not speculate as to the reason for it, nor did I make any "accusation" beyond that which I stated directly (that I am subject, for whatever reason, to disproportionate criticism on this topic).
Neither of those are facts, just your mistaken perception of being somehow singled out for criticism.
Well, I will concede that I have not done an exhaustive survey on the subject. It is, as you say, my perception. Apologies if I am oversensitive on this point, though I still consider your accusation of cowardice and dishonesty unwarranted. Apologies also for continuing this ridiculous tangent. I'm happy to drop it if you will.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Wild Zontargs » 2018-02-13 03:17pm

Broomstick, I think you're misunderstanding me. I'm not talking about expanding food aid to the poor programs, I'm talking about expanding existing USDA distributes food to various clients programs instead of creating an entire new bureaucratic department.
Broomstick wrote:
2018-02-13 02:08pm
Fuck NO this is not an expansion - the stated intent is to CUT benefits, not increase them! Or even maintain them at the same level.
Cutting the expense of the benefit program while maintaining the overall quantity of food provided seems to be the stated intent.
Do you know what in "in lieu" means? It means INSTEAD OF. This is in no way an expansion of anything.
See above. Expanding USDA programs, not expanding "quantity of food delivered".
And, again - fuck you if you can't digest milk. Fuck you if you have a peanut or bean allergy. Fuck you, you don't deserve fresh fruit and vegetables, enjoy your scurvy.
Is there any reason to believe that there will only be one single "eat it or don't" box, rather than an option to get a "lactose intolerant" box, a "peanut allergy" box, a "gluten intolerant" box, etc? If the USDA is already doing similar food delivery systems to other clients, I'd be surprised to hear that they don't have alternatives available. Here's what they had available for the Reservation system, I'm sure someone can come up with various boxes meeting the above conditions out of this list.
Know what the current "existing delivery system" for SNAP food is? THE FUCKING GROCERY STORE.
OK, but what's the USDA's existing delivery system for "the National School Lunch Program, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, The Emergency Food Assistance Program, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations"?
Right now EBT accounts are filled ELECTRONICALLY - no mail, no delivery of actual material objects. Just electrons. Pray tell, what is cheaper than that in this world? Then the poor people get themselves to the "food distribution center" a.k.a. THE FUCKING GROCERY STORE and pick up the food themselves.

There is NO fucking way this is going to be cheaper. There is not a goddamned reason to set up a parallel food delivery system in this nation. This is a hate-based policy to fuck the poor, interfere with their lives, and reduce the food going to the poor. It's shit, bullshit, and more shit.

In 2012, the Reservation system currently spent ~$38M on administration and ~$65M on food. They covered ~85k people. That's ~$450 on admin (this appears to include delivery to the Reservations) and ~$760 on food per person (total cost ~$1210 per person). SNAP spent ~$74600M on food and ~$3800M on admin to cover ~$46600k people. That's ~$81 on admin and ~$1601 on food per person (total cost ~$1680 per person).

This proposal estimates an additional expenditure of ~$2500M on admin and a savings of ~$13000M on food each year. Using 2012 numbers, that would put SNAP at ~$135 for admin per person and ~$1322 for food (total cost ~$1457 per person). So that's more expensive than the Reservation system, but cheaper than current SNAP.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-02-13 03:47pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-02-13 02:12pm
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-02-12 02:56pm
Shutting down the government basically always backfires on the party responsible. Throwing away this weapon rather than trying to use it is a bit like throwing away the ticking bomb in your backpack rather than hanging onto it to throw at the enemy later.

In other words, it is a very good idea.
I would strongly question the claim that the Democrats are "the party responsible" for a shutdown, when the Republicans consistently break their word and refuse a fair compromise.
Okay but see, if you're going to say "the Republicans, not the Democrats, are responsible for a shutdown brought about by a Democratic filibuster, due to this filibuster being a reaction to Republicans not keeping their word," and then say "Schumer is to blame when the Republicans don't keep their word," it's an inconsistent standard.

Either Democrats have agency and should be able to predict Republican intransingence, or they don't and shouldn't.
How the voters will perceive it, of course, depends on many factors. Shutting down the government under Obama did not seem to hurt the Republicans much- if anything, the party of the sitting President tends to take the blame whenever anything goes wrong.
The Republicans got nothing from their shutdowns; they were able to hang onto their majorities (in part because of a simultaneous wave of gerrymandering), but that's it. In 1995 the shutdowns had a terrible effect on the Republicans.

There is NO history of deliberately courting shutdown ending well for the party that courts it. It is at best a least-bad option; a sword so sharp that it will predictably cut our own hand if we try to wield it.
The question is: has the Democratic leadership made a reasonable effort? Or have they talked a good game, while conceding anything that might actually give them effect leverage in a (at best) naïve trust that the Republicans will keep their word this time?
The thing is, I don't think this was ever an issue the Republicans were going to fold on, especially not if they knew they could maneuver the Democrats into a position of having to look like the goons wrecking the government for a change. Donald Trump is a dickhead. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are assholes. They can keep being obstinate and pushing a frankly evil and horrible policy much, much longer than anyone else can keep up a good reputation while getting down into the mud with them.
There are middle grounds between "do everything up to and including self-destruction to prevent this course of action" and "complicit."

...
I'm aware. But if Schumer doesn't expect the Republicans to go back on their word, then he has utterly failed to learn from experience.
The reality is, elections have consequences, when bad people are elected the consequences are bad, and a minority party has very little leverage with which to make good consequences happen. Even preventing bad consequences is difficult, because the US government isn't actually well designed for that; things would be very different right now if the congress had to pass things by a 55-45 majority or something.
Normally, I'd say "well, that's democracy", if not for our abundance of voter suppression laws and the Electoral College slanting the result.

But that position of disadvantage is, to me, all the more reason not to surrender the little leverage we, as the minority in government (as opposed to public opinion), possess. Or, to borrow a line from the new Churchill movie: "You cannot negotiate with the tiger while your head is in its mouth."
The thing is, when your head is in the mouth of a tiger, you cannot negotiate, but at the same time, ALL your strength must go into extricating yourself from its jaws. There is nothing left over for any lesser purpose. If all you have is a dinky, badly outgunned position, you pick your battles very carefully, or you lose that position and lose everything else along with it.
Basically, the only thing stopping the Republicans from doing every terrible thing in the book right now is the Republicans' own incompetence, internal squabbles, and lingering reluctance to do things that will predictably backfire on them in the future (like banning the Senate filibuster). Blaming Democrats for times when the Republicans succeed in doing things they in fact have the power to do whenever they can be bothered to get their act together is folly.
I don't, on the whole, blame the Democrats, as you know.

I do question weather Schumer has made the right tactical choices on DACA. He seems to waffle between a hard-line stance and a compromise one, which is arguably worse than committing to either. As it stands, he'll likely end up getting blame for a shutdown without getting much tangible on DACA in return.

But I acknowledge that we are not privy to knowledge of all the negotiations going on behind closed doors. Schumer may know something I don't to justify his actions.
Or Schumer may have a different long range plan, or may have notions that he can make Mitch McConnell's failure to keep his word bite him in the butt in the long run. I can easily see that happening, for instance, if a number of Republican senators who are probably already tired of being treated like 'useful idiots' by McConnell get "I know rights" from the Democrats.
Wild Zontargs wrote:
2018-02-13 03:17pm
In 2012, the Reservation system currently spent ~$38M on administration and ~$65M on food. They covered ~85k people. That's ~$450 on admin (this appears to include delivery to the Reservations) and ~$760 on food per person (total cost ~$1210 per person). SNAP spent ~$74600M on food and ~$3800M on admin to cover ~$46600k people. That's ~$81 on admin and ~$1601 on food per person (total cost ~$1680 per person).

This proposal estimates an additional expenditure of ~$2500M on admin and a savings of ~$13000M on food each year. Using 2012 numbers, that would put SNAP at ~$135 for admin per person and ~$1322 for food (total cost ~$1457 per person). So that's more expensive than the Reservation system, but cheaper than current SNAP.
The thing is, cutting the expenditure on food per person isn't a good thing. Seriously, that money goes straight into local economies, it has an active multiplier effect, it creates jobs, it's beneficial. It's not just wasted money.

If anything, the wasted money is the administrative costs of the program. Because that is money that goes to 'tail' and not to 'tooth.' It is actively better to spend 100 dollars buying food for homeless people than to spend 30 dollars administering a program that spends 60 dollars buying food for homeless people. Because at least with the first problem you get what you pay for: underemployed people whose children get to have full bellies. With the latter program, you have to spend almost as much, for a program that simply cannot deliver benefits of the same magnitude.

It's not gonna get cheaper without cutting either quantity (pushing people off the rolls to starve) or quality (standardizing on "staples" not everyone can eat, going with cheap suppliers). More likely, cost goes up or stays constant, some crony of Trump's gets the contracts to distribute the meals, and the people who are actually in danger of starvation get the shaft.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Esquire » 2018-02-13 03:56pm

Let me just observe, Wild Zontargs, that I am extremely suspicious of this administration's cost estimates, due to the well-established habit of almost literally all high officials in it to lie about anything imaginable, even/especially when it's easily falsifiable. This is over and above the negative effects we can reasonably predict even if your cited estimates were perfectly accurate.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by LadyTevar » 2018-02-13 05:03pm

Wild Zontargs wrote:
2018-02-13 03:17pm
Broomstick, I think you're misunderstanding me. I'm not talking about expanding food aid to the poor programs, I'm talking about expanding existing USDA distributes food to various clients programs instead of creating an entire new bureaucratic department.
Pray tell what USDA distributions are you referring to? Food banks? School Programs? Programs that are limited in scale because they deal with specific organizations?
And, again - fuck you if you can't digest milk. Fuck you if you have a peanut or bean allergy. Fuck you, you don't deserve fresh fruit and vegetables, enjoy your scurvy.
Is there any reason to believe that there will only be one single "eat it or don't" box, rather than an option to get a "lactose intolerant" box, a "peanut allergy" box, a "gluten intolerant" box, etc? If the USDA is already doing similar food delivery systems to other clients, I'd be surprised to hear that they don't have alternatives available. Here's what they had available for the Reservation system, I'm sure someone can come up with various boxes meeting the above conditions out of this list.
They can. But WILL THEY? I doubt it, because they're wanting to cut costs as much as possible. Powdered milk is far cheaper than Almond milk, even if they're both Shelf Stable. They might not pass out Peanut butter, but there'll be some form of non-meat protein, because Meat is Expensive. Canned food is possible, but cans are heavy while cardboard boxes are cheap.
Want to know what the staples were the Last Time they did this in the 1930s-1970s Government Assistance Program? Block processed cheese (aka Velveta). Powdered milk (Carnation brand). Large box of macaroni And/Or a bag of rice. Bag of pinto or northern beans. Corn flour or plain flour. Canned Meat & gravy (beef or pork). ((This list courtesy of my Mother, whose family received these staples when she was growing up. These are also the staples I recall my Grandma receiving back in the 70s.))
Right now EBT accounts are filled ELECTRONICALLY - no mail, no delivery of actual material objects. Just electrons. Pray tell, what is cheaper than that in this world? Then the poor people get themselves to the "food distribution center" a.k.a. THE FUCKING GROCERY STORE and pick up the food themselves.

There is NO fucking way this is going to be cheaper. There is not a goddamned reason to set up a parallel food delivery system in this nation. This is a hate-based policy to fuck the poor, interfere with their lives, and reduce the food going to the poor. It's shit, bullshit, and more shit.

In 2012, the Reservation system currently spent ~$38M on administration and ~$65M on food. They covered ~85k people. That's ~$450 on admin (this appears to include delivery to the Reservations) and ~$760 on food per person (total cost ~$1210 per person). SNAP spent ~$74600M on food and ~$3800M on admin to cover ~$46600k people. That's ~$81 on admin and ~$1601 on food per person (total cost ~$1680 per person).

This proposal estimates an additional expenditure of ~$2500M on admin and a savings of ~$13000M on food each year. Using 2012 numbers, that would put SNAP at ~$135 for admin per person and ~$1322 for food (total cost ~$1457 per person). So that's more expensive than the Reservation system, but cheaper than current SNAP.
There's a lot less people on a Reservation than are on SNAP in the US. Delivery and distribution costs would not increase linearly, but exponentially. There's the cost of a place to warehouse each State's portion, a cost for warehousing each county's portion, a cost for each town/community to buy/rent a place for citizens to pick up the goods. There's paying the people to work those warehouses and distribution sites.
Then there's the question of community size. Even assuming they use schools for distribution sites, not every town has even an elementary school anymore. In West Virginia, some schools are three hour bus rides from a child's home -- are the parents to make a two-three hour trip just for a box of the very basic staples?
As Broomstick said, there's a reason why the Government switched to Food Stamps. Even when they were printing out "stamps" (using the same print machines that minted real money), it was more economical on the Federal Scale than dealing with Gov'ment Cheese Distribution. Yes, there was a black market in food stamp money, since there was no way to prove a booklet belonged to the person using it. Hell, my former best friend got so much in stamps, she shared the excess with me every month for a couple years! That's why Stamps went electronic, because it was far easier to track and reduce fraud. (Then I just went to the store with her, and she bought me things, instead of handing over a booklet.)
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-02-13 05:29pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-02-13 03:47pm
Okay but see, if you're going to say "the Republicans, not the Democrats, are responsible for a shutdown brought about by a Democratic filibuster, due to this filibuster being a reaction to Republicans not keeping their word," and then say "Schumer is to blame when the Republicans don't keep their word," it's an inconsistent standard.
Schumer isn't at fault for the Republicans breaking their word, but he arguably is at fault if he trades away his best means to counter them when they predictably do so, in exchange for small or non-existent gains.
Either Democrats have agency and should be able to predict Republican intransingence, or they don't and shouldn't.
I'm not sure that I follow.

Democrats should expect Republicans to play false. Logically, then, we have two choices that follow from that:

1. Expect that we will get played and get little or nothing, and accept that.

2. Retain what leverage we can to use against the Republicans.

Yes, we know that using that leverage might lead to a shutdown, and all its negative consequences. However, it is also the Republicans' choice to let the government shut down rather than give us a fair deal. If we say "Deal with us fairly and honestly, or we wont' fund your government", and the Republicans choose a shut down over a fair compromise, I'm sure how that makes it the Democrats' fault.

Some principles are worth the cost. And he who resists injustice does not share equal blame for the resulting conflict with the aggressor.
The Republicans got nothing from their shutdowns; they were able to hang onto their majorities (in part because of a simultaneous wave of gerrymandering), but that's it. In 1995 the shutdowns had a terrible effect on the Republicans.

There is NO history of deliberately courting shutdown ending well for the party that courts it. It is at best a least-bad option; a sword so sharp that it will predictably cut our own hand if we try to wield it.
Its a dangerous option that should not be invoked lightly, but there are few better causes than "A last-ditch effort to prevent the US government from becoming complicit in an act of ethnic cleansing, against the will of the vast majority of voters."
The thing is, I don't think this was ever an issue the Republicans were going to fold on, especially not if they knew they could maneuver the Democrats into a position of having to look like the goons wrecking the government for a change. Donald Trump is a dickhead. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are assholes. They can keep being obstinate and pushing a frankly evil and horrible policy much, much longer than anyone else can keep up a good reputation while getting down into the mud with them.
So just accept that 800,000 innocent people, who are Americans in every sense but a legal technicality, are going to be deported for the sake of racism and xenophobia?

That, to me, is an unacceptable outcome. A line in the sand. And if a shutdown is a poor option, then the other options to avert it if Republicans won't compromise get progressively more dangerous, starting with large-scale obstruction and passive resistance, and ending with armed resistance.
The thing is, when your head is in the mouth of a tiger, you cannot negotiate, but at the same time, ALL your strength must go into extricating yourself from its jaws. There is nothing left over for any lesser purpose. If all you have is a dinky, badly outgunned position, you pick your battles very carefully, or you lose that position and lose everything else along with it.
Indeed.

Extricating our heads, in this case, means winning in 2018 and 2020. So the question, if you want to leave principle aside and put it coldly in terms of short-term pragmatism, is:

Will being possibly perceived as responsible for a shutdown hurt us more with the electorate than having failed to protect the Dreamers? Keeping in mind that one of the most damaging narratives used against the Democrats (however unjustly) is that they are weak compromisers, or "No different than the Republicans."

I do not want to see depressed progressive and Latino turnout in November because the Democrats are seen as having caved on DACA.
Or Schumer may have a different long range plan, or may have notions that he can make Mitch McConnell's failure to keep his word bite him in the butt in the long run. I can easily see that happening, for instance, if a number of Republican senators who are probably already tired of being treated like 'useful idiots' by McConnell get "I know rights" from the Democrats.
Or it could be spun the other way, as the Democrats not really caring about minorities, being no different from Republicans, etc. There is a large and receptive market for that sort of narrative already.
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