Should Rahm Emanuel Be Able To Run For Mayor?

In case you haven’t been following the news, the Illinois  Appeals court has ruled Rahm Emanuel ineligible to run for mayor of Chicago due to questions about whether he legally lived in Chicago for a year before running.  This post by Ezra Klein brings up a good point about residency requirements for elected officials:

Michael Bloomberg is considered a pretty good big-city mayor. He’s got a good staff around him, and a lot of experience working with city bureaucracy, and an apparent zest for the job. Maybe, after he gets term-limited out in New York, he’d like to continue being a big-city mayor. And maybe Chicagoans would be interested in having him be a pretty good big-city mayor in Chicago. Why should there be a rule against him running in the election? It’d obviously be fair for Chicagoans to decide against electing a New Yorker to lead Chicago, but why should there be a rule on the books denying them the option? What’s the nightmare scenario here? A Californian?

There’s obvious hurdles for say the former mayor of New York to run for the same position in LA but shouldn’t the people decide who they want in office? As time goes on I’m becoming less and less enthused about electoral rules designed to protect the people from themselves. The 22nd amendment? Eh fuck it, bring back Billy C. Mayor Bloomberg wants to run for Governor of California? Good, hopefully someone can figure out how to run that state the right way.

If the free market really works as well as some people allege, then the free market of individual talents only makes sense. If wall street firms can lure successful CEO’s away from other companies, shouldn’t voters be able to make the same choice?

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Mythbusted: The Non Existant Migration Tax

Dylan Matthews, on Ezra Klein’s blog, produces a crap ton of research that disproves the one of the major myths (see lies) pushed by the free market ideology.  Namely, the idea that raising taxes will cause people to move to another, lower taxed, state.

Of course, anyone who sat down and thought about this for more than half a second could have probably dismissed this silly idea by themselves.

Despite what conservatives believe, people don’t govern their lives exclusively by monetary decisions. While it might be “profitable” to move from one state to another, people have emotional and social investments in the places they live now. Are mommy and daddy going to pack up the family and pull little Jenny out of school and away from all her friends just so they can move from a 5.4 tax rate to a 4.9 rate? Probably not.  Sure, Jenny could probably make new friends, but when you take into consideration finding a quality school, finding a new job (assuming there are jobs available no doubt a BIG if), buying a new house, moving away from family, oh and by the way WHO WANTS TO LIVE IN KANSAS?…the social implications begin to far outweigh the economic.

Of course, this is assuming that moving from state to state would produce a net positive economic impact. Moving is expensive, especially moving to another state that might be on the other side of the country. Can you find a job that pays you a comparable wage…hell can you even find another job? What’s the cost of living ,etc, etc.  I could sit here all day and list negative economic costs.

The Bottom line here is that the life of  an American is a lot more than just a number in an excel sheet. It doesn’t take common sense to figure out bullshit like this,  just normal sense.

The Pro Life Republican Senator Responsible For Those So-Called “Death Panels”

So you know those advanced care planning consultationsdeath panels” in the health care bill Republicans are raising hell over? Well aside from being complete and utter bullshit there’s an even better twist in this story. The person who came up with the idea for these so called “death panels”  is none other than Republican PRO LIFE Senator Johnny Isakson from Georgia. And get this, not only does Isakson stand by this provision in the health care bill, but he calls bullshit on republicans promoting this blatantly false lie in his recent interview with Ezra Klein:

Is this bill going to euthanize my grandmother? What are we talking about here?

In the health-care debate mark-up, one of the things I talked about was that the most money spent on anyone is spent usually in the last 60 days of life and that’s because an individual is not in a capacity to make decisions for themselves. So rather than getting into a situation where the government makes those decisions, if everyone had an end-of-life directive or what we call in Georgia “durable power of attorney,” you could instruct at a time of sound mind and body what you want to happen in an event where you were in difficult circumstances where you’re unable to make those decisions.

This has been an issue for 35 years. All 50 states now have either durable powers of attorney or end-of-life directives and it’s to protect children or a spouse from being put into a situation where they have to make a terrible decision as well as physicians from being put into a position where they have to practice defensive medicine because of the trial lawyers. It’s just better for an individual to be able to clearly delineate what they want done in various sets of circumstances at the end of their life.

How did this become a question of euthanasia?

I have no idea. I understand — and you have to check this out — I just had a phone call where someone said Sarah Palin’s web site had talked about the House bill having death panels on it where people would be euthanized. How someone could take an end of life directive or a living will as that is nuts. You’re putting the authority in the individual rather than the government. I don’t know how that got so mixed up.

Reading Between The Lines of the Birther Movement

Ezra Klein has a blog post up expressing his confusion about the “Birther Conspiracy. His basic premise is that he doesn’t really get since besides being factually incorrect, it also makes no sense. But the real gem in his blog entry doesn’t come from Ezra, it comes from one of his commenters who sums up the issue quite nicely:

They do not believe he is legitimate. If he is legitimate, the country they imagine does not exist. If he is, they no longer own that country, as they have believed they did for generations. For a certain number of millions of people, the America of Barack Obama simply cannot be home.

It is the exact same mindset that led Southerners to refuse to permit black soldiers even as the Confederacy was collapsing around them: if blacks could be soldiers, their entire theory of slavery was wrong. If Barack Obama can be a successful, honorable, and popular president, their entire theory of America is wrong.

The First Step is Taken: House Release its Health Care Reform Bill

I forgot to mention this earlier today, but the House has released its official health care reform bill. I’ll have more detailed thoughts tomorrow but Ezra has a pretty good breakdown of the central tenats of the bill here.

One Intial thought: Our laws are way too complicated. I understand that these are important bills that deal with important issues, but at some point all of this nuance and detail unnecessarily complicates policies. Any good policy should be able to be described in simple clear terms to a layperson. Mechanism of implementation should be detailed, the message behind what a bill seeks to accomplished should not be.