President Trump’s decision to dismiss FBI director James Comey Tuesday night has pushed Washington into further partisan chaos, weakened chances for action on either health care or taxes, and made what once looked like a promising year for legislative accomplishments in Washington increasingly look like another year of partisan gridlock.
On the health care front, Aetna announced yesterday it is completing its exit from the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges, saying financial losses and uncertainty about the marketplaces’ future were prompting its exit from two final states. The company initially entered 15 of the state marketplaces created by Obamacare, but found they attracted too few healthy young customers and too many sick and older ones, causing financial losses. Republicans say this is proof that Obamacare is failing, and they are right. Democrats say it is proof that the Republican’s House-passed bill won’t solve the problem, and they are also right. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could sit down together and try to fix the problem?
Meanwhile, the timetable for completing action on taxes is drifting further, with some savvy Washington observers – including the folks at Goldman Sachs — saying it may not happen until next year. And next year will quickly get bogged down in the mid-term elections. Any chance for a bipartisan approach to tax legislation is evaporating.
Meanwhile, Comey – who had the honor of being equally pilloried by Republicans and Democrats — got support on Twitter yesterday from his former boss, Ray Dalio, who runs hedge fund giant Bridgewater. (Comey worked at Bridgewater from 2010 to 2013.) “I have come to know and admire James as a man of integrity and a hero,” Dalio wrote. “He is a man who will sacrifice his own well being for the greater purpose. He is a man of high principles operating in a low-principles environment.”
“Heroes typically get crucified or martyred in the end.”