Category Archives: U.S. Congress

How can an unhealthy nation fix health care?

By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

You may have noticed that a while back, a Democratic president and a Democratic-led Congress tried to fix health care, and while more people do have health insurance, health care costs are still rising. You also may have noticed that a Republican president and a Republican-led Congress now promise to fix the fix. It won’t work either.

The truth is that no health care reform can create an affordable system in an unhealthy nation.

Modern American life, in fact, is profoundly unhealthy. Americans eat too much and eat the wrong things: too much sugar, fast “food” and processed conglomerations with unpronounceable ingredients; too few fruits, vegetables and healthy protein sources. We stay up too late bombarding our brains with flashing electronic lights rather than getting the sleep we need. We drive everywhere, take elevators up one flight of stairs, and spend most of our days sitting, which research has shown is very bad for us. We are addicted to all kinds of drugs – caffeine, opiates, alcohol. Then we try to fix all of this, quickly, with short bursts of exercise that often injure us, and with diets we cannot maintain, and with pills that have harmful side effects.

Could Democrats become states’ rights party?

By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

People tend to think about how things work in relation to how well they’re working for them. That’s why some Democrats, who’ve won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote in two of the last five elections, want to get rid of the Electoral College, while many Republicans say it’s a pillar of democracy. If the results had been reversed, so would have been the arguments.

Which leads us to the 10th Amendment, sometimes known as federalism or states’ rights.

The 10th Amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” As the national government has grown in recent years, it has been the most ignored amendment outside of the 18th, the one that prohibited the sale of alcohol, which was repealed by the 21st.

Cotton the populist

Sen. Tom Cotton
By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Sen. Tom Cotton made a name for himself because of his combat service, support for the military, opposition to the Iran deal, and fierce criticism of President Obama. These days, he’s talking a lot about a top issue in the 2016 presidential campaign – immigration, and not just the illegal kind.

Cotton has expressed support for the president’s border wall with Mexico and for his refugee policies, while also raising the ante by introducing the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act.

Cotton’s RAISE Act would reduce the number of legal immigrants admitted into the country from more than 1 million in 2015 to a little more than 500,000 by the act’s 10th year. It would do so by eliminating preferences for some adult family members, eliminating a lottery system that is supposed to increase the diversity of immigrants but which Cotton says really doesn’t, and limiting the number of refugees to 50,000 per year.

All politics is now national

By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

“All politics is local,” the late U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill used to say, but that’s no longer the case. Now, all politics is national.

That’s according to Dr. Alan Abramowitz, an Emory University political science professor who spoke at the Clinton School of Public Service Thursday.

Abramowtiz said straight ticket voting, where voters choose candidates from the same party in all races, reached its highest level in 2012 in the 60 years that it’s been studied, and preliminary research shows 2016 no doubt followed that trend. That’s increasingly true whether voters are strong partisans, weak partisans, or independents who lean toward one party or the other. Most of those last folks are just “closet partisans” who won’t admit to themselves or to others that they are really a Republican or Democrat.