Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Knockout Idea For The Left

For all the wailing and crying many in the media have been doing lately about Obamacare, as we pointed out Tuesday, the truth is that the ACA is beginning to succeed. In many ways, that also means those on the political left are beginning to land punches not just politically, but on a policy level - a fact that terrifies many on the political right.

The perfect example of that kind of success is, in fact, the ACA - also known as Obamacare.

Indeed, as Greg Sargent noted Wednesday, Democratic political groups are revamping the strategies they used in 2012 to go on offense, in order to showcase the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. They're also highlighting the choice Republicans have forced the nation into for 2014: Should America fix the ACA, like Democrats want? Or should America repeal Obamacare entirely, then attempt to replace it with the empty platitudes and non-existent alternative legislation Republicans keep promising they'll come up with...someday.

As always, the real test is in the data - and those results are clearly showing Democrats landing more and more punches.

As John Cassidy pointed out in the New Yorker this week, in states where they've actually tried to make Obamacare work, Americans love it. Kevin Drum also focused our attention on a national poll from CBS that shows Obamacare has only taken a modest hit in the polls amidst all the negativity from the right - meaning that Americans still fundamentally believe in Obamacare.

The data also shows that the ACA is already accomplishing one of its top goals: to stop the continual rapid growth of health costs. As a report from the Council of Economic Advisers released this week proves, the ACA has slowed the rate of health care inflation to the lowest level in fifty years, slowing health care spending growth to its lowest level ever recorded. Like a panel of boxing judges, USA Today, Steve Benen, and Sarah Kliff all looked at the data and concurred: the ACA is winning the health cost fight.

That's not the only success for Democrats, though as Thomas Edsall notes, success on Obamacare is incredibly important.

Another big win for Democrats is happening in the inequality ring, specifically with the minimum wage fight. From Massachusetts and New Jersey, to Washington state, and California, Americans continue to vote in favor of substantial minimum wage increases, turning "minimum wage" jobs into "living wage" jobs.

Those are just wins though, that even the score. Democrats are finally going on offense too, after years of playing defense.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is a perfect example of this, especially in her speech earlier this week, calling for an expansion of Social Security. In case you'd forgotten, not only did Warren spearhead the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but the CFPB is already getting results. In concert with the DOJ, the CFPB helped broker the massive $13B penalty fine Wall Street goliath JP Morgan has to pay, because of the bank's shenanigans that helped cause the Great Recession. As David Dayen points out, that settlement isn't as harsh as it should have been - but it is a good start.

Democrats are also pushing forward in the Senate, ready to nuke the filibuster, they're pushing forward on the military sexual assault bill, and as Greg Sargent also pointed out, Democrats are daring Republicans to take the nation hostage over the budget deal in 2014.

In other words, Democrats are landing punches on all fronts, while Republicans are up against the ropes. Which means Democrats should not be questioning their ability or their positions.

The only thing Democrats should be questioning at this point is how much progress they’re willing to help the American people get.