DeTrumpification, Part 3: Privatization Promotes Corruption

8 mins read

The Trump years were full of private profit, with the president himself trying to make a dollar on as many of his activities as possible, in a brazen display of Republican corruption. Decades ago, the Reaganites told us the private sector could do things far more efficiently. But just like trickle-down economics, that has proven to be a major lie. Instead of efficiency, privatization has fostered more lobbying opportunities (and campaign financing). Contracting out military services, which increased greatly under former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney, led to less accountability for shoddy work and dangerous practices, like the burn pits that still affect many of our veterans today. Prison privatization has led to harsher sentences, with private prison lobbyists helping draft state laws governing criminal justice. Contrary to the Reaganite myth, privatization has cost U.S. taxpayers a lot more than it’s saved, financially and ethically.

When the American people heard President Biden explain the scope of his good government agenda in the State of the Union address, his popularity rose dramatically. We the people support rebuilding our infrastructure, decisive action on global warming, and fair taxation to fund a stronger social safety net during these challenging times. Democrats should campaign on those aspirations and against any further privatization of essential government services.

Democrats should be blocking any further privatization of Social Security or Medicare. So it was alarming to learn that the Biden administration plans to extend a Trump-era pilot Direct Contracting program for Medicare, rebranding it as ACO REACH. The Trump program inserted Direct Contracting Entities (DCEs) between Medicare beneficiaries and their medical-care providers. These middlemen organizations are allowed to keep up to 40 percent of the taxpayer dollars they receive as profit and overhead—even worse than Medicare Advantage contractors that can keep 15 percent.

Tell President Biden and our MOCs to stop further privatization of Medicare. 

More than 250 advocates of healthcare for all, including several Indivisible groups, are openly opposing this privatization of Medicare by the Biden administration. Sign their petition to Health & Human Services Director Becerra.

We must support the Ukrainian people with aid and sanctions

For two weeks, with horror and anguish, we’ve watched the autocrat Putin wield Russian military might to grind down and destroy the fragile democracy that the Ukrainian people were struggling to create. A democracy and growing economic equity on Putin’s doorstep threatens him and his oligarchs because it may inspire the Russian people by example. The grim reality is that military experts now predict that once the Russian army encircles Ukraine’s major population centers, Putin will pound them into submission with indiscriminate shelling and bombing, as he has done before in Grozny, Chechnya and Aleppo, Syria.

We support increasing emergency military and humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian people through normal State Department, international, and NGO channels. We also recognize that establishing a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine is a form of active military engagement that risks a wider European conflict—a war that Putin might well escalate to nuclear weapons. 

Active military engagement between NATO and Russia would also provide propaganda cover for Putin by allowing him to disguise his naked aggression against Ukraine as “defensive.” Rather than protecting Ukraine, it would politically free Putin to ruthlessly wreak even greater destruction. 

We support Speaker Pelosi’s call for a ban on importing Russian oil and gas, even if that means a significant increase in gasoline prices. We urge that oil be released from the strategic reserve to stabilize prices. And if necessary to prevent price-gouging by Big Oil, we can impose temporary mandatory price controls pegged to world benchmark prices. 

Tell Biden and our Members of Congress to continue supporting the Ukrainian people with emergency military and humanitarian aid and sanctions.

More ways to help Ukraine

At least 2 million Ukrainians have already fled Putin’s murderous advance, and millions more face a looming humanitarian disaster caused by the conditions of war.

If you wish to donate to local and international organizations that are providing humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian people, we have provided a few links below.

USA for UNHCR: the UN Refugee Agency (Donate)
Kyiv Independent: Local journalism in Ukraine (Patreon/GoFundMe)
Doctors Without Borders: Field medical aid (Donate)
The Voices of Children Foundation: Ukrainian NGO that aids children traumatized by war (Donate)

Get your second round of free COVID-19 test kits!

This week, the Biden Administration launched a second round of free COVID-19 tests from the USPS. If you already ordered four tests during the first phase of the program, you’re now able to order a second shipment of four tests to your address. If you haven’t placed your first order yet, you’ll need to place two separate orders of four each. Order your free tests today!

If you’re interested in participating in activities like drafting letters to our Members of Congress and developing our strategy for influencing them, the Indivisible SF Federal Working Group is where it happens. Join us at our next meeting on Thursday, March 10. Details on how to register below.

ISF Federal Working Group meeting: Thursday, March 10, 7:30–9 PM.Register here to join our regular Zoom meeting, where we work together to develop strategies for influencing our Members of Congress and the Biden administration to support a progressive agenda. All are welcome to participate and contribute, even if you’ve never attended an ISF meeting before.

California Poor People’s Campaign: Western Region Convening on Zoom: Sunday, March 13, 3PM. Democracy warriors and allies: you’re invited to a virtual Convening this Sunday, Mar. 13 at 3 pm PT to learn more about the CA Poor People’s Campaign’s work in 2022. RSVP here.

About this week’s photo

If you’ve seen our newsletter posts on Twitter and Facebook, you might have noticed that we include a photo or graphic with each issue.

Today’s image comes from Physicians For a National Health Program’s petition to oppose the privatization of Medicare.

Keep Fighting,

The Indivisible SF Team

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Since the January 2017, more than 4,000 San Franciscans have united as Indivisible SF to march in the Women's Marches, protest the Muslim Ban, meet regularly with our Members of Congress, and make thousands of phone calls to their offices to pressure them to do everything in their power to counter the policies and politics of Trumpism. There is much work in progress and many actions to come.

Members of Indivisible SF are defined by our action and find solidarity in our shared opposition to Trump and Trumpism. Each of us explicitly reserves our individual stances on specific issues for other forums as we believe resisting Trump is more important than any single issue. We adhere to a Code of Conduct that welcomes and respects everybody.

Members of Indivisible SF come from all kinds of backgrounds and political persuasions. Some of us are first-time activists and others have been at this for decades. We are citizens and non-citizens. Most importantly, we are all patriots that want the best for our country and are willing to work for it.

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