Elizabeth Warren Doesn’t Have A Chance

Grind for June 29th

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

– Winston Churchill

Out Of Place

The Headline

The problem with Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign

The Grind

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is a longtime academic who spent years teaching bankruptcy law before entering politics. She helped launch the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2011 and served as its first Special Advisor.

Warren is a progressive who opposes Trump’s immigration policies and plans to vote against the USMCA. She called for impeachment after the release of the Mueller report.

Warren announced her bid for the presidency in February and immediately distinguished herself by presenting fully-fledged policy proposals on housing and anti-corruption.

Whereas most candidates attract votes by presenting broad ideas (and filling in the details later), Warren has released specific plans to:

— Ban lobbying by former Congressmen

— Overhaul campaign finance laws

— Fund Medicare for All

— Tighten regulations on tech companies

— Decriminalize marijuana

— Outlaw private prisons

— Reduce student debt and make technical colleges tuition-free

The Details

Another key issue with Warren’s untraditional campaign is her reliance on academia.

Warren’s proposals read more like college essays than they do legislation. And her four-person policy team is comprised of intellectuals who all have degrees from Harvard or Yale.

Leading the team is Jon Donenberg, who served as Warren’s policy adviser during her senate campaign and was hired on as legislative director when she was elected in 2013. He has degrees from the University of Illinois and from Yale.

Also advising Warren (but outside her paid staff) is Vanderbilt Professor Ganesh Sitaraman, who worked for Warren during her senate campaign and has degrees from Harvard and from Emmanuel college in Cambridge.

Handling national security for Warren is Sasha Baker, who worked in the Obama Administration as Deputy Chief of Staff at the Department of Defense. She has degrees from Harvard and Dartmouth.

Handling financial issues for Warren is Bharat Ramamurti, her longtime legislative aide who assisted the Senate investigation of Wells Fargo in 2016 and has worked on bipartisan efforts to broker a deal on housing reforms for mortgage lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Ramamurti has degrees from Harvard and Yale.

The Takeaway

Warren’s team has an impressive resume, but it lacks one key ingredient: business experience. Neither Warren nor any member of her team has experience running a business – and what is the US economy if not one giant business?

Warren is bringing “a stack of fact sheets to a gunfight,” says economist Austan Goolsbee. “It does give me a little heartburn when there’s so much policy detail this early in the campaign.”

Not Again

The Headline

California lawmakers just revived the worst part of Obamacare

The Grind

California lawmakers on Monday voted to bring back Obamacare’s “individual mandate,” a rule that requires all Americans to buy health insurance and penalizes those who don’t.

The individual mandate is designed to attract more participants in order to reduce costs; but as we saw with Obamacare, all it did was impose further financial difficulty on people who couldn’t afford monthly premiums.

The Details

A handful of states have decide to reinstate the mandate since it was overturned by Congress in 2017, but California is the only one that plans to use revenue from the policy to provide subsidies for middle-class residents who earn too much to qualify for financial help through Obamacare.

“These new subsidies will impact almost 1 million Californians and help them get the healthcare access that they deserve,” says California lawmaker Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).

What Democrats fail to understand is that the people who aren’t buying health insurance probably can’t afford it. In 2014, more than 80% of Californians who paid the individual mandate penalty had taxable incomes of $50,000 or less.

“This trailer bill will take money away from people making $30,000 to $50,000 a year and give it to people making between $75,000 and $130,000 a year,” argues California lawmaker Jay Oberolte (R-LA).

The penalty is expected to generate $295 million this year and up to $380 million in 2022.

California lawmakers this week also approved a measure to expand government-funded healthcare to some undocumented immigrants even though the mandate penalty won’t apply to illegal residents.

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