Day: August 1, 2019

Background Briefing: August 1, 2019


The Need for More Public Options

We begin with the issue which dominated last night’s Democratic presidential candidate’s debate and that is healthcare and the various policies and prescriptions to reform it, by offering more choice, or replacing the insurance-based model that has Americans paying more for healthcare that any other advanced country with some of the worst outcomes, with Medicare For All. Joining us is Anne Alstott, a Professor at Yale Law School who is the co-author with Ganesh Sitaramen of the new book just out, “The Public Option: How to Expand Freedom, Increase Opportunity, and Promote Equality” and they have an article together at The New York Times, “There Should be a Public Option for Everything”. She joins us to discuss how Americans love public options like public swimming pools, public libraries, public parks, public schools, public defenders, and if there was a choice in healthcare plans, they would likely take the public option. And while Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have boldly taken on our sickness/profit system that poses as healthcare, in doing so they have aroused the most powerful entrenched interests on Wall Street and in big insurance and big pharma to spend whatever it takes to defeat them. We assess whether offering the public option of Medicare For All would appear less confrontational and more in the form of choice rather than mandate. Because in the end private insurance will never be able to compete with Medicare For All and once it is an option, the big health insurance parasites will die a slow death instead of now being able to kill off any much-needed competition.


Trump Escalates the Trade War with China

Then we  speak with an expert on the Chinese economy and trade, Scott Kennedy, the Director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the author of “The Business of Lobbying in China”. He joins us to discuss Trump’s imposition today of a 10% tariff on an additional $300 billion’s worth of Chinese goods in addition to the $250 billion on Chinese products already imposed. We will assess whether China is not stopping the flow of deadly fentanyl as Trump has charged in his tweet and whether Trump’s escalation will break the logjam in negotiations or prolong the trade war with China.


The Pillaging and Profiteering from Public Lands

Then finally we speak with Christopher Ketcham, the author of a new book “This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism, and Corruption are Ruining the American West”, which is full of colorful characters like scrappy earth defenders, villainous cowboys, obsequious bureaucrats, legendary conservationists and the plutocrats of the industrial extraction economy. He joins us to discuss the pillaging and profiteering underway from the 450 million acres of public lands across 12 Western states due to the regulatory capture of the BLM and the Forest Service by powerful oil, mining and grazing interests which can be undone by congress if the owners of the land, the public, rise up and demand it.