Harris Healthcare and Texas Undercount

Grind for July 20th
“Marriage is the only war in which you sleep with the enemy.”
– Francois de la Rochefoucauld

I Don’t Think So

The Headline

Kamala Harris’s plan for Big Pharma is a little bit fascist

The Grind

Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris (D-CA) on Tuesday unveiled her plan to force pharmaceutical companies to lower drug prices.

Her proposal, dubbed “People Over Profit,” would authorize the federal government to set “fair” rates for all prescription drugs that are sold at lower prices in economically comparable companies like France, Germany, and Australia.

The proposal also calls to import more drugs from Canada and to end a tax break drugmakers receive to offset TV ads. Companies who fail to follow federal price standards will be hit with a 100% tax on profits.

“As President, I will not stand idly by as Americans pay thousands of dollars for prescription drugs while big pharmaceutical companies rake in massive profits. This plan puts people over profit by forcing these companies to reduce prices for consumers and holding them accountable when they gouge Americans,” said Harris.

If Congress fails to pass the “People Over Profit” proposal during her first 100 days in office, she added, Harris will use executive action to launch an investigation into price gauging.

Harris has already promised to use executive orders to achieve her goals on gun and immigration policies if Congress fails to work with her.

Earlier this month, she vowed to give black families $100 billion to help them buy houses.

The Takeaway

The high cost of prescription drugs is a chief concern for most Americans, but polls suggest voters see Bernie Sanders as the strongest candidate on the issue (26%), followed by Joe Biden (18%), Elizabeth Warren (16%), and then Harris (10%).

Furthermore, Harris’s proposal to force drugmakers to meet federal rates (whether profit or loss) is moving into fascist territory.

A “fascist” is a follower of a political philosophy characterized by authoritarian views and a strong central government (with no tolerance for opposing opinions).

In 1996, Italian historian Emilio Gentile described fascism in “10 elements” including: “Corporative organization of the economy that suppresses trade union liberty, broadens the sphere of state intervention, and seeks to achieve, by principles of technocracy and solidarity, the collaboration of the ‘productive sectors’ under control of the regime, to achieve its goal of power, yet preserving private property and class divisions.”

The high price of drugs is a major problem in the United States, but forcing pharmaceutical companies to match prices in other countries is not the best way to go about solving it.

Harris also supports socialized healthcare.

Working Together

The Headline

Texas lawmakers refuse to spend money on 2020 census

The Grind

Local governments, business leaders, and nonprofits in Texas are stepping up after state lawmakers decided not to allocate any money for the 2020 census.

To compare, lawmakers in California earmarked $154 to make sure every resident in the state gets counted.

“As a proud Texan, that kind of makes me mad,” says Ann Beeson, head of the Center for Public Priorities in Austin. “I feel like we kind of need to step up to the plate and really get on the ball and make sure that we are getting counted just like those Californians are getting counted.”

The Details

Texas has experienced massive population growth since 2010, when the state’s population was estimated at 25.1 million. By some estimates, Texas could gain 3 or 4 congressional seats after the census – but only if the data is accurate.

An undercount of just 1% could cost Texas $300 million annually in federal funding.

“Texas is already at a high risk of an undercount,” says Beeson. “That is because we have a higher percentage of what are considered hard-to-count populations” including low-income families, immigrants, and young children.

Texas has one of the largest immigrant populations in the country, and while President Trump has backed down from plans to add a citizenship question to the census, a lot of people are still nervous.

“That’s something that we are still struggling to find a good way to talk to people about,” continues Swanson. “We don’t want to scare them.”

In the meantime, the Complete Count Committee in Austin is working with schools and local businesses to raise money for the census.

“We have a lot of work that we have to do,” says Stephanie Swanson with the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Texas. “We are still in the initial phases, and I am not quite sure if that really has sunk in with the population here in Texas.”

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