Trump Investigations, Iran Tensions, Health Care Conscience Rule, Tobacco Legislation
Mike & Jay open the show with a look at the latest development in the various investigations and requests for information surrounding President Trump. They agree that while the president’s legal strategy isn’t the strongest, his political strategy - delaying until after the 2020 election and goading the Democrats into impeachment - is a smart one. They also discuss New York’s recently passed law that would allow Congress to receive President Trump’s state tax information.
Next is a discussion of the recent tensions with Iran. Mike points out that this all stems from the Trump administration pulling out of the multilateral Iran nuclear agreement under the assumption that they could get a better deal by squeezing Iran’s economy. Jay largely agrees with the strategy and while Mike understands it, he wonders how successful sanctions are likely to be given our decided lack of success in over half a century of sanctions against Cuba and North Korea.
After that, the Guys talk about the health care conscience rule, which allows providers, insurers, and employers to refuse to provide or pay for health services that violate their religious or moral beliefs. 20 states are suing the administration over this rule, and Mike believes they have a good point, in that it’s likely to result in discrimination against certain groups, especially in underserved rural areas. Jay is more sympathetic to the new rule and feels that if there’s a legitimate need for certain services, the market will find a way to provide it.
Finally, Mike & Jay discuss the ‘Tobacco Free Youth Act’ introduced by tobacco-state Senators Mitch McConnell and Tim Kaine. Mike sees it as a positive step, but not that big of one, arguing that the real fear for the tobacco industry is a ban on flavors, which might hurt the growth of their youth market. Jay’s uncomfortable with the raised restriction, feeling that people can make an informed choice about whether or not to use tobacco. It’s not an argument Mike really buys, given the addictive nature of tobacco - he’d like to see the U.S. move to a total ban of tobacco products over time.