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There Is A Naivete Flaw Regarding Jeff Erdmann

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 08/10/17 07:53

by Dave Mindeman

Let's get back to the Jeff Erdmann interview at the Uptake.

I am a bit concerned about the naivete of Erdmann's government view. He has not been active in politics - says he had to be neutral while he was coaching football. Although other teachers have been some of the most vocal activists I know, each person has to decide that.

But when explaining why he became a Democrat, Erdmann mentions the following...

Other aspects of why I would be a democrat, age 22, 23, I learned a very valuable lesson. It was one of my first checks or second checks as a teacher, and at that time I was pretty physically ... I was in the best shape of my life and I look on there and there's medicare and medicaid coming out, and I'm like, "Ugh. I don't like seeing that money come out of my check." Because at that time, I was trying to buy a truck ... I bought a little used Ford Ranger and I was trying to get my payment under 100 bucks. And so I was frustrated that that was coming out of my check.

Medicaid is not funded by payroll taxes. Medicaid is a joint program between the Federal government and the various states. It is the main contentious argument in changing healthcare because expanded Medicaid under the ACA has been a big factor in increasing enrollment.

Erdmann also talks about "Medicare for All" as the fix - and I think Democrats, by and large, will support that for the most part. But he seems to be saying that payroll taxes are going to fund the bulk of this.

Well if people look at how it would work, it's gonna go from the 1.45 up to 5, 5.5% in a payroll tax, and then that is gonna pay for all the aspects that are needed with it. But when you do this, you're bringing in everybody. You've got all the healthy people, you've got everybody under that.

Payroll taxes going up 300%? I know that the contributions would have to increase some, but the burden on working people seems a little steep. A large number of people do not pay payroll taxes. Retired people, people with dividend and bond income, people on pensions. In fact, the older population, which will consume the bulk of health care services would once again be subsidized by payroll taxes, if that is the main approach.

Medicare for All is a solid idea. Even the idea of just allowing people 55 or more buying into the program would greatly ease the pressure on insurance premiums in the private sector. But Erdmann is going to have to flesh out his ideas - because that kind of increase in payroll taxes is just unacceptable.

And then he lumps the "wealthy" into some broad monetary concept. He insinuates that Angie Craig is "buying" her Congressional seat. I think most of us in the 2nd District are very familiar, from the last cycle, with the Craig story of growing up in a trailer park in Tennessee. In fact, from Erdmann's account of his own story, Angie Craig came from much humbler beginnings than he did. Yet, Erdmann lumps her current status into some kind of "wealthy elite" group. Simply because she began her campaign by self funding to garner name recognition in the district.

Yes, Angie Craig put in a considerable amount of her own money. But unlike the Sheldon Adelson's and Stanley Hubbard's of the world, her contribution "hurt". She took money that could keep her family comfortable for a long time. It wasn't throw away money. She made a heavy commitment to the district.

Yeah, very few people can afford to do that. And she states that she cannot afford to do it that way again. She is not self funding her 2018 campaign. But Erdmann's insinuations of elitism, in regards to Craig, are unfounded and if he truly understood the dynamics of how campaigns operate today, he would save his fire for the actual wealthy donors who are the true corruptors of this system. It seems a little strange to me to lump Angie Craig into the class of Stewart Mills and Betsy Devos. It just does not fit.

And Erdmann talks further:

Angie's running again and we don't know what her platform is, so it's hard to make a comparison as far as that. I think there's definitely comparisons between us. I think there's a lot of differences between us. And as the campaign rolls out, I think people are gonna see that and they'll have an opportunity to choose, to see how that plays into their voting decisions and what they value.

I don't think there is much secret about her platform. She has many of the same issues that Erdmann talks about. Erdmann makes "money in politics" a front and center issue - but Craig has spoken of the same concerns. She wants to get to Universal Coverage in healthcare, but is open to what will work the best - Medicare for All is included in the possibilities. As part of a proud gay family, she has a unique understanding of LGBTQ rights and concerns. There is nothing secret about her platform and I question the "differences" that Erdmann seems to believe exist between them.

Erdmann is a good progressive. I do not question his motives but his approach to a competitive primary shows naivete and inexperience. And we are all too aware of how inexperience can get us into trouble.

If I am being too critical I apologize, but I am concerned that Democrats will once again turn a victory into a defeat because of internal divisions. The 2016 split in our party is still there and exploiting that only plays into the hands of the tribal Republicans.

Jeff Erdmann has not been a Democrat very long. He has not been in the trenches. And, judging by his statements, is still learning about how all of this works.

2018 is extremely important. It is crucial for the 2nd District. We cannot afford more on the job training.
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