Zachery Tracer at Bloomberg explains how Mr. Trump's ending of Obamacare subsidies will actually cost our government more money. Since other health insurance subsidies essentially limit how much folks who use the exchange pay out-of-pocket, our government will wind up paying even more of the cost of the now-higher premiums. Of course, since so many Trump votaries won't actually feel it in their pocketbook, they'll decide it either didn't happen or doesn't matter. I'd call all that clever of Mr. Trump, if I didn't insist that cleverness also work toward some greater good, rather than some selfish evil.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry wants to guarantee profits for coal and nuclear power plants in deregulated energy markets, as long as those plants keep 90 days' worth of fuel on site. Free markets! Seriously, this is a very edifying read -- among other things, it reminds us that cost-benefit analyses usually wind up ignoring most of the real costs, particularly the health care costs -- but it should be quite irritating navigating the excuses the right will offer in defense, from TEH OBAMAZ MADE TEH WARZ ON TEH COALZ!!! to PROTECTINGZ TEH PROFITZ PROTECTZ TEH WORKURZ!!!!! to TEH SUN SETZ TEH WIND DIEZ!!! to WHY DO YOU HATEZ TEH AMURKIAZ!!!!
The subheader on this William D. Hartung piece at The American Conservative reads thusly: "Your tax dollars support troops of defense contractor CEOs." Turns out about half of defense spending "goes directly to private corporations and much of it is then wasted on useless overhead, fat executive salaries, and startling (yet commonplace) cost overruns on weapons systems and other military hardware that, in the end, won’t even perform as promised." And of course the Pentagon doesn't hold them accountable, not when they can't even tell you how many private contractors they've hired. This sure looks like yet another argument against privatization.
In a related note, you no doubt heard that Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants to remake Puerto Rico's entire utility grid into a renewable one, and though your heart may have soared in appreciation, Kate Aronoff at In These Times reminds us that it would likely come with a price -- the privatization of Puerto Rico's power grid. All the standard objections apply: the good citizens of Puerto Rico would have no control over what a private corporation does to them, and such private corporations will do what's good for shareholders before they'll ever do what's good for citizens. And even if you're fairly sanguine about Tesla, remember that Tesla could sell whatever it would own in Puerto Rico at any time -- and to multiple corporations, which would multiply potential problems.
And speaking of Puerto Rico's many other problems, the House has unveiled a Puerto Rico relief plan that contains $16 billion of debt relief -- but for the underfinanced National Flood Insurance Program, not the island. But wait, there's more! The bill would give Puerto Rico, which has already faced a financial crisis due to bankster manipulation and governmental corruption, $5 billion in loans. I bet the House calls giving them grants a "moral hazard;" clearly the real moral hazard of using a crisis to put people deeper in debt is invisible to them.
Finally, Catherine V. Moore at Yes! magazine discusses the various ways local Appalachians have taken to reviving areas where coal corporations use to conduct mountaintop removal mining. Note well that though invasive plant species have proven difficult to remove, and the cost of restoring the soil is steep (putting one foot of topsoil over formerly-mined land costs about $2,400 an acre), Appalachia area is actually fairly temperate, and could certainly support agriculture again. Not to mention a renewable power grid, but that may be a job for the next President.