McGoverning

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Yes, Jan 2, 2018.

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  1. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

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    Sam is reminding people that he's complicated. He voted against Medicare the first time, and hasn't really changed his stripes. But yes it's a wakeup call, and a broader part of this trajectory where it's really kinda important that the McGoverners and the Boll Weevils are at odds with one another. Fortunately on an issue like MECA the Cold War liberals (yer Scoops on the right, yer Humps on the left) are still aboard the SS Rainbow Progressive Awakening for the social programz. Otherwise one could really get stuck. Also it is worth noting both the salience and the importance of reaching out to the Republican liberals on this, of whom there's an unusually high concentration in the Senate.
     
  2. Electric Monk Does Your Believing For You

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    Y’all are talking about sexy Concorde and no one noticed that Yes shoved the airline deregulation shiv in earlier? Even put a big lampshade on it with Kennedy’s strong backing, just like OTL. Pity that’s it so hard to stop in any TL with a POD in the ’70s, that whole deregulation/cripple unions fad that also accidentally wiped out any American city not big enough to be a hub oops.

    Fantastic sausage chapter, full of unintended consequences lurking.
     
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  3. CountDVB Dual Emperor of the Aztech and Maychanical Empires

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    Well, the prescription and pharmacy stuff is a problem in Canada OTL...

    But still...

    The McGovernator did it...

     
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  4. Planita13 Active Member

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    Personally I consider that it takes a significant amount of effort to make timeline focusing on the details enough to craft a complex world.

    You nail it like few others do.
     
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  5. Workable Goblin Spacepony

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    Why would you want to stop it? Okay, maybe as a really roundabout way of fighting climate change by making Amtrak or equivalent look more attractive...
     
  6. Electric Monk Does Your Believing For You

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    Because it worked very badly. For airlines who never again made money, for American cities, for unions.

    From another thread:

    Inflation adjusted about twice as much as 2006 before prices started going back up. Kennedy wound up berating his staff over airline deregulation, since he felt they had lied to him versus what actually happened:

     
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  7. Workable Goblin Spacepony

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    Airlines make plenty of money nowadays. Cities are fine; I don't know what these people are talking about with "cities being cut off from each other and the global economy," which doesn't square with my experience at all flying to a number of minor and "heartland" cities, including some of the ones they specifically name. And unions were probably pretty boned either way, given the general trajectory of things since the 1970s.

    So, still not seeing it.
     
  8. John Fredrick Parker Donor

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    @Yes First off, about the alt-EITC coming out of the Demogrant debates - I was doing some rough math with the numbers you were providing, and I seem to have come up with something interesting; if I'm right here, the difference between the maximum credit offered to a family and the poverty line is a difference of about OTL-present-$10,000, right? And the Minimum Wage has been raised to $2.00 an hour, which is roughly equivalent to OTL-present-$11, correct?

    Well, if I'm right here, then it occurs to me that a single person in a family could hypothetically fill most this gap with even a part-time job - working just 20 hours a week for just 49 weeks a year would net him (or her... though I imagine it likely would be him) about $1,920 in, say, contemporary dollars (adjusting inflation 1975 to 2019 brings that to over $9,000). And if any states happen to have a minimum wage above the federal level, they number would be even higher? Now obviously, this doesn't touch upon issues of the "deserving" vs "undeserving" poor which will likely shape these programs in detail, or other likely important gaps and additional expenses, plus there's always inflation ready to destroy any serious gains this makes, even if the McGovern Administration is fighting like hell against it.

    But aside from those obvious points - am I missing something else here? And if not - could TTL be seeing some interesting developments not only in the evolution of the American Welfare State, International Macro-Economic Systems, and whatnot - but also in the very "Work Culture" underlying the national and global economies as well? Could TTL manage to actually avert the decline of Leisure Time among the working poor and wealthy alike that OTL saw starting in the 1970's? And if so, could there be even more seismic changes emerging from that?

    Second off, how did Marlow Cook vote again?
     
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  9. Usili Carry On Wayward Son

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    It's going to be rather fascinating for how Blue Cross and Blue Shield are going to be handling this, since they are still 501(c)4s (their tax-exemption not yet having been removed by the '86 Tax Reform Act).
     
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  10. Expat Monthly Donor

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    Please never stop taking small digs at the Rt. Hon. Robert Carlyle Byrd, it is an evergreen pleasure.
     
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  11. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

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    You saw what I did there, I see :) Senator Byrd may have his moments ... but he sure hasn't had any so far.

    BC/BS is/are in an interesting position given the passage of MECA. I'd say they have a few options that may even vary state to state. In some cases they're the natural fit to provide mandate-satisfying plans for public service employees especially unionized ones. In other cases they could potentially be the best fit in a given state to handle the managed-care contract on that state's Medicaid provision, in Medicaid's new form as "Medicare supplemental insurance for really poor people." All things considered this development may be good for them, keep them focused on key tasks and forms of insurance provision rather than dabbling or getting greedy about moving to for-profit status. It'd make them less money but perhaps keep them in better institutional shape.

    Also it will be interesting to see how the competition over being preferred partners for companies big and small shakes out with other private insurers, and which insurers might just decide to get out of the health market, or instead plunge into it farther on grounds that Medicare-plus-mandate gives them something of a captive market for services.
     
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  12. King of the Uzbeks Charles Curtis is my Baby Daddy

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    He voted yes and no while simultaneously being present and not present.
     
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  13. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

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    I like everything about this comment. Everything. Especially since it's a glorious opportunity to spitball numbers and look at the kinds of things that come up.

    (We'll do it a little bit backwards though so I'll answer your last question first. Ol' Marlow was unavailable at the time of the vote, which happens sometimes even on big bills, on the face of it that's just an accident of bad timing with his schedule but he hasn't exactly moved heaven and earth to fix the problem, if you catch my drift.)

    So. The key thing to remember about the poverty level is that it's calculated on the basis of "a non-farm family of four" and so should be extrapolated up or down from there depending on total family-unit size. Having said that, you've still pointed out a very interesting situation. Let's say you have the mythic non-farm family of four, and a goodly number of folks actually do, the whole "two-point-four children and half a Labrador" kinda deal. (Slightly alien to those of us with four daughters and at least three pets, but horses for courses and all that.) On top of that, let's say that one parent in that family unit has a full-time minimum wage job. We'll call it 40 hours a week at the federal floor of $2.00/hr in 1973-74 money (already losing at least a little ground around the end of that time) for 50 full weeks a year. (I'll assume that for holidays everybody takes off, days sick, and a few incidentals that the minimum-wage worker has about two work weeks of unpaid time off a year.) With the EICP credits for the family (TTL's earned-income credit system) at this low level they'd get the full $2,000, plus the $4,000 a year gross income that comes to $6,000. In OTL!1974 dollars that adds up to $30,540 in current, contemporary money, just a little above the poverty-line figure of around $24-25k in current money. That's tight, but if they have any other forms of support (food credits of various kinds for the kids, living in a state where Medicaid might stretch in their direction or there's a good brokering system for supplemental insurance) then they can do all right. It's one of the things that actually helps sell the model to more conservative congresscritters because it lets you maintain - barely - a single-income family. Indeed if you have that full-time minimum wage earner plus the second parent working half-time at minimum wage (on the same calculated basis) then you're up to $8,000 in income, or $40,720 in today's money. Then you're starting to talk about some basic economic stability on beyond near-poverty (also achieved if a single worker makes the equivalent of $3/hr in 1974 money.)

    So it would take that or more with a larger family unit like the family-of-six max on the EICP. At the same time, it does provide a mechanism to get and keep a lot of families out of poverty with a single earner, if you can balance out fighting inflation and some mild cost-of-living increases to keep pace. That does seem to me to strike more of a balance on leisure time and preserve the ability of families to subsist on a single income so that if you add a second earner there are more things the family can do with its situation, rather than fall into the modern "two-income trap." Those sure seem like significant differences. An important question will be whether Our Plucky Heroes can keep up the absolute purchasing power of both the minimum wage and the earned-income credit, apace with or at least close to whatever inflation does ITTL.

    The trick remains dealing with single-parent families in pockets of high unemployment. If, say, you have a family unit of three (we'll call it mom and two kids) and there's a way for mom to work full-time at minimum wage, then with work and EICP you can bring in $5,500 which is about an eyelash over the poverty line. It's enough to have some basic security, provided there are means for child care, probably some nutritional food supports for the kids, etc. But it's tight. There a Demogrant model still works better, even if you credited a depreciated $1,000 (it's worth less in 1974 than it was in 1972) for each family member that gets you to $7,000 total for a family of three with mom at work full time on minimum wage. There you have some genuine basic security. It points out there is still an incentive for the McGovern crew to try and turn TTL's EICP into something more Demogrant-ish in the long term, in aid of concentrating its effects and reducing the need for other supplemental economic security programs. ITTL as IOTL the more conservative congresscritters (well, the Southerners at least and some of the Old Right Midwesterners, though not the Goldwaterite free marketeers) are OK with supporting the working poor so that's acted as a kind of gateway drug on incomes policy. The White House will try to be the water wearing away the stone on spreading income policy more broadly and eroding that "deserving"/"undeserving" distinction. At the same time, they intend to make a real effort (mileage may vary) to get jobs to the places and people that need them.
     
  14. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

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    Ah, the old Schrodinger's Cat ploy... </Maxwell Smart>

    And yeah that's actually a very good representation of just how conflicted Cook is between caucus loyalties and personal principles, between what his constituents want and the fact his constituents may not want to share the benefits with Those People.
     
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  15. Expat Monthly Donor

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    I predict it's gonna be along the lines of "We're one vote shy of cloture, let's go bribe Robert." And they will. And everyone will go home happy.
     
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  16. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

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    Also I really like you bringing up the leisure-time factor here, for a couple of reasons. One, because I am indeed working to factor that in to popular/ground-level culture stuff over the longer life of the story, when we start to read some of that kind of thing a few chapters down the line.

    Also, because I lived that change. My late mother was a college professor, so she had some flexibility built into her schedule. When I was young, say elementary school, at Christmas time she usually made two to three full batches of Christmas cookies between early December and Christmas, and another one or two thereafter during the time off up to New Year's. Probably about two batches for us over the course of December (and really we're talking about several different types of cookies here so really it's multiple batches) and one full set that turned into gift plates given to close friends, my school teacher of that year, her favorite secretary at the Poli Sci department, etc. Also we did some fairly elaborate things during Advent. She was an Appalachian farm girl turned Berkeley PhD, she was a paleo-Etsy type when she really got going. So this is the late Seventies we're talking about, really, up through what I'd call the end of the "lived Seventies" which was my third grade year punctuated towards the end by the attempted Reagan assassination. (In terms of the question "what was the real Seventies?" as opposed to just dates on a number line I'd say "the Seventies" stretched from January 1973 to March 1981, from all the goings-on at the start of Nixon's second term to the Reagan assassination attempt.)

    Then, between that time and 1986 - and I remember clearly that it was the Christmas season of 1986 - that year we didn't even start on the first batch of Christmas cookies until the day after Christmas. We made some deliberate efforts to claw back time for that kind of thing thereafter, but that's how the "leisure window" collapsed during that period, in terms of one metric of lived experience that mattered to me while growing up. So, I too am interested to see how this pans out over time ITTL.
     
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  17. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

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    God I love primary sources ...

    https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/1976/demographics/p60-102.pdf

    Well-written analytical and narrative histories are awesome, especially the ones that sweep over big topics or eras and teach you what the issues are and what's another good read about the subject and where you want to dig. But for me, there's really nothing like good primary material. Census demographic data? Political party platforms? Private political campaign reports on polling data? Copies of the Congressional Record on topics I'm after? (true story: I once did an endzone dance in my living room, to my daughters' surprise and delight, upon finding that all fifty-three pages of John Holum's proposal for a line-item alternative defense budget for the McGovern campaign had been read into Congressional Record and that's just one example.) Good stuff in the Foreign Relations of the United States series (a personal favorite, my idea of a relaxing read) ? Stories from people who worked for important companies about the paths and products that might have been including their concept proposals, drawings, etc.? Scripts for unfilmed movies? Formerly classified intelligence reports? Unpublished memoirs? That stuff is always my drug of choice.
     
  18. Planita13 Active Member

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    Ah so you're that kind of nerd
     
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  19. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

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    Nerd big or go home :)
     
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  20. Usili Carry On Wayward Son

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    Agreed, yeah. Although I'd imagine there's not necessarily the 'make them less money' bit, as they are still non-profits (the tax code change not having arrived here yet, or whether it will even come about ITTL b/c of their significantly increased role will be another interesting question that I'm now weirdly wondering about here).
     
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