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Forget Tax Cuts; Let’s Nationalize Health Insurance!

You want ridiculous? How about a Republican President stepping to the mic in the White House to discuss the public health threat of coronavirus and making the first policy proposal out of his mouth a tax cut?

Trump said that top administration officials will be meeting with Republican members of the House and Senate on Tuesday to discuss the possible payroll tax cuts and help for hourly workers.

“Very substantial relief that’s a big number,” Trump said. “We’re also going to be talking about hourly wage earners getting help so that they can be in a position so they are not going to ever miss a paycheck,” he said [Bobby Allyn, “Trump: Payroll Tax Cuts and Hourly Worker Relief Possible in Coronavirus Repsonse,” NPR, 2020.03.09].

Oh, and corporate welfare:

Trump said the White House is also working with the Small Business Administration and industries including airlines, cruise ship businesses and hotel owners, which are all grappling with economic hardship as demand from consumers slumps and travelers cancel plans.

“We are going to take care of and have been taking care of the American public and the American economy,” Trump said [Allyn, 2020.03.09].

A tax cut isn’t going to speed any research and treatments, send more testing kits to states, or cover serious medical costs.

If we’re going to exert any government interference in the economy, we should at least do something that addresses the root problem. I prefer a more direct approach: let’s nationalize the health insurance industry to ensure that everyone’s clinic and hospital visits are fully covered for the next two months. If you get so much as a sniffle, head straight to the clinic—we’ll pay for it. That’s a real public health intervention.


  1. Wayne B. 2020-03-10 08:09


    The current advice is to stay away from healthcare facilities unless your sniffle is something dire, lest the healthcare infrastructure get overwhelmed and contagion spread.

  2. mike from iowa 2020-03-10 08:43

    Wingnuts are already talking corporate bailouts. Dems proposed targeted tax cuts, paid leave and increased foodstamps to help fight the coming recession.

  3. Buckobear 2020-03-10 10:49

    No tax cut for any trump entity until he releases his tax information.

  4. jerry 2020-03-10 11:33

    Tax cut equals bail out, or BRIBE. Short term as it is. Meanwhile, the country that is taking over as real leadership of the world, China, marches on with a huge economic game plan Same old song and dance. The wealthy get stroked while we taxpayers get one.

  5. jerry 2020-03-10 11:44

    We had better Nationalize it fast. Today, in Iran, more than 54 died due to the virus.

    “Coronavirus killed 54 more people in Iran in the past 24 hours, the highest toll in a single day since the start of the outbreak in the country.

    Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, for the first time since the epidemic began – a sign Beijing believes its efforts to control the virus were working.”

    We in America still do not have tests widely available. South Dakota claims to have 900 test kits, for a state under a million in population. Meanwhile, In El Paso, Texas, about the same population as we have here, they have 65 kits. trump republicans along with the trump senate republicans, know that by lying to keep the numbers down with no test kits, they hope to fool us. Do your best to take care of yourselves, your government has abandoned you to keep the rich folks even richer.

  6. o 2020-03-10 11:46

    Is this like the last “tax cut” that was really a reduction in monthly government withholdings BUT not a true cut so that the bill was still due at the end of the year but insufficiently paid so that people were stuck scrambling to find the money to pay in at the end of the year?

    It put more money in pockets — for a while; then penalized the spending of that money when it was needed later to pay taxes.

  7. mike from iowa 2020-03-10 11:53

    O, if memory serves, that taxcut was designed in such a way as to not increase the deficit by a certain amount. If that amount wasn’t reached, wingnuts were able to pass the taxcut with a simple majority vote.

    Another gift from Moscum Mitch McCTurtlefsrtface. (Based on an earlier rule that hadn’t been used forever)

    Here is that sucker rule…..

  8. mike from iowa 2020-03-10 11:56

    O, if memory serves, that taxcut was designed in such a way as to not increase the deficit by a certain amount. If that amount wasn’t reached, wingnuts were able to pass the taxcut with a simple majority vote.

    Another gift from Moscum Mitch McCTurtlefsrtface. (Based on an earlier rule that hadn’t been used forever)

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-10 11:57

    OK, Wayne, how about we nationalize the health insurance industry and pay for an immediate emergency expansion of telemedicine and drive-through COVID-19 test facilities? Those are still more rational public health responses than cutting taxes and depriving government of resources when it needs them.

  10. mike from iowa 2020-03-10 12:08

    As we are wont to do, we learn the taxcuts drumpf proposed were total news to any and everyone else in the kremlin annex. Stocks responded positively until there were doubts about whether there would be any taxcuts and the Dow lost its gain for the day.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-10 12:12

    Senator Chuck Schumer has an idea for more targeted coronavirus response—emergency unemployment insurance:

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer attacked Trump for talking about “another tax cut” and urged the president to focus on efforts to contain the virus itself, such as paid sick leave for affected workers.

    “We first have to deal with the direct issues affecting coronavirus, the health issues,” Schumer told reporters. “And then one thing we could do immediately to deal with the economic issues is emergency unemployment insurance. We’ve done that before. It goes right to the people who are out of work. It puts money in their pockets and is targeted right at the crisis” [Steven T. Dennis, “Democrats Cast Doubt on Trump’s Payroll Tax Cut Plan for Virus,” Bloomberg, 2020.03.10].

    (Now that Bloomberg has quit running for President, I can cite his company’s news articles again.)

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-10 12:17

    See also Senator Ron Wyden, same source as above:

    Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, suggested in a statement that a payroll tax cut “wasn’t the best answer in this case.”

    “The best way to prevent economic damage is to stop the spread of the virus,” Wyden said. “President Trump isn’t going to wriggle out of addressing this growing public health crisis with tax cuts.”

    Wyden said a payroll tax cut will do little to help workers who lack paid sick leave or who have lost work or tips [Dennis, 2020.03.10].

    Democrats come up with better public policy on the fly than Donald Trump does with a White House full of advisors… because Democrats read, study, and listen, while Trump ignores everyone else and wings it every day.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-10 12:22

    This coronavirus outbreak demonstrates why we need a profoundly thoughtful, well-read, and curious statesman or stateswoman (i.e., the exact opposite of Donald Trump) as President. When a new and dangerous situation arises, we need someone who has a wealth of knowledge to draw on to formulate immediate responses and who then has the curiosity and self-confidence to seek, take in, and make use of information from other, even more expert sources to monitor progress, adapt plans to changing circumstances, and assure the public that smart, capable people are actually doing the best they can rather than cowering before a tyrannical boss who cannot admit his own ignorance and fecklessness and who can’t think past the latest Twitter slogan or his own poll numbers.

  14. Chris S. 2020-03-10 12:34

    Pet Peeve: I’m not disagreeing with you in principle, Cory, but I don’t need a “curious” statesman/stateswoman — nor do I think the highest, most withering, most rareified insult to anyone is to call them “incurious.”

    “Curious” like a magpie, fascinated by shiny objects? Or just “curious” as preening jargon, like when people started using “disconnect” as a noun? I must not be Intellectually Curious™ enough to appreciate it.

    Sorry. Here endeth the rant.

  15. Moses6 2020-03-10 14:26

    can we do better than trump , and Noem, and slick Mike.

  16. jerry 2020-03-10 14:40

    I’m curious, and I think others may be as well. trump said he was gonna make a speech on the economy “Tuesday”, “tomorrow”. I assumed that was today, but he didn’t say anything that had to do with what he promised he was gonna speak about yesterday.

    “(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump promised to announce “substantial” economic measures on Tuesday to combat the fallout from the coronavirus, including aid for the airline and cruise industries, yet continuing uncertainty about the details led early gains on Wall Street to fade.

    Trump’s economic steps — which could include a payroll tax cut and paid sick leave — haven’t been communicated to Congress yet, though he is dispatching his top aides to start pitching the measures on Capitol Hill. The president, speaking at a White House meeting with insurance executives, said his administration will provide assistance to cruise lines and airlines, without offering details.”

    With trump and his republican senators, everything is “could” nothing done, just “could”. I find that all curious…not.

  17. jerry 2020-03-10 14:49

    With nationalized healthcare, we would then be able to test. Private companies in New York City just found a surprise, there are a lot of people with the virus.

    “Private labs that began running coronavirus tests in New York City on Friday are reporting so many new cases that public officials are having trouble keeping up, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters Tuesday.

    “They’re coming in so intensely now that being able to give you a detailed case breakdown, we’re not in that position to do that at this moment because there are so many coming forward,” de Blasio said, speaking at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. “As of 12 noon … the number of confirmed cases in New York City is 36, that’s 16 new since yesterday and 11 new even since this morning at 7 a.m. when I last spoke about this.”

    Almost 2,000 New York City residents are in voluntary isolation while 30 people are in mandatory quarantine, he said.”

  18. mike from iowa 2020-03-10 15:32

    27 known dead as of around noon today.

    One last thing, O, about drumpf’s taxcuts. The deal was to make taxcuts for either the wealthy or working Joe’s permanent, but not both, because that would queer the deficit busting deal and cause the maneuver to fail. So wingnuts chose to reward the hard working idle rich with permanent taxcuts instead of those who needed the help.

  19. Wayne B. 2020-03-10 16:34

    Cory, nationalized health insurance isn’t a panacea. Sure, the test could be fully covered, but it takes time to ramp up production of the test. Just like it takes time to produce N95 masks in Brookings’ 3M plant (even fully staffed for 24/7 production).

    That said, I’m all behind telemedicine as a supplement. Not so sure about drive-thru Covid testing.

    I also like the idea of some form of emergency temp unemployment insurance for those who need to quarantine and can’t work from home.

  20. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-10 17:29

    Chris, I understand the peeve, but I think Trump’s lack of curiosity is one of his greatest weaknesses. He doesn’t really want to learn new things. He views learning as an admission that he doesn’t know everything. He wants to believe that he knows everything he needs to know; he thus does not seek out or welcome new knowledge. He wants to be able to simply spout, without study or preparation, as if everything bubbling from his brain is automatic intellectual gold. That’s why I emphasize curiosity, a willingness to learn, as a key difference between Trump and an effective leader.

  21. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-10 17:30

    Wayne, I’m not looking for a panacea. I’m looking for practical steps with practical impact far more immediate and useful in addressing the problem at hand than a tax cut.

    We nationalized the auto industry to build tanks and planes for World War 2. That worked pretty well. In a crisis, you can’t wait for the private sector to decide whether or not to act.

  22. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-10 17:31

    I agree with the unemployment insurance idea: it’s targeted to folks suffering right now, not diffused across the economy.

    Of course, the core problem we need to attack is the disease, not the economic side effects.

  23. jerry 2020-03-10 17:42

    These workers are part time workers that work sometimes 3 and 4 jobs. Does anyone really think they will qualify for help? If so, what job will they be able to draw from?
    Methinks that is not gonna happen. Right now, they are called furloughed, remember that word as it will keep showing up so as not to pay. We need nationalized healthcare and we need it badly.

  24. jerry 2020-03-10 17:44

    Rapid City has one person dead from covid-19.

    “There are five presumptive positive cases of coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, in South Dakota, including a Pennington County man who has died.

    Gov. Kristi Noem said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that each case is related to travel. Whether the travel was domestic or international wasn’t disclosed at the press conference.”

    But the stock market went up today so all is well in trump country.

  25. jerry 2020-03-10 17:58

    I don’t like our governor, but I think she is doing all she can do with what she has. It is up to EB5 Rounds and the phantom number 3 guy, Thune to light a damn fire under their dear leader to make this a national emergency. Your senators are letting us down by their lockstep stupidity.

    “As Washington state grapples with what may be the country’s worst outbreak of novel coronavirus, the absence of a COVID-19 emergency declaration from President Trump has hamstrung its ability to respond to the crisis.

    The state would like to apply for a Medicaid waiver that would let Washington give people more options for where to receive care, so that it can lessen the pressure on its already overtaxed health system.”

    I want my country back.

  26. Debbo 2020-03-10 18:40

    I’m engaging some righties on FB and they simply deny. There’s no discussion on the issue of Covid-19, just name calling and denial.

  27. mike from iowa 2020-03-10 18:55

    Right, Clyde. You’d get an experienced, competent cabinet with Biden, assuming any of that list read was true.

    You should get on your knees and thank dog someone knows enough to surround themselves with competence and knowledge.

  28. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-10 19:11

    Hey, Clyde, how about laying off the Trump stand-in-ism? I’m not taking the clickbait; I’m sticking by the main thesis of this post: Trump is an ineffective manager with no grasp of how to directly, effectively, humanely respond to the real needs of working Americans… or, for that matter, the many retired and underage Americans who are threatened by a pandemic but not helped by a payroll tax cut. Replacing Trump is vital to restoring America’s ability to lead the world in smart and robust crisis response.

  29. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-10 19:13

    Jerry, I’m not too worried about Kristi Noem’s covid-19 response yet. She’s got Tony Venhuizen to tell her what to do.

    Wouldn’t it be something if we learned that hemp oil helped fight viral infections and strengthen the immune system?

  30. mike from iowa 2020-03-10 19:13

    Dem with a B wins Miss and Missouri, so far.

  31. grudznick 2020-03-10 20:11


  32. Clyde 2020-03-10 20:12

    Well its done for Sanders anyway and IMO Trump wins regardless of what I say or do.

  33. Debbo 2020-03-10 20:27

    NPR says that polls show over 50% in Michigan, Mississippi and Missouri favored universal health insurance. Apparently that wasn’t the overriding factor in their votes however, since Biden won all 3 states.

    NPR doesn’t have anything yet on what was the #1 influence so I’m going to guess:
    Getting Criminal Creep and his Cabal of Crooks out of the WH.

    Of course we’ll have to send in hazmat crews, probably more than once, to completely fumigate and de-infest the place. They’ll have to give special attention to bathrooms and anywhere Stephen Goebbels Miller lurked.

    I’ll be happy to chip in on the expense. Who’s with me?

  34. mike from iowa 2020-03-10 20:48

    Biden won the black vote in Mississippi by nearly 80%.

  35. Curt 2020-03-10 20:54

    @Debbo – !st, you’re my hero … I will gladly, happily, joyously chip in. But 1st the current occupant must be removed. By force, if necessary.

  36. jerry 2020-03-10 21:01

    Oh Clyde, bless your heart boy. We never would’ve guessed how quickly you have tossed in the towel.

  37. jerry 2020-03-10 21:11

    As much as I hate to say it, I hope that this is enough for Bernie and he pulls the plug on his run. We can still get at least part of what we want with nationalized healthcare by simply reinventing the wheel of the ACA with the Medicaid Expansion in it. When Biden gets in and has a Democratic Senate, we can allow the wonderful Ginsberg to take her leave and put in a young Supreme Court Justice that will continue to follow the Constitution.

    BTW Clyde, your favorite racist got his arse busted for domestic assault on his wife and DUI. Life is funny like that. Booyah!!

    “An arrest affidavit for Jones says a sheriff’s deputy responded at 10:10 p.m. Monday to a western Travis County residence for a disturbance reported by Jones’ wife.

    His wife had told the dispatcher they were in a verbal fight that had been physical earlier in the day, the affidavit says. She said Jones left the residence in a black Dodge Charger and that he was possibly drinking, the affidavit says.

    Jones told the deputy that he had drank a bottle of sake at the restaurant.

    The deputy conducted sobriety tests on Jones. His eyes were described in the affidavit as being watery and glassy with constricted pupils. His demeanor was described as excited, talkative, carefree and cooperative, according to the court documents.

    Jones had a blood alcohol level of 0.076 at 11:55 p.m. and a level of 0.079 at 11:59 p.m. The legal blood alcohol limit while driving in Texas is 0.08.”

    Damn, a bottle of Sake? What kind of sissy Texan gets drunk on that?

  38. Debbo 2020-03-10 23:37

    Thanks Curt. 😁

  39. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-11 07:08

    The payroll tax cut is failing to gain traction, so now Trump is suggesting he might just put off the April 15 tax deadline… because again, the first step to helping the government robustly respond to a public health crisis is to have people not pay taxes to support the government.

    Filing taxes is not directly hindered by coronavirus. Most people can file online.

  40. Richard Schriever 2020-03-11 09:20

    FYI – for all of those of you who do not immediately comprehend the meaning of the specific words “Payroll Taxes”; Payroll taxes are specifically what is withheld for SS and Medicare funding – NOT Federal Income tax withholding. Social Security and Medicare. THAT is what the term “payroll taxes” means. So the Trump admins response to a disease which most adversely affects the elderly and the ill is to CUT FUNDING for programs specifically for those folks most in need of increased funding in this situation.

  41. jerry 2020-03-11 10:36

    Spot on Mr. Schriever, yep, that’s it, tax the poor and the old guys cause we’re the ones to die first in this pandemic. This bunch of crooks and liars seem to be inept at handling anything but getting into your knickers.

  42. jerry 2020-03-11 10:45

    From Winston Churchill, that noted socialist hippie.

    “The discoveries of healing science must be the inheritance of all. That is clear.
    “Disease must be attacked, whether it occurs in the poorest or the richest man or woman simply on the ground that it is the enemy; and it must be attacked just in the same way as the fire brigade will give its full assistance to the humblest cottage as readily as to the most important mansion.

    Our policy is to create a national health service in order to ensure that everybody in the country, irrespective of means, age, sex, or occupation, shall have equal opportunities to benefit from the best and most up-to-date medical and allied services available.”

    So yeah, Cory is on the same page as Winston Churchill. Thanks for all you do.

  43. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-11 11:46

    Clyde, I’m glad you’ve settled that issue for yourself. Now you can cast your vote for Biden with the rest of us and move on to other topics, like the discussion of the actual topic raised by this blog post, how to properly respond to coronavirus in public policy.

  44. jerry 2020-03-11 13:18

    We now learn that trump and the republicans classified the coronavirus response and hid it…just like China did. So then, the big difference is that China actually has a national healthcare system that works or they build hospitals in a week to accommodate the sick.

    “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House has ordered federal health officials to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified, an unusual step that has restricted information and hampered the U.S. government’s response to the contagion, according to four Trump administration officials.”

    EB5 Rounds and Thune had the opportunity to rid ourselves of this pest in the White House but they chose to keep his sorry arse and for that, they both need to leave Washington to spend their ill gotten gains. Shame on them all.

  45. Eve Fisher 2020-03-11 14:42

    If the President wants a real emergency relief package, a/k/a stimulus plan, to help with the coronavirus fallout, here are my suggestions:

    1 – Mortgage relief for all those who are laid off or furloughed for the duration of the pandemic
    2 – Automatic unemployment payments for all those who are laid off or furloughed for the duration. of the pandemic, including hourly workers and gig economy workers (think child care, food service workers, hospitality workers, teachers, etc.).
    3 – Student loan relief / amnesty for all those who are laid off or furloughed for the duration of the pandemic.

    Basically, what’s needed is a relief package for the workers of America, who – if quarantines are set in place – will be left sitting without income and not much cash.

    Meanwhile, CEOs, executives, politicians, not to mention the corporations, are all still sitting on a ton of money from the tax cuts. They’ll kvetch and moan, but they’ll be fine.

  46. jerry 2020-03-11 15:37

    Ms. Fisher, good points. I would add further on your list

    1. Yep
    2. If you consider unemployment, which job? How about 100% of the total jobs per week. If the unemployment is 70%, they will not have enough money to pay attention
    3. Student loan forgiveness period. That anvil on the necks of people in a gig economy is a death sentence. Forgive it, period.
    4. An actual stimulus (think Obama) that will put folks to work in real jobs not the bs we’ve been seeing in the republican economy. Start building rail lines (think China), roads, bridges (including our county roads and bridges right here in rural America.

    Fix and rebuild America with more healthcare and more opportunities. Tax the rich to get the funding, they’ve got it off shore, bring it back.

  47. Eve Fisher 2020-03-11 17:05

    I agree, Jerry.

  48. Debbo 2020-03-11 17:59

    Eve and Jerry, good plans!

  49. Debbo 2020-03-11 18:33

    An unknown Tweeter said,

    “I am so glad that our President proposed a tax cut to combat the Corona Virus. Doctors and some really smart people are saying that viruses are very sensitive to tax policy.”

  50. jerry 2020-03-11 18:45

    Now is the time ladies to get those ideas in play. The trump slump has hit and will devastate workers all across this land. Let’s put them to work on real jobs with real futures.

    “The coronavirus outbreak is taking a deep toll on the U.S. economy, prompting hundreds of layoffs over the past week alone and halting a historic 11-year bull market in stocks.

    Strong job growth and soaring financial markets have fueled the U.S. economic expansion over the past decade. Now the rapid market decline and initial layoffs are heightening fears that the longest economic expansion in U.S. history could come to a sudden end, just a month after unemployment stood at a half-century low.” Washington Post 3.11.20

    We are rudderless now, so vote blue in November to rid ourselves of our nightmare of failure and hate of our EB5 senator and his leader. We may not be able to rid ourselves of Rounds, but trump has gotta go.

  51. jerry 2020-03-11 19:47

    In Omaha, we are seeing the ugliness of failed leadership from the republican senate and from their leader. The slump is here. In this person’s case, she can move back in with mom and dad.

    “Baiden King lost her job at Carson’s Cookie Fix bakery in Omaha on Tuesday because online sales and customer traffic dried up dramatically — especially after the state’s first case of covid-19 was reported nearby. The company didn’t return a request for comment. King said her manager told her when she showed up for her shift that morning she had no choice. King made $11 an hour.

    “If my job’s laying off people, I can only imagine other employers are as well,” said King, who is preparing to move back in with her parents. “I’m not sure anyone will be hiring.”” Washington Post 03.11.20

    If you want to see how much the furloughed or laid off person might receive in South Dakota, here ya go

    Anyone who doesn’t see the need for Medicaid Expansion by nationalizing healthcare, is clearly a republican who doesn’t have any kids or family whatsoever.

  52. jerry 2020-03-11 21:11

    If you’re cashy and spooked, you can always move to Igloo. The bunkers there are now up for those well heeled folks that don’t want to hang around with us riff-raf. Check it out. Don’t know how they’re gonna get doctors and nurses there, but they have their own nationalized health plan, paid for with our tax dollars.

  53. Eve Fisher 2020-03-12 08:51

    You know, what the survivalists never grasp is that
    (1) I personally want to be at ground zero in case of nuclear attack, etc., not fighting the mutant insects out of my hut
    (2) No matter how secure you are, you are still gonna die. Join the rest of humanity and try to save us, not escape from us.

  54. o 2020-03-12 11:14

    Eve and Jerry, I agree with your lists of relief that people will need to get through this crisis. What I HATE is knowing that this will all become political fodder once this has passed for cutting the social welfare net because all this new spending forces some hard decisions. this will be a layer of spending that allows the GOP to ignore the tax cuts’ responsibility for deficits AND their contribution to the crisis by forcing gaps in systems to prevent/manage/combat outbreaks like these. We are paying Paul to rob Peter later.

  55. jerry 2020-03-12 11:26

    Exactly o, this payroll tax elimination is only designed to rob Medicare and Social Security. It’s so painfully obvious that trump sycophants can’t see it. They think this will only hurt the folks of color, the dummies don’t know that white is a color too.

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