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Photo by Chris Grafton on Unsplash

Proponents of single-payer health care haven’t learned from reformer’s past mistakes. Here’s why they should

The 2020 Election is shaping up to be a referendum on the future of health care in the United States. The Progressive wing of the Democratic party is championing a single-payer health care system at all costs. In their eyes, there should be no middle ground. With a potential unified democratic government come January, Progressives have proposed enacting single-payer care without compromising with Republicans on the legislation. The left-wing of the party believes Democrats have tried “pragmatism” far too often without success.

The moderate wing of the Democratic party recognizes that single-payer is just out of reach in the current political climate. Moderates propose that the first steps in acquiring single-payer health care would be to not only to restore Obamacare, but to expand it as well. They think they can work with the Republican party to lower the price of health care services, insurance, and drug prices. As long as single-payer care has a price tag of $3 trillion a year, the moderates won’t take a stand in support of it. …


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Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

If Big Tech is the enemy of speech, why are you still investing in it?

Conservative pundits and politicians are decrying recent moves by Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Google, and other companies that are suspending “conservative” accounts linked to calls for violence. With the suspension of Donald Trump’s Twitter account, the world of right-winged talking heads have spiraled into screams of foul play, all the while refusing their role in the Capitol Hill riots that killed 5 people. Matt Gaetz, the Republican Congressman representing Florida’s 1st district, tweeted out that he had lost over 50 thousand followers since Twitter’s enforcement of its terms and conditions began. …


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Photo by Joshua Sukoff on Unsplash

Objections to Pennsylvania show nothing will change after Capitol attack

At around 1:45 AM, Conor Lamb rose to give a debate on why he didn’t support the effort to overturn Pennsylvania’s electoral college votes. Conor Lamb, a moderate Democrat, represents Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional district. He is well known for winning the first special election before the 2018 “Blue Wave” midterm elections that swept the Democrats back to power in the House of Representatives.

He is also well known for consistently voting against Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House. But in spite of his typical opposition to Pelosi, he delivered a fiery speech in the late night condemning Republicans for contesting the election, and blaming them for the attack on the Capitol that day. …


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Photo by Bryan Angelo on Unsplash

Amazon’s History

Amazon, Inc. is the largest retailer of goods in the world. It has a current market cap of $1.6 trillion dollars and annualized revenue of $280 billion. The company survived the Dot Com bubble collapse of the late 20th century, and has seen explosive growth since the Great Recession. Along with that growth in revenue and valuation, the company has expanded operations at home and abroad. Employment is up twentyfold, where 33,000 employees in 2010 are rivaled by the 650,000 that now call the retail giant their employer. …


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Photo by Steve Harvey on Unsplash

The formation of the Soviet Union was predicated on violence and class conflict. From Lenin’s return to Petrograd to Stalin’s death, the first few decades of the USSR followed a simple course: power was slowly acquired and consolidated by the revolution’s leaders. The Bolsheviks started with a loose coalition of 25,000 members, 3,000 of which were active in Petrograd. How did such a small coalition of Bolsheviks come to take over the country and establish a world superpower that could rival the United States? The Bolsheviks could only find success through the usage of a lean, amorphous, revolutionary machine. Through persuasion, forced coercion, and false promises, the Bolsheviks pushed their way forward from a lowly coalition of Marxists to the head of Russia and the eventual USSR. Both Lenin and Stalin were willing to do anything to reach their ultimate end goal of a workers’ paradise. They were willing to compromise on ideology and process in order to get there. In their eyes, pragmatism and pivoting were necessary to find success. …


Does Mexico have a renewable energy future?

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Photo by Andrés Sanz on Unsplash

Mexico needs a Green New Deal. Declining oil output and a high income-to-debt ratio has crippled Pemex, the Mexican state-owned oil company that contributes 30–40% of the nation’s federal budget. Whereas taxes cover the majority of the American budget, Mexico’s treasury is fueled by profits from Pemex. Instead of relying on the boom-and-bust of the global oil market, Mexico should transition to a clean energy economy. It has the natural resources to expand hydropower in the Southeast, wind capacity in the West and Baja California, and solar production in both the Northern deserts and in the Southern states. …


How a well-intentioned environmental protection law created a housing shortage

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Photo by Kvnga on Unsplash

California is suffering from a severe housing crisis. With a 3.5 million unit deficit predicted by 2025, the state needs to start building much more housing. Policymakers recognize this is a problem. The citizens of the state recognize this is a problem. Solutions abound, but entrenched interests have made development cost-prohibitive state-wide, particularly in large cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. So long as the status quo continues, the problem will not be solved. …


The United States Congress is predominantly old, white, and male. That has to change.

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Photo by Joshua Sukoff on Unsplash

The United States Congress is not known for being a diverse workplace. Historically, women and minority groups have not been well represented in either chamber on Capitol Hill, where white males have held a supermajority of seats in Congress. As white males have cemented and institutionalized their place in office, a recent uptick in women and minority candidates for office are challenging the old guard. The literature on the subject shows us the constraints on women/ minority office-seekers. But if we can identify the problems and structures limiting women and PoC candidates, we can work on identifying solutions.

The biggest problem preventing a more diverse Congress comes from the makeup of the old guard, composed of white males that work diligently to keep their own seats and win primary elections. By controlling district boundaries and maintaining the overarching patriarchal system in society writ large, women and minorities are less inclined to run for office. White males have strong positions in local and state legislatures, as well as wealthy connections in business, medicine, and the legal field. Furthermore, the institutionalized image of a politician being a white male has subtly deterred competitors that do not fit the stereotype. According to political scientists Fox and Lawless, women and men have different perceptions of their ability to serve well in office. Men and women can hold similar job positions, income levels, and socioeconomic status, but men are still more confident in their abilities to find electoral success, according to Fox and Lawless’ surveys. Women, albeit having the same qualifications, are less likely to believe they are suited for the job, in spite of their success in other fields. …


Progressives and Conservatives are not happy with their own party Establishment. To change this, we must understand the purpose of parties in the first place.

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Photo by visuals on Unsplash

“Modern democracy is unthinkable save in terms of the parties” is an oft-cited adage from E.E. Schattschneider’s seminal work, Party Government. In his writings on Congress, Schattschneider discusses how parties are essential to the functioning of government. In essence, they help millions of voters limit their decision making, giving parties the power to help overcome Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem.

Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem (when applied to voting) goes like this: If voters have three or more distinct, viable voting choices (say Democrats, Republicans, and another major party), there is no electoral system that will translate the voter’s preferences into a solution that satisfies everyone. If there are more parties and more choices, then there are an infinite amount of solutions to any problem. If that is the case, then nobody will ever agree on one solution, because they will always be willing to pursue another solution that better fits their interests. …


How politicians actually represent us well, and why that’s the problem.

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Photo by Louis Velazquez on Unsplash

Congressional scholars believe that Members of Congress’ (MCs) actions are mostly driven by three goals: representatives want to win re-election, create good public policy, and they want to follow their own ambitions by gaining power and influence within government. By creating this framework to measure and compare MC’s actions, observers can understand why our elected officials do what they do. The actions they make both on Capitol Hill and at home in the district determine whether or not an MC can meet these three goals. The logic of Congressional action is thus as intuitive as the invisible hand driving Adam Smith’s free-market. Self-interested politicians are elected to office by marketing themselves to their constituents as the best suited person for the job. In turn, the voters are able to benefit from having an official that supports their needs. Fearing reprisal from voters and losing their next election, a Congressional representative is responsive to their district’s desires, regardless of the MC’s personal motives. With this tradeoff, the constituents are well represented, and the ambitious office-seeker is happy to hold the position. …

About

Gustavo Munoz

Writings on politics, history, and the interplay between the two. UC Santa Barbara graduate.

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