Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT) has taken a lot of well-deserved hits for saying folks who worry about the cost of health care should just avoid buying that new iPhone, and not just because health care costs are absurdly high (getting your appendix out, without any of the follow-up care you'd need, could run you about 20 iPhones), or even because Mr. Chaffetz implies you should just "grow up" if you want more from your government than the back of its hand. Mr. Chaffetz advances the notion that you should "invest" in health care, but you don't literally invest in health care -- if you could save $200 monthly in an index fund paying 7% annually and reinvest your dividends annually, it'd still take you close to six years to pay off that appendix removal, and hopefully nothing else happens to you in the meantime! Also, you need health care when you need it, not when you can draw off your investments, and that's why insurance works: a large number of people pool their resources together so that a few of them can endure a catastrophe at a particular time. Why would Mr. Chaffetz want you to think you're in this on your own, I wonder?
We discussed Josmar Trujillo's article about the New York Daily News's latest defense of "broken windows" policing last week, but I wanted to discuss one more aspect of his piece, since it slices the Gourdian knot of how we should approach the media during the Trump years. Mr. Trujillo opens with this statement: "When President Donald Trump rails against the mainstream media, it might not make much sense to come to their defense...the problems with media powerhouses like CNN and the New York Times are well-documented, and preceded any of Trump’s Twitter storms." I've been uneasy about the quickness to which so many liberals have jumped to the media's defense lately, and that's even though the media have been doing a better job. But the problems with the "liberal" media -- too corporate, too sensationalist, too hostile to non-whites -- still remain, and won't go away overnight. So you approach the media under a President who calls them "the opposition party" like you approach anything else -- honestly, without worrying whether we should consider the media to be on "our side" because our jerk of a President is on the other side. Your side is the truth, not "whatever side isn't Trump."
Finally, Michael Hudson also had so many good things to say about Trumponomics in his Counterpunch interview earlier this month that I just didn't have space to get into Mr. Trump's opposition to deducting certain kinds of loan interest from your taxes. Long story short: Mr. Trump says he supports ending the practice, and doing so would put the brakes on the corporate raiders and unscrupulous landlords (ahem!) who seem to benefit the most from it -- but Congress would never do it, since their biggest donors are these same corporate raiders and unscrupulous landlords. And of course Mr. Trump knows that his opposition will come to nothing -- nothing, that is, except a PR weapon to use against Democrats on Election Day. Yet I find I don't want to get rid of all of those deductions -- I'd let folks continue to exempt student loan debt interest, I'd limit the mortgage interest deduction to mortgages of less than $300,000, and I wouldn't let folks take the deduction on more than one house plus one home equity loan. All of that would make being a landlord unattractive, but what a shame that would be.