Did the Dem candidates jump the shark with this one?

They dropped a couple of doozies during last weeks debate…

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I went cool turkey (<= that’s not quite “cold turkey”, but pretty close) away from cable news while at the beach.

On return, I jumped off the wagon by watching parts of the Democratic debates.

I was expecting entertainment value … and I wasn’t disappointed.

Reminded me of the old Happy Days tv series that – among other things – coined the the phrase “jumping the shark”.

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Ratings were slipping, so they had Fonzie (Henry Winkler) jump a shark while water skiing … hoping (but failing) to generate some ratings-boosting buzz.

So now, according to Wikipedia:

Jumping the shark is the moment when something that was once popular that no longer warrants the attention it previously received makes an attempt at publicity, which only serves to highlight its irrelevance..

How does that apply to the Dem debates?

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There were several examples like Julian Castro asserting that unrestricted tax payer funded abortions should be provided to transgenders … raising an obvious question: biologically, can they even get pregnant?

Or, Kamala Harris saying that she’d deep-six employer-based health insurance … then post-debate saying that she misunderstood the question and meant “if you like your insurance plan, you can keep it”.

Where have I heard that one before?

But, the real show-stopper was when the moderator asked the candidates to “Raise your hand if your government  plan would provide healthcare for undocumented immigrants”.

Gotta admit that I was a bit surprised when every single candidate on the stage raised his / her hand.

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Are you kidding me?

The VA has been out of the news recently, but still sucks providing high quality, comprehensive healthcare to our veterans … and, according to PBS: “about 44 million people in this country have no health insurance, and another 38 million have inadequate health insurance”.

So, let’s entitle 10 million or so non-citizens to tax-payer funded healthcare.

Really?

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I thought that, maybe, I was just a cold-hearted outlier thinking that was a bad idea.

Turns out that I’m not alone.

CNN polled on the question:

Do you think health insurance coverage provided by the government should or should not be available to undocumented immigrants living in the United States?

The results: a clear majority (59%) said “no”;  38% said “yes”

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It’s tempting to say that only 38% said “yes” … but my reaction: “that many?”

After a moment of thought, the obvious became apparent as I recollected that the percentage of Americans who don’t pay any federal income taxes (or get a tax credit check from the government)  is approaching 50%.

Specifically, according to the Tax Policy Center:

The percentage of Americans who pay no federal individual income taxes was 44% percent in 2018 — about 2 percentage points above 2017.

Note: Historically high employment rates have boosted income, but Trump’s tax plan raised the income thresholds for tax-paying.

My hunch: Most of the 38% who like the idea of tax-payers footing the healthcare bill for non-citizens probably aren’t in the group that would be funding it.

That makes complete sense.

But, the Dems may have jumped the shark with the other 59% … the tax-payers.

My bet: We’ll be seeing the debate’s show-of-hands looped repeatedly during the 2020 campaign.

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