The Congressional Budget Office reported the U.S. Senate’s proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare would knock at least 15 million people off private insurance rolls by next year. And, the report from the nonpartisan office reports, up to 22 million more people would be without insurance over the next decade.
The reaction in the Capitol? A big ol’ harrumph from conservatives and a snarky told-ya-so from liberals.
Basically each side accepts only what it wants to believe and rejects what it disdains.
And what do the folks who straddle the political middle — either right or left center — make of it?
They are skeptical. Somebody isn’t being straight with them. Or, perhaps, both sides aren’t.
And it’s not just Congress. It happens in state and local politics.
Take, for example, how officials in the city of Seattle have reacted to studies of the recently imposed minimum-wage hike.
Seattle’s left-leaning officials — including Mayor Ed Murray — were happy to see a University of California-Berkeley study that found the city’s minimum-wage experiment had been good for restaurant workers. It had resulted in higher pay with no negative impact on jobs.
The reaction was just the opposite in regard to the University of Washington study that found the higher minimum wage was costing jobs. UW researchers found a 9.4 percent drop in hours worked by low-wage workers, resulting in the equivalent of 6,317 full-time jobs eliminated. Despite the higher hourly wage, the average low-wage worker’s monthly pay dropped by $124 — a 6.6 percent pay cut — because of lost hours.
Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative Party, impugned the reputation of the lead UW researcher, The Seattle Times reported.
And, it wrote in a recent editorial, Mayor Murray “is apparently joining in the partisan cherry-picking of the research.”
This has got to stop.
Yes, there certainly can be honest disagreement over the results of research, but at this point, politicians of all ideological stripes dismiss the results without even bothering to read the studies or engaging in a healthy discussion of how researchers reached a conclusion.
It’s all, correctly, seen as political game-playing. It is also an insult to the intelligence of voters.
Complicated issues need real research so our leaders can do the work we elected them to do. It doesn’t mean all will agree, but it should mean we all must better understand this information even if — especially if — it challenges our political tribalism.