"Healthy Kids" Speaks to Young Voters

By Matt Ferris-Smith of Portland, Oregon. Matt is a Bus Project Politicorps Fellow.

This November, Oregonians have the chance to provide children with the healthcare they need and deserve. 117,000 children in Oregon need health insurance, and the legislature has offered voters the chance to fund the Healthy Kids Plan through a 84.5 cent cigarette tax.

The Healthy Kids initiative will provide two immediate benefits for children by lowering barriers to enrollment in the Oregon Health Plan while making cigarettes less attractive and accessible to youth through higher prices.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has cited CDC studies showing that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by about seven percent and overall cigarette consumption by about four percent. USA Today recently covered similar decreases from states that have raised their taxes.

As a Bus Project volunteer I discuss the Healthy Kids Initiative regularly with young voters. Their response is consistently positive and empathetic. But there is also surprising camaraderie in their response – a "join the club" mentality stemming from their own insurance-less lives.

Young people are traditionally ignored by the political system, and there are few candidates and issues that truly rally support among voters under 30, but the Healthy Kids initiative certainly has this potential. Jennifer Jones, a 17-year-old Bus Project volunteer, is a particularly vocal backer of the initiative. "We need to get these kids covered now. I can't vote this November, but I'm doing all I can to get people who can vote to support this important plan."

This Saturday the Bus Project is helping kick off the Healthy Kids Campaign volunteer effort with a mass canvass at the Boise Block Party and Day for Democracy. Over 100 volunteers will be going door-to-door to register voters and inform voters about Healthy Kids before heading back to Unthank Park to see Copacrescent, a local band, and whirlyGirlz, who will be hula-hooping for health care.

Volunteers meet at Unthank Park (N. Haight and N. Failing) at 10 AM on Aug. 18 to canvass the Boise-Eliot neighborhood, then return to the park at 2 PM for a block party event with bands and food. Please call 503-233-3018 or email [email protected] for more info.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Im going! The event sounds like a ton of fun just like other stuff the Bus has put on and Healthy kids definitely needs our help. Who's with me?

  • (Show?)

    I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday, than for Democracy and for kids! How will you spend a Day for Democracy?

  • befactual (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Measure 50 is not Healthy Kids. SB3 as passed by the Legislator is Healthy Kids. Jefferson Smith and the Bus Project practice the Big Lie to mislead voters by claiming Measure 50 is Healthy Kids. By the way, why do we oppose those who bring out of state money and activists into our state to influence our initiative process when we oppose a measure, but seem to have no problem with the Bus Project doing exactly the same thing?

  • GeorgeMason (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Day of Democracy? Majority democracies have failed through history. The United States was set up as a Constitutional Republic. This was to protect the people from the tyranny of the majority. I suggest reading the works of George Mason or James Madison (Federalist Papers or letters between him and Thomas Jefferson). Thomas Paines "Common Sense" may be educational. This terrifies those that will be overseeing your indoctrination of the socialist agenda.

  • Galen (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Matt, I'll be there tomorrow, but I felt compelled to comment for a different reason. Allow me to strike up the band:

    Who let the trolls out (woof, woof, woof, woof) Who let the trolls out (woof, woof, woof, woof)

    For those of you who say the troll call is more of a grunt than a bark, I say: I'm an artist, and I guess you just don't understand my art.

  • (Show?)

    Maybe because the volunteers at the Bus Project are overwhelmingly Oregonians. Politicorps is a great way for college students around the country who want to go into politics to get hands on training. Oregon college students are highly encouraged to participate.

    But having some college students who are participating in a hands on training like this in no way compares to a group that pays dozens, or even hundreds, of people from out of state and brings in thousands or millions from out of state to oppose/support something.

    The Politicorps folk weren't brought here with the sole purpose of supporting an item (unless you consider that one item to be democracy). They're here to learn, to work, and to engage.

    If you can't see the difference between the two, then no amount of explaining it is going to change your biased opinion.

  • befactual (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Sorry Jenni, if you don't see a big problem with a character like Jefferson Smith using our almost dysfunctional initiative process as part of his personal political power building, including bringing in young out-of-staters who have no cultural ties to our community to influence the most delicate aspect of our governing structure, than you really are vacuous. The person who started this thread was borne and raised in Michigan, went to college in Ohio, and apparently just came to Oregon sometime this year (is he even registered to vote in Oregon?) and this young twerp dares to tell us how we should be voting on this issue? You really should not embarrass yourself further by keeping your prissy little comment about who does and doesn't understand the real issues and differences to yourself.

    What's most interesting is how folks here who profess to argue the virtues of a citizen legislature are so taken by this guy who said on KPOJ that his goal is to train people who chose to make politics their career. I have my own opinion on which is preferred, but what is relevant here is the hypocrisy of the whole thing. You do real damage to our cause by defending that.

    So rather than pop off with naive and disreputable attempts to divert attention from the problems of integrity the Bus Project has, why don't you show some guts and address my main point: "Measure 50 is not Healthy Kids. SB3 as passed by the Legislator is Healthy Kids. Jefferson Smith and the Bus Project (and www. healthykids-oregon.org) practice the Big Lie to mislead voters by claiming Measure 50 is Healthy Kids." You might also address Smith's unsurprisingly Bush-like "you're either for us or against us" tactic this morning on KPOJ of asserting in substance that only those in league with big tobacco could possibly be against Measure 50.

  • (Show?)

    This November, Oregonians have the chance to provide children with the healthcare they need and deserve.

    As political spin goes that's about as good as it gets. Of course the truth of the matter is that this November, Oregonians have the chance to wash their hands of responsibility to the least among us by voting for a measure which the overwhelming majority of us will never have to pay for. That the small minority who would have to pay it are disproportionately dominated by the very demographic in need of help is just another minor inconvenient truth which so many allegedly "progressive" Oregonians don't wish to aknowledge.

    The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has cited CDC studies showing that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by about seven percent and overall cigarette consumption by about four percent. USA Today recently covered similar decreases from states that have raised their taxes.

    Unfortunately, other studies show that while increased prices do indeed reduce teenage consumption, it merely delays it rather than preventing it.

  • Larry McD (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "When you see the money doesn't go to healthy kids, perhaps it's not appropriate to say it's a healthy kids measure" R.J. Reynolds spokesperson J.L. Wilson in this AM's O.

    If this is the level of logic the tobacco industry is bringing to the fray, this measure is a done deal. However- and this goes to bfactual in particular- the same report indicates that Wilson "says he expects his campaign to spend $3 million dollars. 'Of course,' he added, 'we reserve the right to spend more.'"

    I have deep misgivings over this funding mechanism for coverage I agree we very much need, but I'm voting for 50 because I've been convinced by its opponents that a very significant number of the kids to be covered are living in households where they are exposed to second-hand smoke and will, as a result, need coverage more than their peers in smoke-free homes.

  • Zoe Walmer (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Day of Democracy? Majority democracies have failed through history. The United States was set up as a Constitutional Republic.

    I think the Bus went with "Days for Democracy" mostly becase "Days for the support of a Consitutional Republic" just doesn't have the same ring to it, not because they are harboring secret socialist aims.

    As for Measure 50, I'm all for Oregon getting closer to universal health care, but I don't believe that making smokers and only smokers pay for it is the way to go about it. Providing health care for uninsured kids will benefit all of Oregon, and all of Oregon should pitch in to fund it.

  • nutmeg (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I'm a non-smoker voting against this. I'm solidly in favor of better access to health care that is affordable for all. Ramming a cigarette tax into Oregon's constitution is not the way to achieve this goal.

  • befactual (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Larry McD:

    "When you see the money doesn't go to healthy kids, perhaps it's not appropriate to say it's a healthy kids measure" R.J. Reynolds spokesperson J.L. Wilson in this AM's O.

    If this is the level of logic the tobacco industry is bringing to the fray, this measure is a done deal.

    I'm unclear about the meaning you intend by your comment: Are you agreeing or denying the truth of this statement? Of course, the facts are that SB3, passed by the Senate, is the legislation titled the Healthy Kids Act. SJR4/Measure 50 is an untitled constitutional amendment that provides for a tobacco tax that would give less than 45% of the revenues to health care coverage, and would split less that between children and two other groups with unmet health care coverage.

    Are you saying voters are moved by the truth of these facts and will defeat Measure 50 as reasonable, caring people should, or are you observing that voters may actually respond irrationally to something other than facts and pass Measure 50? If the latter is the case what role would the dishonest propaganda of the Measure 50 proponents --- starting with their blatant lie that Measure 50 is "Healthy Kids" --- who really are out to find a constitutionally-designated funding base (55% of the revenues) for their own political and professional activities play? And what would that say about the supporters of this measure if they regard that lie to be more acceptable than factually correct information such as you quote, despite the fact that truthful information comes from interests for which we both have no love or respect?

    You seem very reasonable, so I'd ask you to consider the full meaning of what you are saying here:

    I'm voting for 50 because I've been convinced by its opponents that a very significant number of the kids to be covered are living in households where they are exposed to second-hand smoke and will, as a result, need coverage more than their peers in smoke-free homes.

    At the bottom line you are agreeing here with those of us defending progressive values who have been arguing that Measure 50 is anything but progressive because it in fact it is an explicit attempt to shift the burden for the cost of health-care for low-income children onto their low income parents. That is direct, blatant repudiation of the most fundamental of progressive values, and in fact is right out of the right-wing Republican political bible (which further highlights the utter fraud of the Bus Project and Jefferson Smith when they lie that they are "progressive" in their support of Measure 50.).

    Progressives support SB3 Healthy Kids. Progressives reject SJR4/Measure 50 because it is an singularly emblematic, cynical political maneuver by Merkley and several Senate leaders to benefit themselves politically with certain interest groups because it is so destructive to many values espoused by our Democratic Party including just, equitable health care reform. And progressives demand that our legislators lead by creating a plan with wide support that equitably and responsibly funds universal access to health care for everyone --- or get out of the way for leaders who will.

  • Gerry (unverified)
    (Show?)

    117,000 children in Oregon need health insurance

    I really don't understand--what kind of person brings a child into today's world if they are unable to provide them with health insurance?

    This is not the proper role of the state. This is the role of parents. If they cannot provide for their children, they should not have them. Period.

    Must we also supply them with diapers, baby food, heat, electricity, beds, baths?

    Where does it end? Do you people want government to be involved in absolutely every aspect of your frickin' lives??

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Gerry, you sound like a Republican.

    Unlike you, many people cannot predict their economic future when they decide to [or accidentally] reproduce. The children have no no say in their parents' economic status whatsoever.

    Ample experience has shown that the free-market leads to expensive health care and leaves many people with no health care outside [expensive] emergency rooms. Single-payer health care is both cheaper and more humane.

    I will not call you heartless, but you sure sound that way.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This is not the proper role of the state.

    Based upon what evidence?

    Do you people want government to be involved in absolutely every aspect of your frickin' lives??

    If you live in the United States of America then you are the government - how are you going to stay out of your "frickin'" life?

    Lots of folks cannot tell the difference between the government and the state - good evidence of how poorly our schools do at putting out competent citizens. As a feller once said,

    "It may be an easy thing to make a Republic; but it is a very laborious thing to make Republicans; and woe to the republic that rests upon no better foundations than ignorance, selfishness, and passion." Horace Mann

  • Gerry (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Tom Civiletti wrote:

    Gerry, you sound like a Republican.

    Why do only Republicans insist that people take accountability for their own actions.

    Tom, are you against accountability?

    Unlike you, many people cannot predict their economic future when they decide to [or accidentally] reproduce.

    Which is precisely why they should not be having children -- life is uncertain. Until they take steps to reduce and eliminate that uncertainty, they should not be having children.

    It is not my responsiblity to raise other people's children.

    People who nonetheless succumb to uncertainity and cannot provide for their children are free -- and obligated -- to get a 2nd and 3rd job in order to pay for their health care insurance.

    That is their responsibility, as adults. As grown-ups.

    It is not my responsibility to pay taxes to raise other people's children. It is bad enough that I have to pay for their schooling. I do not want to have to pay for their health care. Should I also pay for their diapers, their baby food, their haircuts, their shoes?

    Why? What kind of fucking communist country is this, anyway?

    If you have a kid, pay for him yourself. Leave me out of it.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Gerry,

    You have presented in excellent fashion the conservative mindset toward children, families, and society in general.

    What you refer to as "communist", most people see as community. We civilized folks do, indeed, feel responsible for other people's children. Your rules of life make no consideration for real life, which is full of uncertainty. Your views are in the extreme minority, thank goodness.

    I hear there are no taxes in Antarctica. Perhaps you should pack your belongings.

  • (Show?)

    Apparently you still don't understand the Bus Project. The Politicorps fellows come from around the country, including Oregon. They come here for some really good training in politics, something that isn't very easy to get. However, that small group of people probably doesn't even make up 1% of the volunteers working for the Bus Project. I ought to know since I've volunteered for them since their first year.

    And it's not about Jefferson Smith's personal power building. He's had plenty of chances to run for office in the past few years. He's passed up every single one of them in order to stay and work with young volunteers from around the state. He also passed up high paying jobs as well. Taking a look at many of our elected officials, they're more often high earning lawyers, not those heading up political non-profits. By that example, he could have done a lot more personal power building being a high paid attorney who did volunteer work than as a low paying head of a political non-profit.

    And there is nothing wrong with making politics your career. There's a hell of a lot more to politics than just being the candidate. There are a lot of us out there who enjoy making a career out of the behind-the-scenes work in politics -- campaign managers, field organizers, political trainers, working for political non-profits and issue based non-profits, etc. Quite a bit of my own career has been in that area, and still is in a way since my web design work is mostly political.

    I always like it when an anonymous person comes on here and accuses those of us who use our real names as lacking guts, cowards, etc. We have enough guts to back up what we say with our real names.

    While it may suck that we need cigarette money to pay for kids' health care, the outcome is the same -- we finally have health care for thousands of kids. There are a lot of families out there who cannot afford insurance. Many places of employment cut back plans, make them so expensive, won't give enough hours to qualify, etc. Our plan through my husband's work has gotten so expensive that we can barely afford it. The only reasons we keep it is because I tend to have expensive medical issues (like surgeries and MRIs) and we have a child. But had it been even just a little more this last time, we wouldn't have had a choice but to cancel -- it was either that or have no food or don't pay rent. There are a lot of families who have to make that choice.

    Cigarette smokers cost the government a lot of money. Seems to me I read one study that said it was something like $8 for every pack they smoke. That's money the government is already spending on them. So in a way, the money they pay in taxes on the cigarettes is refunding the government some of the moneyIf less people smoke because the taxes go up, that's $8 a pack the government doesn't have to spend. And that's a lot more money to go towards something else (like kids' health care) than they'll get from the cigarette tax.

    And no, I'm not going to comment on what Jefferson said on the radio. I didn't hear it, so I have nothing to say about it.

    So rather than pop off with naive and disreputable attempts to divert attention from the problems of integrity the Bus Project has, why don't you show some guts and address my main point...

    You specifically asked a question about the Bus Project, and I answered it. It was half of what you'd posted. Having been both a long time political activist (17 years) and a Bus Project volunteer, I answered.

    And unless you learn to stop calling people prissy and gutless, it'll be the last time I respond to you.

  • befactual (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Having been both a long time political activist (17 years) and a Bus Project volunteer, I answered.

    And no, I'm not going to comment on what Jefferson said on the radio. I didn't hear it, so I have nothing to say about it.

    Here's some unsolicited advice: First, you really shouldn't try to make a claim about you authoritativeness based on your years of experience unless you are certain that it won't reveal that you are pretty much a novice compared to the years of experience of your audience.

    Second, if your going to claim to represent the goals and position of a group, and don't just want to look like someone who just wants to sound important but ill-informed, you really ought to do your homework. You can listen to the podcast of the show here:

    http://www.620kpoj.com/cc-common/podcast.html

    You might also look at the bios on the Bus Project web page of the Fellows Smith puts forward to the public as leaders of his Bus Project activities.

    Third, you really ought to consider that the people you are blustering to may be at least as concerned about, and more involved in working for, just and equitable health care reforms that you claim to profess you support. To those folks, and I know a lot of 'em, you don't sound pretty much just like Gerry: Haughtily passing condescending judgement through your vote on people who smoke, and saying that low income smokers should have to pay for their own childrens' healthcare.

    You don't have to believe me, but tuck this away for your later consideration: There are people with far more life experience working hard for real health care reform right now. As that process unfolds, you'll come to regret your support for Measure 50 if it passes, because that will have made the job to build the kind of widespread, popular support we need for that kind of major progress all that much harder. A lot more people with real needs will suffer in the interim because of that.

  • befactual (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Having been both a long time political activist (17 years) and a Bus Project volunteer, I answered.

    And no, I'm not going to comment on what Jefferson said on the radio. I didn't hear it, so I have nothing to say about it.

    Here's some unsolicited advice: First, you really shouldn't try to make a claim about you authoritativeness based on your years of experience unless you are certain that it won't reveal that you are pretty much a novice compared to the years of experience of your audience.

    Second, if your going to claim to represent the goals and position of a group, and don't just want to look like someone who just wants to sound important but ill-informed, you really ought to do your homework. You can listen to the podcast of the show here:

    http://www.620kpoj.com/cc-common/podcast.html

    You might also look at the bios on the Bus Project web page of the Fellows Smith puts forward to the public as leaders of his Bus Project activities.

    Third, you really ought to consider that the people you are blustering to may be at least as concerned about, and more involved in working for, just and equitable health care reforms that you claim to profess you support. To those folks, and I know a lot of 'em, you don't sound pretty much just like Gerry: Haughtily passing condescending judgement through your vote on people who smoke, and saying that low income smokers should have to pay for their own childrens' healthcare.

    You don't have to believe me, but tuck this away for your later consideration: There are people with far more life experience working hard for real health care reform right now. As that process unfolds, you'll come to regret your support for Measure 50 if it passes, because that will have made the job to build the kind of widespread, popular support we need for that kind of major progress all that much harder. A lot more people with real needs will suffer in the interim because of that.

  • (Show?)

    While some people here may have more years experience than me, 17 years in no way makes me a novice. Especially since in many of those years, I was working either as a full time volunteer or a full time employee (and I'm talking 50-80 hours a week). I've probably put in as much time in 17 years as many have in 25-30.

    I realize there is a podcast. And I haven't listened to it, and since I'm pretty busy, I probably won't. Which ix exactly why I said I won't comment on it.

    And I never claimed to speak for a group. I spoke as a long-time volunteer and someone who has spent quite a bit of time with the people you're talking about. There's a big difference in speaking as a volunteer for a group and speaking on behalf of the group.

    But since you still feel the need to talk down to others when they disagree with you, I'm going to choose to use my time working in my community instead of responding to you.

  • Sadly (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I think "befactual" is the same person who was harassing the Archimedes movement. Sadly, it looked like borderline personality disorder.

  • (Show?)

    Having recently come out of the closet as a progressive I'm disheartened, to say the least, to see professed progressives using similar tactics to those I've seen Bush use.

    I don't see a meaningful difference between his claiming to be a "kinder, gentler conservative" and claiming to be a progressive while doggedly pursuing a patently regressive tax scheme. M50 only looks progressive if you never peek beneath the initial rhetoric.

    Actual progressives don't push regressive tax schemes. Period. If you think M50 is a good idea then by all means, support it and talk it up to your heart's content. But don't insult my intelligence by simultaneously trying to pass yourself off as progressive.

    Actions speak louder than words.

  • kniht (unverified)
    (Show?)

    SJR4/Measure 50 is an untitled constitutional amendment that provides for a tobacco tax that would give less than 45% of the revenues to health care coverage, and would split less that between children and two other groups with unmet health care coverage.

    As a progressive, I would like to see this 'conversation' become more progressive. For those of you opposed to the measure (befactual in particular, as I'm sure everyone expects), I would like to know what you would propose instead of M50. It is true that this measure does have flaws, but based on your own testimony befactual, wouldn't voting against the measure provide less money for uninsured children than voting for it would? At least until another bill that improves the measure can be voted on?

    As for the negative comments about the Bus Project (befactual), it's clear to anyone who has ever done anything with the Bus that the BP's intent is not to deceive but [on the contrary] to inform. Despite a person's view on a particular issue, no one can refute that the Bus Project's aim is to engage voters in the political process and to keep them informed.

    And for future reference, I believe that the BP is progressive enough to, at the very least, listen to your concerns (if presented civilly) about any information they are dispensing to the public. I'm sure they, as well as Jefferson Smith, would appreciate that much more than being, for lack of a better term, 'trashed' on a blog.

  • befactual (unverified)
    (Show?)

    kniht - Frankly, you are being lazy, or deceitful, or both here. Whether that is intentional it is not my place to judge, but I have a right to point it out because you are not making an attempt to be "more progressive" that starts in the right place.

    I'd suggest you scan the different threads of Blue Oregon where I've read the alternatives of what they should have done if the actually cared about providing health care coverage discussed in some detail. They are there, so don't demonstrate an undeserved sense of entitlement like so many proponents here (and I believe you are a proponent from your framing, just not honest enough to say that directly) that you don't an obligation to do your homework.

    Here's some truth about politics: Proponents want this cynical, disrespectful, judgemental, tantamount to anti-child, constitutional amendment passed, so they bear the burden to do the work of convincing people why they should pass this regressive measure. Opponents only need point out how it runs counter to anything progressive and our Democratic Party, apparently hollowly, professes to stand for.

    I've already also laid out the facts about the Bus Project here. They do not represent the values you claim, because we see right on M50 how they are intentionally (mis)-informing. Right down to the spin, "if not this, what else", when the "what else" has been laid out. The problem is that too many BP followers really aren't all that sharp, and are happy enough just to be part of "something" that a guy with charisma, and a few connections to political players using them like tools, tell them has a ("progressive") vision that no one else has. Personally, I've been struck how much the public face of BP has so many similarities with a cult.

    "And for future reference, I believe that the BP is progressive enough to, at the very least, listen to your concerns (if presented civilly) about any information they are dispensing to the public. I'm sure they, as well as Jefferson Smith, would appreciate that much more than being, for lack of a better term, 'trashed' on a blog."

    Here's another lesson in life and politics: Smith and his fawning flock have chosen to get aggressively involved in the political process and done that. On M50 he personally has been deceitful in the extreme in the broadcast media. During the session, I even heard him say on 620 KPOJ that if the Republicans didn't accept the particular approach to supporting "Healthy Kids" (HB-3558/SB3) he and some very cynical pols advocate (even though it also is opposed by many deeply involved in progressively reforming our health care system), he was looking forward to taking it to the voters to teach those who opposed it a political lesson, as a constitutional amendement if necessary. He has publicly, and quite uncivilly, branded anybody who opposes his position as being in league with the tobacco companies.

    Given that, those with an obviously childish sense of entitlement in the BP have no RIGHT to expect to be approached "civilly" or otherwise. Those of us who defend progressive positions in this battle have absolutely no obligation to pay deference by approaching BP and Smith. He and the BP deserve to be pasted for their regressive, self-serving position that is more about building political capital for themselves with other regressive groups on our side who masquerade as progressives than providing health-care coverage for chidren, and exposed for what they are. And nothing more.

    If the BP and Smith want to be progressive, they need to put on a public face that maybe their entire course on M50 so far has been misguided, that they no longer support M50 (which is not to say oppose) and instead are now dedicated to working to pressure the legislature to ignore the anti-tobacco industry (and it is an industry now) and to work on real health care reform. They foolishly jumped on the wrong bandwagon with both feet, and they first need to undo the political damage they have done.

    Can you now see why it why how your presentation here makes you seem lazy, or dishonest, or both, but regardless, how you've been still actually been treated here with respect by having more information presented to you?

  • Jessica (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I have a pretty good idea of who "befactual" is. By the way, very ironic screen name you chose.

    You. Sounds. INSANE.

  • Jake Oliver (unverified)
    (Show?)

    As Matt Ferris-Smith's roommate for the last ten weeks I can say that Matt is a bright, talented activist who cares deeply about progressive social justice. Anyone who would engage in such childish name calling belongs on a different blog. Befactual's rhetoric is destructive and of no use to intelligent public discourse. Ann Coulter would be proud.

    I support Measure 50 because it will promote public health and put uninsured children on a public health plan that works. Cigarettes should be more expensive. It's the best way to reduce smoking which is a huge public health problem that we will all foot the bill for.

    I look forward to befactual looking up my bio on the website and ripping me apart. At least I've chosen not to hide behind a false handle.

  • Jake Oliver (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Just to round up my thoughts on the matter...I'm sure all of the money spent on defeating this ballot measure will come from in state. None of it will be supplied by Philip Morris or R.J Reynolds.

    In case you failed geography befactual Winston Salem, North Carolina is not in Oregon :).

  • (Show?)

    Cigarettes should be more expensive. It's the best way to reduce smoking which is a huge public health problem that we will all foot the bill for.

    That is at best a niave assertion. Look at the huge problems that meth is causing. The prices are vastly higher and those prices clearly pose zero hurdle to poor and disadvantaged people getting hooked on meth. It's no different with nicoteen. Once hooked it's amazing what an individual will pay to feed a habit. And the stats show that many teens simply put off picking up cigarettes until they're older and capable of earning enough money to buy them.

    Slice and dice it any way you wish and at the end of the day M50 is a patently regressive tax scheme which would place the burden for providing health care for kids not upon self-proclaimed "progressives" like yourself but upon many of the very parents who already can't afford health care for this kids. There's nothing even remotely progressive about that. It just allows you to self-righteously wash your hands of responsibility.

  • (Show?)

    "Actual progressives don't push regressive tax schemes. Period."

    This really is continued abuse of the term regressive, IMO. There is no structural connection between who is taxed and what their income is. Rich people who smoke will pay the tax, poor people who don't will not. You might as well call the bottle bill regressive; poor people drink more soda and beer than rich people, too--and are less able to retrieve their deposits, generally.

    If you're poor, you shouldn't have to pay a disproportionate share of the costs required to offer health care. If you're poor and you smoke, you should--because you are disproportionally contributing to the costs in the first place. How about a LITTLE personal responsibility once in a while?

  • Jake Oliver (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Which part of my statement was niave? Sorry Kevin, but I take the word of the good folks at the Center for Disease control over some random hack like yourself.

    If we really want to tackle America's health care crisis in a progressive way we need to promote public health and ensure that our health care dollars are being spent efficiently. For every pack of stogs sold in Oregon we spend over $10 on health care costs. Why should we be spending money on the ill effects of a practice we can easily discourage?

    It's also important to note a few other things. First of all, the tax increase will put us on par with our neighbors to the North (Washington) in terms of the price of cigarettes.
    Secondly, getting children the care they need now will decrease future health care costs. Every dollar spent on preventative costs saves us three bucks in future costs.

    And finally, before claiming that I'm trying to "wash my hands of responsibility" who's responsibility is it when people fall ill to heart disease, asthma and lung cancer? So called "progressives" like yourself love to complain about the high cost and low quality of health insurance in America. No doubt that a large part of the blame deserves to be placed on the insurance industry and big pharma, but what about those who encourage unhealthy lifestyles? RJR and Philip Morris need to start paying their fair share. We can't completely solve the health care crisis without tackling the industries that pollute our bodies.

  • (Show?)

    Torrid and Jake:

    Educate yourselves on the nature of addiction and then we'll talk. Placing the onus of responsibility upon an addict to save him/herself flat out doesn't work. It never has and it never will. Thus, blaming them for their addiction, particularly when the stats clearly show a very strong corrolation between low socio-economic status and said addiction, is inherently unprogressive. It's no different from conservatives blaming poor folk for being poor. Progressives, and by that I mean real progressives, don't blame the downtrodden for their misfortune... we try to give them a helping hand. M50 is the political equivilant of the wealthy Scribes and Pharisees who turned a blind eye and walked past the injured man in Jesus' parable, leaving it up to the Good Samaritan (an obvious Progressive) to lend a helping hand out of the goodness of his heart and what little financial capital he had to spare.

  • Lennon (unverified)
    (Show?)

    First, let me say that I agree in spirit with many of the criticisms of Measure 50 in terms of fairness. Taxing cigarettes does, and always has, hurt low-income residents to a greater degree.

    That being said, the reason this measure exists is because the ideal case -- namely, universal health care paid for fairly by all residents -- just isn't feasible with the minuscule Democratic majority in the legislature. Because of the super-majority requirement, such a measure would inevitably go to the voters, and no amount of dissatisfaction with the current Republican administration in Washington is going to make centrist and right-leaning rural Oregon voters go for a major tax hike.

    Is it a perfect (or even great) solution? No. Will it make possible at least a minimal level of preventative care for a large number of kids? You betcha. Do those it impacts have options to minimize their own costs? Sure -- you don't have to quit to save 15% on your tobacco habit: just cut down by a smoke or two a day.

    Overall, it semms like a decent deal to me.

    <donning flame-resistant="" gear="">

    Finally, based on my experience as a volunteer who has spent a fair amount of time in meetings with the Bus Project, I have to pretty much dismiss as paranoid fantasy any argument that Jefferson Smith somehow singularly dictates where the energy and resources of the entire group are directed. Jefferson is a compelling public speaker, and is a much more visible figure for those who've never actually been involved with the Bus, but he's just one voice among many when real decisions are being made.

  • befactual (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Jake, the proper answer to you and Matt is that your bio indicates you are just visitors to our state with simplistic views intruding into a very complex situation. You have no acculturation in our community or something as delicate and central to our governance as our ballot measure process. You have no apparent knowledge of the hard work committed, principled citizens have been doing to build a progressive health care system here . It is arrogant and disrespectful to believe you have any business coming to influence our election process for a measure that is a cynical political ploy in so many ways you obviously don't care to understand.

    To put a harder edge on a previous comment by someone else, this is condescending, judgmental, constitutional amendment being pushed by relatively privileged people who think they have the right to be condescending and judgmental towards people who, at least by this tax that even you say most penalizes economically and pushes the cost of health care for their children back on those with lesser incomes, they clearly do not consider to be their equals.

    Also some very telling, although utterly incomprehensible, responses by "Sadly" and "Jessica" to careful criticism of PUBLIC presentations made about themselves by Bus Project representatives and Smith. "Sadly's" defamatory remark did, however, prompt me to look at the Archimede's Movement website, which actually takes one to the "We Can Do Better" website. I could not seem to find any statement indicating they have taken a clear position on M50, which makes "Sadly" all the more bizarre.

    Since a web search that doesn't turn up anything cannot be taken as authoritative, would you elaborate further "Sadly" about what you might know about the Archimede's Movement's/We Can Do Better organization's position on M50? Is there anyone who speaks for the Archimede's Movement/We Can Do Better who can provide us with your official position? I think that would be interesting and apparently add something quite significant to the public record.

  • Jake Oliver (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Addressing the arrogant windbags who have question my integrity.

    First of all- We Can Do Better/Archimede's presence at our event suggests that they have endorsed Measure 50.

    Second- Matt is currently house hunting in the Portland area. I have a semester of school left and plan on returning to Portland.

    Third- To suggest our views are arrogant, simplistic or uninformed is just plain wrong. I'd be more than happy to debate you on health care policy in a public forum. I have worked on grassroots health care campaigns in New York, Connecticut and now here in Oregon. To say that I don't understand the work that progressives have done around health care is untrue.

    Matt and I made a point to back our views on M50 with hard facts. You have chosen to use bitter, divisive language a la Karl Rove. Philip Morris thanks you for doing their leg work.

    You're decision to hide your identity suggest you're ashamed of your ideological beliefs. I would be too if my elitist views caused me to turn my back on children in need.

  • (Show?)

    Befuddled ... I mean befactual

    As someone who in my time in Oregon after I moved here 3 years ago and also during PolitiCorps has been very involved in Oregon politics being a campaign manager, campaign intern, interning during the legislative session, I want to know what specifically is so culturally sensitive about Healthy Kids that a whole summer of classes cant teach? I want to know because I have been in Oregon learning about the culturally sensitive and screwed up ballot process for 3 years. Do I get it yet? Or do I have to spend 5 years in Oregon, or 10 years, or should I have had to have family come on the Oregon Trail before I can exercise my rights as a citizen of the United States and the great State of Oregon? Your arguments about Matt and Jake, two of the smarter most dedicated progressives I know are quite frankly offensive and who the hell are you to tell them that they can't participate in democracy. That is the most unprogressive viewpoint that I have ever heard.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    italics off?

    As someone who knows Bradley, it seems to me that those who made him angry didn't win his support.

    When are people with strong feelings going to learn that insults don't translate into votes--they only come across as bullies who will be remembered long after the votes in any election are counted. For many of us (of any political persuasion), giving us the facts and allowing us to think for ourselves works better than coercion or name calling.

  • (Show?)

    Jake asks: Which part of my statement was niave? Sorry Kevin, but I take the word of the good folks at the Center for Disease control over some random hack like yourself.

    Kevin answers: First of all notice that I've yet to call you a derogatory name like "hack". I've deliberately restricted myself to challenging the progressiveness of your advocation of M50.

    You'd said that increasing the cost of cigarettes is "the best way to reduce smoking."

    Fact: the smoking and cessation trends from 1983 to 2002 show an ever-increasing concentration of smokers among the poorest of the poor and the very least educated among us. Those at or above the poverty line quit at a higher rate than those below the poverty line. Meaning that the reduction over time has been tilted towards those who could better afford the cost of increasing prices due to taxes. Educational stats corrolate very strongly with income stats.

    Notice that nowhere in the editorial note at the bottom of the linked study was increasing the prices of cigarettes suggested as a useful (let alone "the best" as you asserted) means of helping those at the lowest socio-economic levels quit smoking. Instead it focuses exclusively on various ways and means of educating at-risk populations.

    This study from Columbia University is openly skeptical of claims that increased prices help prevent teenagers from picking up the nicoteen habit. To the contrary, it found that many teens simply delay starting a few years until they're better able to consistently pay for cigarettes and then they pick up the habit. After all it makes sense that feeding a $3 per pack habit on a burger-flipping wage is going to be much easier than feeding it on a teenager's allowance from Mom and Dad.

  • befactual (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Unbelievable what some people say: "What specifically is so culturally sensitive about Healthy Kids that A WHOLE SUMMER OF CLASSES can't teach? I want to know because I have been in Oregon learning about the culturally sensitive and screwed up ballot process for 3 (WHOLE!) YEARS." And that anyone who opposes the position of M50 supporters like you, by demonstrating that M50 is a toxic brew of political hypocrisy, zealotry, and elitism that judgmentally and regressively shifts the burden of health care coverage for low-income children (as well as low-income adults, and special needs individuals) onto a population that skews lower-income, can't possibly be acting on solid moral principles of respect and a commitment to equitable universal health care for all, but instead is choosing to use bitter, divisive language a la Karl Rove. Philip Morris thanks you for doing their leg work." (Is that the "culturally sensitive" lessons being taught in that "WHOLE SUMMER OF CLASSES"? As I already noted in my criticism that has raised such ire, it is the same "either you're with us or you're against us" framing that Jefferson Smith has used on KPOJ. )

    LT - Here's a lesson in political reality for you: The only facts that matter are the elitist, punitive, anti-tobacco values represented the proponents have embodied in M50 and how that demonstrates much less concern for access to health care for children, low-income adults, and special interest groups (less than 45% of the revenues split three ways) than they want people to believe. What matters is that voters will vote "yes" or "no" based on what position they feel best represents their values, and the only obligation is to make sure the proponents don't get away with misrepresenting their values.

    And speaking of mispresenting: Does anyone who speaks for the Archimede's Movement/We Can Do Better endorse Jake's statement that "We Can Do Better/Archimede's presence at our event suggests that they have endorsed Measure 50." ? Is there a spokesperson taht can tell us if the Archimede's Movement/We Can Do Better has a position on M50, and if so, what it is?

  • (Show?)

    Befactual is completely unresponsive to the cogent arguments that Jake and I present.

    First, you attempt to mock my time in Oregon, but refuse to answer the question. How long must I spend in this state and how many classes must I take before I am qualified to express my views without being naive?

    Secondly, you have no linked evidence to suggest that HK won't go to kids despite this 45% number that you point out. Please if you do have some basis for your claims link to it (like Jake has).

    Third, the idea that increasing the cost of cigarettes doesn't reduce smoking is ridiculous economics 101 will tell you that increases in price will reduce quantity consumed despite the inelastic demand of addicts, maybe not as much as you would like but there will be some cessation of smoking. But, even if you accept your premise that increased costs only delay smoking that is still a significant reason to raise tobacco prices. Every cigarette that is smoked takes away 7 minutes of your life according to the CDC. If we can prevent 1 year of smoking half a pack a day it will save 17 days of a persons life. I think thats important.

    Fourth, you have criticized HK for being regressive, yet you have failed to lay out a politically feasible way to insure the 117,000 kids without health care. I would say that kids without health care outweigh the potential regressive effects. Kids didn't choose to be born without health care, yet, despite years of public service campaigns smokers choose to start smoking. I think the health care of kids matters more. If you have a better plan that will get passed lets hear it.

  • befactual (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Dunn - frankly, your arguments, like those of Matt, Jake, Jefferson, and most M50 proponents here are not cogent, they are riddled with the ignorance of the facts and an arrogance that everyone must accept your assumptions. You are intellectually incapable of understanding your assumptions are ignorant. Elsewhere in this thread answers have been provided that address your faulty assumptions, and address the few intelligent parts of your questions. However, because you obviously are a slow learner, and lazy, here is a recap:

    1) No one challenges your right to express your views. But because you have chosen to participate in real life politics that effects everyone, you do not have a right to express them and not be criticized for the poverty of wisdom and compassion they display. Time and classes have nothing to do with whether the views Matt, Jake, you, and Jefferson express are naive, arrogant or disrespectful. That's a character problem for which I'm afraid time and classes have little remedial relevance.

    2) What I said is that less than 45% goes to HEALTH CARE COVERAGE for kids, low income adults, and special needs individuals. If you had even bothered to read the legislation you claim to be supporting, you would have found the relevant info. It's not my job to do that for you. But in this case, because you persist in demonstrating your lack of intellectual responsibility: Here is the relevant language from the enrolled version of SB3 that directs the disposition of funds raised pursuant to the "blackmail" provision Section 51 that SB3 shall not take effect unless the voters pass SJR4/M50:

    SECTION 31: All moneys received by the Department of Revenue under Section 15(1)(b) and (c), Article IX of the Oregon Constitution, shall be desposited in the State Treasury and credited to a suspense account established ORS 293.445. After payment of refunds or credits arising from erroneous overpayments:

    (1) 44.6 percent shall be dedicated to funding the maintenance and expansion of the number of persons eligible for medical assistance under the Oregon Health Plan or to funding the maintenance of the benefits available under the Oregon Health Plan; and

    (2) 55.4 percent shall be credited to the Tobacco Use Reduction Account established under ORS 431.832.

    Section 15(1)(b) and (c), Article IX are some of the amendments that are the subject matter of SJR4/M50.

    3) My argument has never been that taxes don't reduce incidence of smoking (although I personally believe that credible scientific evidence, contrary to the logically haphazard theorie and anecdotal evidence offered by the disingenuous, self-serving anti-tobacco industry, argues that it doesn't). My argument has always been that M50/SJR4 is the action of "relatively privileged, low-quality people who think they have the right to be condescending and judgmental towards people who, at least by this tax that even you say most penalizes economically and pushes the cost of health care for their children back on those with lesser incomes, they clearly do not consider to be their equals." Clearly, you are too dense to get the difference.

    4) You're right, under a definition of "politically feasible" that means playing quid pro quo politics with cynical, low-competence leaders like Kulongoski, Merkley, and several Senators, and the self-serving anti-tobacco industry (who in my mind have not more moral fiber or credibility than the tobacco industry), there is no "politically feasible" solution.

    However, there are politically proper, morally honorable, not to mention just plain humanly decent, solutions: a) The Legislature should have passed a version SB3 that said "Healthy Kids" strictly covers funding the OHP, made no mention of tobacco politics at all, and that put the burden of supporting health care for children on us all by funding it out of the General Fund. b) If they wanted to increase revenues in the General Fund from tobacco taxes (about which I have no opinion I care to share with intellectually lazy and disrespectful people like Matt, Jake, you, and Jefferson at this time), they should have ignored an invalid and untested opinion and declared a statutory referral to the people passed on a simple majority vote and let the people and the courts speak. c) They should have publicly beat up anyone who opposed that version of SB3 as being anti-child and anti-health care, because they would be. They didn't do those things because this is a dirtbag political game between pols who aren't capable of doing the right thing and an equally dishonorable, cynical anti-tobacco industry that has their own selfish interests at heart.

    You Bus Project people can't even do your homework and you have the temerity to accuse those of us who do and take principled, moral positions based on the facts of not caring about children and as "choosing to use bitter, divisive language a la Karl Rove. Philip Morris thanks you for doing their leg work." I think we are seeing something very telling and distressing about Jefferson Smith and the Bus Project.

    By the way if you want to pop off again, why don't you do something honest and useful. Call the Archimede's Movement/We Can Do Better and ask them if they accept Jake's statement that "We Can Do Better/Archimede's presence at our event suggests that they have endorsed Measure 50." ? If they don't ask them if they have a position on M50, and if so, what it is, and report back to us. From their webpage, their phone number is: 503-709-8574 (www.wecandobetter.org/contact_us).

  • (Show?)

    Fourth, you have criticized HK for being regressive, yet you have failed to lay out a politically feasible way to insure the 117,000 kids without health care. I would say that kids without health care outweigh the potential regressive effects.

    Potential regressive effects? Potential???

    There's no "potential" about it. Clearly and unequivically M50's funding scheme is a textbook regressive funding scheme.

    60% of Oregonians who smoke earn $25k or less per year. Half of those earn $15k or less per year.

    30% of HS drop-outs smoke and another nearly 30% of those who only achieved a HS diploma or GED smoke.

    Now compare that to the other end of the spectrum: Less than 10% of college graduates in Oregon smoke. Among Oregonians who earn $50k or more per year only 11% smoke.

    <hr/>
guest column

connect with blueoregon