Category Archives: Politics

ACA Has Helped Create Nearly 1 Million Jobs

Honestly this shouldn’t be too surprising, but the Affordable Care Act isn’t just giving people more access to quality healthcare.  It’s also putting Americans to work and saving many of our nation’s hospitals, as reported by Dan Diamond of Forbes magazine

Obamacare was once called “The Job-Killing Health Care Law.” But the latest jobs report suggests that the broader economy—and the health care sector, specifically—is adding jobs at a healthy rate.

  • Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in March 2010, the health care industry has gained nearly 1 million jobs—982,300, to be more precise—according to Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates released on Friday.
  • Meanwhile, the rest of the economy has added 7.7 million jobs since March 2010, and for the first time, more people are working since the recession began five years ago.
  • Private-sector jobs also grew for the 51st straight month, Justin Wolfers observes at The Upshot, which ties the longest consecutive streak on record and overlaps with the passage of Obamacare 50 months ago. But that streak is piddling compared to health care, which just reported its 131st straight month of job gains.

Booming growth in the heath care industry shouldn’t come as a surprise. The health care sector was gaining about 25,000 jobs per month in the years before the Affordable Care Act, and the law’s infusion of newly insured patients will help bolster providers’ bottom lines.

Besides the obvious job creation needed to handle millions of additional patients and insurance plans, the ACA has also created jobs by upping compensation for hospitals, especially in states that took some form of Medicaid expansion.  Hospitals and doctors have previously had to shoulder the cost for any patient that was treated and then could not pay for their care.  But now thanks to the ACA, those hospitals are able to provide a better quality of service because more of their overall care is compensated.  As previously discussed in this blog, the Medicaid expansion has often proven a necessary life line for our nation’s rural hospitals, some of which were forced into debt for seeing so many patients that couldn’t pay.

The healthcare needs of the United States will only continue to grow as a larger and larger share of the population ages.  But thankfully because of actions taken back in 2010, we’ll be much better prepared for them with more people working, and more avenues to quality care.


Congress PASSES VA Healthcare Bill

In the wake of everyone’s shock and awe at Eric Cantor’s stunning defeat this week, did anyone notice something on Capitol Hill that hasn’t happened in a long time??  Yes, that’s right… both houses of the United States actually did some WORK this week.  Work that was not meeting with lobbyists or calling rich folks to beg for campaign cash.  The House of Representatives passed a bill to improve VA healthcare UNANIMOUSLY!!  And on Wednesday, the Senate passed a similar bill by and overwhelming margin.  Your eyes are not deceiving you.  Here’s the story from Politico

The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed legislation aimed at increasing veterans’ access to health care and holding accountable bad actors in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The legislation passed 93-3 and represents rare cooperation between the House and Senate, raising hopes that Congress is moving swiftly toward a VA reform compromise to send to the president’s desk. The Senate legislation largely mirrors similar proposals from the House, and lawmakers and aides do not expect a knock-down political fight as the two chambers iron out their discrepancies over the coming days…

…With the House unanimously passing veterans’ health care and accountability legislation that senators say is extraordinarily close to the version crafted by Sanders and John McCain (R-Ariz.), lawmakers across the Capitol are increasingly confident that the president will have a new veterans’ health law on his desk by the end of the month.

So the United States Congress decides to have a rare moment of clarity and help our nation’s heroes get the healthcare and services they deserve.  This is great news, right?  Well just today over on Fox News, the critics have come out swinging saying the bill could have a huge price tag when all is said and done.

Fiscal hawks are warning that new legislation passed in both chambers of Congress this week in response to the Veteran Affairs scandal could cost taxpayers more than $500 billion over the next decade. 

A Senate source told on Friday that lawmakers “passed a bill they didn’t read which led to Congress issuing a blank check with real consequences for the country down the road.” 

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget rang the alarm bells over the bill on Thursday, releasing a statement saying the Senate version of the bill “violates every principle of good budgeting, and could add substantially to the national debt.”

This Fox News commentator doesn’t think our nation’s Vets are worth the investment.  The bill may have a big price tag, and we of course would hope our legislators and their staff could always read things that they vote on, but if it helps to fix systemic problems plaguing the VA, then the American people should rally behind it.  Our heroes are worth every penny and then some.





Rick Perry: Homosexuality Is Like Alcoholism

If anyone thought that Texas Governor Rick Perry might try to keep quiet between now in a possible 2016 run, think again.  He came out spreading falsehoods about homosexuality and the development of sexual orientation.  Here’s more from CNN

A comparison between alcoholism and homosexuality by Texas Gov. Rick Perry is raising eyebrows.

At a speech in San Francisco, the longtime Republican governor – who ran for the White House in 2012 and is considering another bid in 2016 – was asked whether he thought homosexuality was a disorder.

“I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that – and I look at the homosexual issue the same way,” Perry said.

According to CNN affiliate KPIX, some people in the pro-Perry audience gasped when they heard the governor’s remarks.

Perry’s address to the Commonwealth of California Club was mostly focused on economic issues. The Texas governor is in California as part of a trip to try to bring jobs and business to the Lone Star State.

Perry’s comments also came just days after Texas Republicans, meeting at their state convention, approved language in their party platform that includes support for voluntary psychological “therapy” targeted at converting homosexuals to heterosexuals. That stance stands in contrast to both California and New Jersey, which have banned such therapy.

Whatever Mr. Perry’s particular internal vices, he’s clearly behind the times on understanding sexual orientation.  And though he obviously has the right to believe whatever he wants as a private citizen, it’s important to know that saying these things in his official capacity as Governor is harmful to thousands of his constituents.  Many young Texans are taking the journey to adulthood as we all do, and for those that are LGBT, they may be struggling to figure out why they don’t match society’s well-defined expectations.  Suggesting to those young people that they need to “repair” themselves isn’t just wrong… it is downright dangerous.

In relation to current Texas politics, it’s no surprise that Perry’s comments sent a scurry through both main political parties, especially the candidates for the Governor’s job.  As Lone Star Q reports, Perry has helped to reveal another stark contrast between GOP contender Greg Abbott and his Democratic opponent Wendy Davis…

Democrat Wendy Davis would support and sign a law banning reparative therapy for minors, according to a spokesman for her campaign.

But Davis’ Republican opponent in the Texas governor’s race, Attorney General Greg Abbott, isn’t taking a position on the issue.

At its state convention in Fort Worth last week, the Texas GOP amended its platform to include support for reparative therapy “for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle.”

In response to the headline-grabbing plank, a spokesman for Davis’ campaign confirmed this week in an email to Lone Star Q that the Democratic gubernatorial nominee would back a statewide ban on reparative therapy for minors similar to laws that have passed in California and New Jersey.

Meanwhile, Abbott dodged a question about his party’s support for reparative therapy during a visit to East Texas on Wednesday. KYTX Channel 19 reports that Abbott “stopped short of condemning” the reparative therapy plank but said the issue isn’t near the top of his agenda.

“First is jobs, second is schools, three is roads, transportation and water, and four is making sure our border is secure,” Abbott told KYTX reporter Field Sutton.

“It sounds like reparative therapy is pretty far down on that list,” Sutton said.

“Well, if government does what it’s supposed to do, and then gets out of people’s way, everyone is a whole lot happier,” Abbott responded.

Try as he may, Abbott won’t be able to run from this question much longer.  It’s going to keep coming up in interviews and other public formats.  But the real worry for the Abbott campaign here is this… regardless of what delegates at the Republican Party convention vote for, the state of Texas is still moving at lightning speed in support of LGBT rights and marriage equality.  As we see here, the GOP is providing the ammo… but it’s up to Democrats to make sure these shameful messages get out to the public at large.  If more people knew that the only thing standing in the way of marriage for thousands of Texas’ LGBT couples was Greg Abbott’s emergency stay, maybe they would be motivated to show up for Davis in November.  From a “life” standpoint, it is right for Democrats to stand against these harmful views.  From a political standpoint, this is an issue that can motivate Davis’ base, depress GOP turnout, and really effect the outcome of the election.  Let’s hope that the campaigns and Battleground Texas figure that out.

For more on this topic, check out the great work of fellow bloggers Texpatriate and Off the Kuff.  I’ll probably have later thoughts and developments as well.



Happy Birthday Bush 41!!

For so many people, a President’s legacy is often first viewed in how their time in office finishes up, with the central question being, “did they get re-elected?”  Clearly for the nation’s 41st President George H. W. Bush, that answer would be a no.  After a rousing 1988 campaign where the candidate boldly declared “Read my lips… NO NEW TAXES“, the realities of office led him to break that promise, and paved the way for a defeat by Bill Clinton in 1992.

But as history marches on, Americans are less bitter about Bush 41’s tax increases, and look more fondly on his time in the White House, along with all of the accomplishments he achieved.

First, it’s important to note that Presidency is only 4 years of this great American’s life.  After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Bush served our country valiantly in World War II… one of a precious few remaining veterans from that time.  He even survived a harrowing attack that saw his plane shot down over the open ocean, and looks back on that day as a second chance at life. Political differences aside, no one can question Bush’s bravery and dedication to his country.  He is the last living President who is also a veteran of World War II.

George HW and Barbara Bush

(photo credit:  The Today Show)

After the battle field soon came the oil field.  Bush returned to Yale University, and while studying there he and his wife Barbara Bush (whom have now been married an astounding 69 years!!) welcomed their eldest son George W. Bush into the world.  Then they set off for Texas, where Bush quickly made a fortune in the oil business.  An entry into politics would lead Bush to represent Houstonians in the United States Congress, after a failed run for the United States Senate in 1964.  At that time, Texas a was a Democratic stronghold, and the Republican Bush was unsuccessful achieving statewide office.  But being a prominent Texan for the GOP, Bush was a valuable asset to the party.  As a result, President Nixon appointed Bush to serve as United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and other cabinet positions followed.  Though he was never elected statewide, a series of high-profile appointments would forge a path for Bush to the Vice Presidency, and the White House.

As President, Bush 41 had his ups and downs, but also some great achievements.  In 1990, he worked with a bi-partisan coalition in Congress and passed the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. It was the most comprehensive expansion of Civil Rights since the 1960s, and gave unprecedented protections to the disabled.  As Bush stated upon its signing, the ADA was “the world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with Disabilities.”  The ADA also paved the way for similar legislation to be enacted all over the world.

For these, and a whole host of other amazing reasons, Texas Leftist is proud to celebrate the 90th birthday of President George H. W. Bush, and wish the very best for the Bush family on this special day.  Happy Birthday Bush 41!!



Texoblogosphere: Week of June 2nd

The Texas Progressive Alliance celebrates the passage of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff tries to figure out what the runoff results might mean for November.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos is disgusted by the low blow campaign tactics employed during this election cycle. Where are the issues? Texas GOP: No Blow is too Low. Bring on the Boats, Hoes and Abortion Barbie.

Letters from Texas contemplates the existential dilemma of Log Cabin Republicans.

Horwitz at Texpatriate laments the state of Texas after Dan Patrick moves one step closer to the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

How much does it cost for Greg Abbott to change his mind? PDiddie at Brains and Eggs is glad you asked! That’s on sale right now for $350,000, and if you buy before the end of the month, he might be flexible on the price.

After a landmark week in local politics, Texas Leftist shares the true importance of passing the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. It’s not just about preventing discrimination. HERO actually makes Houston a safer city as well.

WCNews at Eye on Williamson points out that Congressman John Carter (R-Round Rock) didn’t care about the problems at the VA until he thought he could score political points with them, Carter Knew About VA Problems Back In 2012.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders if your local paper was pushing the propaganda for the energy oligarchs. The Dallas Morning News, as well as others, did.

Neil at All People Have Value offered support to folks protesting against the huge wasteful amount of money being spent on World Cup soccer in Brazil while basic needs go unmet. Neil says the real money needs to go to everyday people and not only the well-connected few. All People Have Value is part of

And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Nonsequiteuse relates a sadly too common tale of street harassment.

Grits worries about the high number of child abuse rulings that are subsequently overturned on appeal.

Todo Texas wonders who the next batch of rising Latino political stars in Texas will be once the Castro brothers go national.

Texas Vox notes the correlation between smart subsidies for solar energy and job growth.

The Lunch Tray pens a letter to Michelle Obama.

Texas Watch gives five things you need to do to get ready for hurricane season.

PTA Mom asserts that everything she needed to know about politics she learned from school board elections.

Juanita tells the best story ever about Pat Robertson and Saran Wrap.

And finally, BeyondBones commemorates the Normandy invasion on its 70th anniversary.

TexWatch 2014: Ballot Set

Now that the state of Texas has completed state runoff elections, residents of the Lone Star State now have a set ballot for this November.  Among the top races, State Senator Dan Patrick handily won the GOP’s nomination for Lieutenant Governor over current office-holder David Dewhurst, and will go on to face Democratic standard-bearer Leticia Van de Putte this fall.   State Senator Ken Paxton bested Dan Branch for the GOP nod in the Attorney General’s race, while Sid Miller grabbed the nod for Agriculture Commissioner over fellow State Rep Tommy Merritt.  The runoff election, with its low turnout on a rather damp weather day for much of the state, was a decisive victory for Tea Party forces.  David Alameel easily defeated LaRouche Democrat Kesha Rogers in the US Senate Primary, and now faces Republican incumbent Jon  Cornyn in November.

As Christy Hoppe of the Dallas Morning News observes, the Democratic and Republican ballot choices offer a stark contrast in more ways than just party ideology, as the GOP slate for 2014 turns out to be far more white and male than in previous years…

The Texas Republican Party has a girl problem.

A glance down the list of GOP nominees set after Tuesday’s runoffs makes it look as if U.S. Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth has signed up for shop class.

She is the lone woman among the 50 congressional, statewide and top judicial Republican candidates.

In a year when the marquee races for governor and lieutenant governor will feature Democrats Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte, the Grand Old Party looks like it’s going stag.

Candidate Lisa Fritsch warned during the primaries of “the party of all these men and the same old recycled candidates.”

And Fritsch is a staunch conservative who was challenging Greg Abbott for the nomination for governor.

State party chairman Steve Munisteri said he’s noticed.

“I would tell you I’ve had discussions with elected officials and party leaders about this very issue,” he said Tuesday. “Frankly, it is a concern.”

Some would say that it’s fitting for the GOP slate to match it’s extreme preferences for the past in both optics and policy.  This overly white, overly male ticket may be just what the doctor ordered to encourage a new electorate in Texas.  Women and minorities show noticeable prominence on the Democratic side of the aisle, and no one should be surprised that they are the ones talking about the issues that matter to most Texans… jobs, healthcare for families and the educational future of the Lone Star State.

Of course with limited resources, whose to say if Davis, Van de Putte, Railroad Commissioner candidate Steve Brown or any of the other Democrats can break through the long-held GOP glass ceiling.  But one thing is for sure… with all Primaries in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to try.


Davis Van de Putte

(photo credit:  The Texas Tribune)


Julian Castro Tapped for White House Post

In the state of Texas, the options for Democratic politicians are somewhat limited, especially if said persons have aspirations towards a national-level office.  The overwhelming majority of Presidents or Vice Presidents are chosen from the pool of Governors, or Senators.  Democrats in the Lone Star State haven’t been able to break into statewide office in 20 years.  No access to statewide office typically means no ability to enter the national arena.

But there is one alternative route, be it far less traveled… being pushed into the national spotlight as a member of the President’s cabinet.  It appears now that this may be San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s way to break the Texas ceiling.  Here’s the scoop from the Washington Post

President Obama is preparing to nominate Mayor Julián Castro of San Antonio as his new secretary of housing and urban development, elevating one of his party’s Hispanic rising stars as part of a cabinet shuffle that has possible implications for the 2016 presidential race, Democrats informed about the plans said on Saturday.

Mr. Castro, who has often been mentioned as a potential vice-presidential candidate for the Democrats, would take the place of Shaun Donovan, who is to become director of the Office of Management and Budget. That job is being vacated by Sylvia Mathews Burwell, whom Mr. Obama tapped to be secretary of health and human services and who seems headed to Senate confirmation.

A cabinet-level position definitely has its advantages, even over winning a statewide election.  For one thing, you get to leave electoral politics behind, and focus on affecting real policy changes.  A big reason why Hillary Clinton is viewed so positively today is because she hasn’t had to run for office since 2008.  A White House post will afford Mr. Castro the same opportunity.

There’s been no official announcement yet, but most predict it’s only a matter of weeks.