Econ 2: Spring 2014: UC Berkeley: Econ 2: Sample Final Exam II: B. Supply and Demand: Bubble-Tea Drinks Near Crony Capitalism University
Over at Project Syndicate: The Poverty of Right-Wing Piketty Criticism

They Start at the Top of the Evil Tree...: Live from the Roasterie CLXIV: April 30, 2014

...and hit every single branch of the evil tree on the way down. As Jon Gruber said, the propaganda from the Republican Party to scare people away from taking advantage of their benefits under the ACA is "awesome in its evilness".

Robert Calandra: Once opposed to ACA, now a convert: "Dean Angstadt... self-employed, self-sufficient logger... uninsured since 2009...

wanted nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act. "I don't read what the Democrats have to say about it because I think they're full of it," he told his friend Bob Leinhauser, who suggested he sign up. That refrain changed this year when a faulty aortic valve almost felled Angstadt.... "A lot of people I talk to are so misinformed about the ACA," Angstadt said. "I was, before Bob went through all this for me. I would recommend it to anybody and, in fact, have encouraged friends, including the one guy who hauls my logs."... It was taking him 10 minutes to catch his breath after felling a tree. By fall, he was winded after traveling the 50 feet between his house and truck.... "I knew that I was really sick," said the Boyertown resident. "I figured the doctors were going to have to operate, so I tried to work as long as I could to save money for the surgery. But it got to the point where I couldn't work."...

Leinhauser, 55, a retired firefighter and nurse, drove him to a doctor's office. "Dean only saw a doctor when he needed to because it made a big difference in his finances," Leinhauser said.... Leinhauser would urge Angstadt to buy a plan through the ACA marketplace. And each time, Angstadt refused.... January came.... His doctor made it clear he urgently needed valve-replacement surgery. Leinhauser had seen enough.... "The only thing he was ever really adamant about was that Obamacare was the real deal," Angstadt said. "I trusted him to at least take a look at it."

Leinhauser went to Angstadt's house, and in less than an hour, the duo had done the application. A day later, Angstadt signed up for the Highmark Blue Cross silver PPO plan and paid his first monthly premium: $26.11. "All of a sudden, I'm getting notification from Highmark, and I got my card, and it was actually all legitimate," he said. "I could have done backflips if I was in better shape." Angstadt's plan kicked in on March 1. It was just in time. Surgery couldn't be put off any longer. On March 31, Angstadt had life-saving valve-replacement surgery. "I probably would have ended up falling over dead" without the surgery, Angstadt said. "Not only did it save my life, it's going to give me a better quality of life"...

And every Republican politician or policy intellectual who is telling state politicians "it is not in your constituents' interest for you to expand Medicaid or promote exchange enrollment" or who is telling Americans not to explore whether the ACA marketplaces offer them better health insurance options than they have now--well, Dante talked about such people:

I sorrowed then, and now again I sorrow,
when I direct my mind to what I saw,
and curb my genius more than I am wont,

lest it should run when virtue guides it not;
that, if a kindly star, or aught that’s better,
have blest me, I myself may not regret it.

As many glow-worms as the countryman--
who on the hillside takes his rest, when he,
who lights the world, least hides his face from us,

while to the gnat the fly is giving way--
sees down along the valley where, perchance,
he gathers in his grapes, or ploughs his field;

with just as many flames the whole eighth trench
was gleaming bright, as I perceived at once,
when I was where its bottom came in view.

As he who by the bears avenged himself,
beheld Elijah’s chariot when it left,
and when to heaven its horses rose erect,

since he could not so trace it with his eyes,
as to see more than just the flame alone,
when like a little cloud it rose on high;

of such a nature were the flames that moved
along the gulley of the ditch, for none
displays its theft, though each a sinner hides.

Risen up to look, I so stood on the bridge,
that without being pushed I would have fallen,
had I not grasped a great projecting rock.

My Leader, who perceived me thus intent,
then said: “The spirits are within the fires,
and each is swathed by that wherewith he burns..."

And every Republican politician or policy intellectual who remains quiet in order to enhance their right-wing street creed as their fellows who rely on them for substantive policy analysis hit every branch of the evil tree on the way down--well, Dante talked about such people as well:

And I, whose head: was girt about with horror,
said: “Teacher, what is this I hear? What folk
is this, that seems so overwhelmed with woe?”

And he to me: “This wretched kind of life
the miserable spirits lead of those
who lived with neither infamy nor praise.

Commingled are they with that worthless choir
of Angels who did not rebel, nor yet
were true to God, but sided with themselves.

The heavens, in order not to be less fair,
expelled them; nor doth nether Hell receive them,
because the bad would get some glory thence.”

And I: “What is it, Teacher, grieves them so,
it causes them so loudly to lament?”
“I ’ll tell thee very briefly,” he replied.

“These have no hope of death, and so low down
is this unseeing life of theirs, that envious
they are of every other destiny.

The world allows no fame of them to live;
Mercy and Justice hold them in contempt.
Let us not talk of them; but look, and pass!”

And I, who gazed intently, saw a flag,
which, whirling, moved so swiftly that to me
contemptuous it appeared of all repose;

and after it there came so long a line
of people, that I never would have thought
that death so great a number had undone...

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