Your Papers, Please

The most recent school shooting seems to have tipped the balance. This time, students are protesting and there is a new determination to get something done. Certainly , this particular shooter had a long history of trouble that raised a number of alarms. But what, exactly, can and should be done?

The FBI has admitted “bungling” a report on the shooting by not referring it to the Miami office. But what system do they have for tracking people? How is information gathered from many different local agencies? If there is a database, what protections are granted anyone in it? How can you find what it has on you and correct it?

It suggests some kind of national tracking and identification system is necessary. If there is some action from this shooting, it raises questions as to how any new or existing laws might be enforced. Who is allowed to buy a gun? Or to board a plane? To vote? To buy protected medicines like marijuana? To even be in this nation? To work?

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Pay As You Go

Many people, especially Republicans, wonder about the need for health insurance in the first place. Wouldn’t it just make sense to pay as you go, whipping out the credit card for routine doctor visits?

This sounds ridiculous when considering serious illnesses, but it may make sense in any system for small things. When a sty in my eye became infected I realized I had the perfect opportunity to test out “the system,” to the extent there is one, to see how pay-as-you-go might work.

The short version: I got sick and don’t have insurance. We all have our adventures.

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Not Even Trying

The US House just passed what it calls AHCA – the Obamacare repeal legislation they have been waiting 8 years to pass.

There are many ways to criticize this bill, ranging from the AMA’s criticism that it dismantles what safety net we have to a full-on dismissal by key Senate Republicans.

But there is a deeper criticism that has to be made – the real problem with this bill is that the House isn’t actually even trying to govern. They’ve completely given up.
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Revisions

This was supposed to be the year that the economy turned the corner, building on the foundation laid in 2013. It isn’t happening. The final revision to first quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth came in at a stunning -2.9%. Is it time to panic?

Nearly everyone agrees that it’s a statistical aberration, so the answer appears to be no. But we’re certainly not enjoying the economic growth that was expected this year. The economy is giving mixed signals at best, leading everyone to wonder if maybe we’re really just treading water after all.

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More Games, More Work

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report has a simple title, “The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024”. If the whole thing sounds about as cut and dried as possible, you’d be completely wrong. After all, the is the US in 2014, a place where absolutely anything can become a political football. A nonpartisan report from a respected institution which is full of detail and hard to read makes a perfect game ball.

The last week has been nothing but back and forth on the topic of how many jobs are destroyed, er, left behind with glee because of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Nevermind that the bulk of the report was indeed a warning about what will happen if we don’t straighten the budget out in the next decade. That’s hard work, however, and no one will look good on teevee talking about that. So let’s get to the garbage that filled the airwaves instead.

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