TRUMP’S NEW HEALTHCARE: REFORM OR DEBACLE?
Donald Trump killed Obamacare, but his new healthcare legislation is not a reform but a debacle, some say. “A dreadful bill”, said the New York Times, and a display “of breathtaking hypocrisy” where Republicans passed the Bill without holding any hearings or giving the Congressional Budget Office time to do an analysis. The Bill would strip at least 24 million Americans of health insurance.
The Washington Post said the new legislation is not “the healthcare for everybody” that Trump had earlier promised.
The Bill cuts $880 billion over 10 years from Medicaid, that’s one-fourth of its budget. It slashes insurance subsidies, eliminates mandatory health insurance, waives the requirement that insurers sell policies to people with prior health problems and not charge them higher rates, and takes federal money away from the organization, which provides birth control.
EUROPE UNSURE ABOUT HOW TO TALK TO TRUMP ABOUT CLIMATE
Don’t abandon Paris climate deal: that is what European governments want to tell Trump. But they’re uncertain how best to influence the unpredictable, media-obsessed leader — and fearful of angering him if they overplay their hand.
Warning the U.S. of dire diplomatic consequences if it withdraws may not work with Trump. The U.S. State Department has few if any political appointees focused on climate change. How must they highlight the harm that would result if the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases were to abandon the most extensive global deal ever reached for addressing climate change?
They fear that a U.S. withdrawal could result in a “domino effect” prompting other countries to follow suit. But some also see room for hope in the manner in which Trump changed his decision on NAFTA at the last minute.
OBAMA’S FRENCH CONNECTION
Does it help or harm if a former US president supports an election candidate in another country? Barack Obama made a last-minute intervention in the French presidential election campaign with a video message to support centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, saying “the success of France matters to the entire world”.
He said Macron appealed to “people’s hopes and not their fears”, referring to the far right leader Marine Le Pen who has campaigned on an anti-immigrant and anti-globalisation platform.
Before leaving the White House, Obama had said he would intervene in public life again when “our core values may be at stake”. He is now worried about the political trajectory of the European Union.
But some worried that Obama’s message could end up motivating Le Pen’s voters who are anti-elite, or anti-American and even racist.
LEFT WORRIES THAT THE RIGHT IS USURPING THEIR ISSUES
It is strange that capitalism’s noisiest enemies are now on the Right, lamented an essay in The Guardian. Listening to Le Pen attack Macron for being a creature of global finance is a reminder of a disturbing feature of modern political life: the extent to which the attack upon capitalism has migrated from the Left to the Right.
To portray free-market capitalism as a bad thing for the poor was the job of the Left. But the EU and Brexit debate has skewed the traditional Left-Right binary. It has forced the so-called Left to abandon its historical position of being anti-free trade and globalisation. Also, economic resentment has found new places to express itself. Right wing politicians are now successfully harnessing and turning it against foreigners and Islam as well as the liberal capitalist establishment.
IN AMERICA, THE RELIGIOUS CLERGY NEED NOT FEAR THE TAXMAN
Donald Trump has pledged to protect religious liberty in America. But he has gone further. He told a gathering of religious leaders that the clergy should be allowed to endorse political candidates without fear that their churches will lose tax-exempt status. During his campaign, Trump had gained the support of the religious Right in the country.
Trump signed an executive order directing the Internal Revenue Service to avoid cracking down on political activity by religious organizations, a key campaign promise.
“For too long, the federal government has used the power of the state as a weapon against people of faith, bullying and even punishing Americans for following their religious beliefs,” Trump said.
But some religious groups were disappointed because he did not revoke Obama-era regulations that intended to protect gays, lesbians and others from discrimination.
Picture Courtesy: Twitter @SpeakerRyan