Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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June 26, 2015

Sullivan’s Salvos     6/30/15

In this edition:

*Same Sex Marriage
*Obamacare lives!
*Happy Independence Day!
*Think Big!
*Did You Know?

*Same Sex Marriage
         The US Supreme Court weighed in on the topic of same sex marriage, and Love won!

         The Court hates this type of ruling. The argument is always that the Court should not “get ahead of public opinion”. Additionally, the SCOTUS typically prefers that Congress act before the Court weighs in.

         But Obergefell v. Hodges forced the hand of the Court. Public opinion has changed at a rapid pace. More and more judicial decisions had come down. And thousands of Americans had become snagged in a legal limbo.

Two different issues were at stake: First, do States have a right to define marriage as between a man and a woman, or is this a matter of the Constitutional rights of the individuals? Secondly, if states do not allow same sex marriages, must they still acknowledge same sex marriages performed in other states? Obviously, since the first issue prevailed, the second was moot.

         There is a great deal of injustice in our society today. Too many people are systematically excluded. Powerful economic interests manipulate our government, and pit people against each other. I often struggle to stay positive in the face of all this.

But the Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges restores some hope. It seemed like a no-brainer to me, but we all know that the powerful interests I mentioned earlier own four Justices. Nothing is a given with this Court.

Meanwhile, congrats! Celebrate the day!

*Obamacare Lives!
         The US Supreme Court recently ruled 6-3 in the case of King v. Burwell, leaving in place the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare.

         This whole case was a joke from the very beginning, and everyone knew it. Chief Justice John Roberts said as much when he wrote in his majority opinion: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.”

         And the ACA HAS improved health care markets. Let’s look at a few facts on the ACA:

1.)          The number of uninsured in the US has fallen by as much as 12 million people. (Source: Congressional Budget Office.)
2.)          There has been no “government takeover” of healthcare. The ACA is run by private health insurance companies.
3.)          Obamacare has not cost the US jobs. Job growth has actually increased since the ACA became law. (Source: Congressional Budget Office.)
4.)          While insurance rates have increased since the passage of the ACA, they have increased at a much slower rate since its’ passage. (Source: Congressional Budget Office.)
5.)          While some people did see rate increases, they also got better coverage. Meanwhile, the net number of people who now pay less for healthcare (because of tax credits and expanded Medicaid) is greater than the number that pays more. (Source: Manhattan Institute.)
6.)          The overall cost of healthcare is rising at the slowest rate in years. (Source: Congressional Budget Office.)
7.)          The overall budget impact of Obamacare has been to lower the federal deficit. (Source: Congressional Budget Office.)

If you consider yourself a fiscal conservative yet still feel the ACA has been a terrible thing? I don’t think you are being intellectually honest.

*Happy Independence Day!
         Happy Birthday to the USA! 239 years old and going strong! I hope you and yours enjoy a great Independence Day!

         Looking for ways to celebrate? The Jazz Festival is in downtown Iowa City, and the 4th has parades in Coralville, Sharon Center, Oxford, and Hills.

*Think Big!
         What better way to celebrate our Independence than by talking a little politics?

         As I have mentioned in this space before, I plan on caucusing for Bernie Sanders. Other candidates and their supporters have taken notice of Bernie’s grassroots support, and they are beginning to attempt to explain why Senator Sanders is “not viable.” I’d like to address this for a moment.

         You are going to hear a lot of elected officials and political operatives giving lectures on pragmatism. They are going to offer up some version of, “I agree with you, but…”

         Look – I am an elected official. I know how this stuff works. The things Bernie Sanders talks about are doable. Lots of people are campaigning on messages of, “We can’t. Not yet. Wait.”

         We cannot improve Social Security; we can only hope to protect it. We cannot have single payer health insurance; we must tweak the ACA. We cannot end our military involvements in the Middle East; we must move more slowly. We cannot end NSA spying on American citizens; we must protect ourselves from terrorists. We cannot require billionaires to pay their share in taxes; the billionaires might take our jobs elsewhere.

         Readers, you are smart people. Which side do you believe?

         It is precisely this defeatist attitude that has hurt the Democratic Party SO badly over the past 30 years. We CAN improve things. And the first step on that road is adopting a more positive attitude.

         I would urge you to do exactly what Bernie asked us to do when he spoke in Iowa City: Think Big.

         We can do this. We can address all our problems. But we need to begin with one simple step – Think Big!

         You have probably heard of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, otherwise known as the TPP. I am no fan.

         First, you have “Investor-State Dispute Settlement,” or ISDS. ISDS would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court.

         That is not even the #1 reason that I know the TPP is a REALLY bad deal for the US. You know how I know that? Because those in power will not allow us to read it.

         How DARE any person sitting in or seeking public office claim that such secrecy is OK? It is appalling!

         No TPP for me, thanks! I prefer legislation that I have a right to read!

*DID YOU KNOW?  One US President was born on the 4th of July: Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president, in 1872. Three of the first five US Presidents died on the 4th of July, including Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who both died on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

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