Category Archives: Politics

True, fair and unbalanced news

By Steve Brawner

© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Regardless of what one thinks about the accuracy of President Trump’s tweets, there was a lot of truth in this one on June 16: “The Fake News Media hates when I use what has turned out to be my very powerful Social Media – over 100 million people! I can go around them.”

Whether or not 100 million distinct individuals follow Trump on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms is debatable. Still, Trump’s larger point, that he can present his message without relying on the mainstream media, is correct, and it’s not limited to him.

In Arkansas, Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman haven’t said much to state-based reporters during the contentious health care reform debate, partly because they don’t have to. Boozman for a time relied on a bland statement posted on Facebook. Cotton has been selective in his media appearances, offering few specifics to Arkansas-based reporters and ignoring a well-known liberal columnist while comfortably chatting on air with Hugh Hewitt, a conservative national radio host.

The politics of failure

By Steve Brawner

© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

American democracy works well when what’s best for the country coincides with what’s best and easiest politically for elected officials. It also can work when elected officials act sacrificially in the nation’s interest regardless of the politics.

Neither currently is the case with health care reform.

Arkansans following that issue might be suffering from health care reform-induced whiplash. On July 15, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would delay action on the Senate health care bill because one of his needed votes, Sen. John McCain, had undergone surgery. (We now know he has brain cancer. God bless John McCain.) On Monday, McConnell said the Senate simply would try to repeal Obamacare, with the change taking effect two years later to give lawmakers time to consider an alternative. Arkansas’ Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman said they favored that approach. President Trump said lawmakers should let Obamacare “fail,” and then pick up the pieces. Then on Wednesday, Trump did a 180, summoned Republican senators to the White House and urged them to pass a replacement, which as of this writing they are trying to do.

Repeal, and then what?

By Steve Brawner

© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

The Senate health care bill is dead. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell killed it Monday after it did what President Obama couldn’t do – make Obamacare more popular – and after too many Republican senators said they’d vote against it and none expressed enthusiasm for it.

The unenthusiastic included Arkansas Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman, who both remained noncommittal even though Cotton was one of 13 Republican senators who wrote the bill behind closed doors.

McConnell’s new plan is to repeal Obamacare now, but it wouldn’t take effect for two years while Congress creates a replacement. In response, Cotton told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday that he was “pleased” with that direction. He said Congress already voted to repeal Obamacare in 2015, a move supported by all six members of Arkansas’ congressional delegation.

Here’s what the world owes: $217 trillion

By Steve Brawner

© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

If the $20 trillion national debt concerns you, what about $217 trillion?

That’s how much public and private debt now exists worldwide, says the Institute of International Finance, a worldwide financial industry association. That’s the equivalent of more than $29,000 for every human – and this despite 71 percent of Earth’s population living on $10 or less per day, according to the Pew Research Center.

The $217 trillion is a record, with the increase over last year driven by developing nations, including China, where the IIF says total debt now equals $33 trillion. Advanced economies actually reduced their debt in the past year by $2 trillion, but developing countries increased theirs by $3 trillion.