By: Tim Bean

Now You See it…

Magicians wield misdirection like scalpels or sledgehammers: sometimes subtle, sometimes not-so-subtle.  A street magician waggles one hand so you miss the coin tucked deftly into the other.  Penn and Teller turn on a 100-yard long underwater circle of bubbles so you don’t see the helicopter lift the submarine.  No matter the cost or scale, it’s all just misdirection.

And no one in history has ever pulled off misdirection so—

—special counsel Robert Mueller of obtaining unauthorized access to tens of thousands of transition emails, including what they claim to be documents protected—

—subtle on the surface and so epic in effect as the 115th United States Congress.  Without leaking a single sound byte that could swing back like a political boomerang, they were able to drain away the greatest bipartisan bill of the 21st century to bolster—

—the report estimates that only 2 million would apply, 1.6 million of whom would earn legal status over the next 10 years. A remaining 1 million would—

—rushed, barely-vetted tax reform legislation. Government needs money to pave those streets, pay those cops and buy those whiteboards.  Budget can be stripped to the bone, but the bone must be there.  The money has to come from somewhere. But—

—taking America backwards again. Many of these men claim to know God yet excuse sexual harassment accusations, rape allegations, racial prejudice and white supremacy. And lest we forget, the GOP—

—where? 

Summarized: CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) began in 1997 and gradually evolved through the push-and-pull of legislative leveling to an essential bill supported by both Republicans and Democrats.  At a cost of roughly $14 billion a year, the number of uninsured children in the US dropped to 4.5%, providing healthcare for 9 million kids. 

Kids.  I say kids.  It does not matter if you’re far-left or far-right, anyone who is a decent human being feels that kids should be cared for. And this wasn’t free healthcare for children, only partially subsidized.  The single-most beautiful piece of bipartisan legislation admitted that A.) Healthcare isn’t cheap, B.) All kids deserve healthcare, C.) If nothing else, we all want to help kids.  An intention so simple and pure—

—Jones on Tuesday defeated Moore by about 20,000 votes, or 1.5 percent, according to unofficial returns. But Moore, who has been accused of sexual misconduct—

—it’s almost Biblical. 

Then 2016 came along.  Although misdirection always had a place of honor in the bag of campaigning tricks, it was never used as effectively and often as in 2016.  How many times did you hear Don’t worry about that, look at this.  Misdirection. I may have done that, but he did this. Misdirection. Each time an interviewee left a probing question half-answered or unanswered, each—

—has ‘banned words’ is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process,” the HHS statement said. “HHS will continue to use the best scientific—

—criticism turned into personal attack, those are, all of them, variations of misdirection.  And it worked. Beautifully. 

The most savvy political pundits believe elections of any size typically come down to economics.  Whichever candidate promises to improve his or her constituency’s paycheck more tends to win.  It doesn’t always work, but it usually does.  So after the tumultuous parade of Look Here, Not Here in 2016, tax reform came along, a long touted goal of the GOP.  Cuts had to be made and they slashed, hacked and gutted with enthusiasm if not grace. 

EPA, DNR, services seen as extraneous to US citizenry saw their 2018 budgets dwindle.  But not enough.  Something else had to be cut, something huge and total.  I can imagine someone raising a carefully-manicured hand in committee and saying, “I have an idea.”

CHIP.  But how does a political party say they want to eliminate a children’s healthcare bill without admitting it?  No one wants a sound byte bouncing around social media that indirectly implies they want kids to get sick, do they?  It’s political poison.  So they don’t say anything.  They argue and discuss this, that and the other and angrily stab one finger at the accused—

—the business community is euphoric. Confidence among small businesses, manufacturers, homebuilders and consumers is the strongest in aggregate since the early 1980s, according—

—and so slowly and subtly, let that other hand make CHIP renewal legislation disappear.  And it did on September 30.  Some people heard about it, some people didn’t.  The headlines choked with other news, mostly Trump-this and Trump-that.  CHIP died and its residual funding leaked out like a half-clogged bathtub drain. A drain so slow you barely notice, but a drain nonetheless.  All but 11 states will run out of CHIP funds by March, 2018.  The last 11 may hang on longer, but not indefinitely.—

—many Americans could certainly benefit from putting aside some extra money in their savings accounts. We’re still among the worst savers in the—

Let me turn on the stage lights and let you see the trick, strings and all.  Within a year, millions of children will lose their health coverage.  Immunizations, checkups, prescriptions, gone for millions of children.  Congress let it go so the middle class can average an extra $40 a paycheck.  That’s a nice steak dinner every two weeks.  Most of the middle class don’t know where the money is coming from, through the expert use of Congressional and media misdirection.  Or they don’t care.  If it’s the former, then they deserve compassion and education, as the victim of a expert con. Worn from the experience but wiser. 

If it’s the latter, Ladies and Gentlemen. 

All I can say is I hope that steak dinner is delicious.  I sincerely hope it doesn’t taste like dead—

—The typical American family of four with a household income of $60,000 could save $1,182 a year, according to House GOP leaders. That’s less than $100 a month.
…And Now You Don’t. 

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