Tag Archives: farm subsidies

Lee Atwater’s dog whistle may kill Mississippi’s Insects

The silence of a significant portion of Mississippian Republicans illustrates how responsive they are to the smaller-government and free-market dog whistles. They should be howling at the obstruction of Medicaid expansion. Smaller government should be anathema to Mississippians when you consider the state’s median income ($$36,919 vs. $50,054 U.S.), and per capita income ($28,845 vs. $38,611 for the country), when you consider the number of people who supplement their income by joining the national guard, when you consider the state’s farm subsidies, when you consider the boon to ship building the government has been for Mississippi (Ingalls Shipbuilding is the state’s largest private employer). And then there is the irreconcilable differences between the call for free markets and all of the afore-mentioned government intervention. We won’t get into the godsend that the government programs Medicare and Social Security have been to Mississippi and how the “free market” god couldn’t have cared less no matter what it’s disciples claim. You began to understand how the dog whistle works when despite the reference to voters and some of their constituents as bugs (coming out of the woodwork to receive government subsidized healthcare) RepubliCons still get so much support from the poor in Mississippi many of whom count themselves as Republicans. You see Lee Atwater summed it up best: Make sure you’re “talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.” In light of the fact that not everyone who would get access to healthcare under Medicaid expansion is black, that Atwater dog whistle may prove deadly to some of the people responding to it.

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Et tu, Federal Government?

Thus comes the cry from Mississippi’s Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. Claiming somehow that he expected approval for a plan he submitted to the Department of HHS without the Governor’s signature he ridiculously cries betrayal(A State’s Declaration Letter must be signed by the State’s Governor). Futhermore Mr. Chaney chose to ignore the fact that the Affordable Care Act “says that the exchanges have to be one-stop shops for both private insurance and Medicaid.”
How can Chaney get away with such blatant misinformation? He is basically running interference for big insurance companies while pretending to be for the average working Mississippian. He and other Mississippi RepubliCons talk of free-market approaches as a remedy for rising health care costs when they know full well that the health insurance industry has the McCarran–Ferguson Act and lack of regulation, which saddles Americans with billions of dollars a year in excess costs, in place to maintain the existing order and to harden the stratification and widen the wealth gap.

This is understandable in Mississippi, where some are not entitled to freedom from want of health care. Mississippians, owing to a basic fear of change and obeisance to crypto-fascist “leadership,” are destined to remain last in so many categories. When you consider farm subsidies and military installations and the boon to ship building provided by the federal government and, historically, earmarks, the Federal government to Mississippi is not betrayer, Mr. Chaney, but the love which dare not speak its name.