Politics, Moderate

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Politics

Everything is a distraction from something much, much worse

Catherine Rampell on

WASHINGTON -- Americans, you need to start paying attention. Like, really paying attention -- to the issues that actually matter.

Stop getting distracted!

Take this Russian collusion nonsense. Lots of Americans are obsessed with it, but it's just a shiny distraction.

Yeah, sure, it looks as though members of the Trump campaign lied repeatedly, including on live TV and in Senate testimony and on security clearance forms, about their contacts with Russians. It looks as though they may have been eager to get their hands on possibly illegally obtained information from a hostile nation. "I love it," Donald Trump Jr. wrote when offered dirt on Hillary Clinton explicitly offered as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."

But that's merely what the nine-dimensional-chess players in the White House want you to be obsessing over.

Focusing on the terrible things Team Trump did during the campaign and transition conveniently distracts you from all the terrible things Team Trump is doing during the presidency.

The administration is repealing consumer and environmental protections left and right. The Education Department is making it easier for for-profit colleges to defraud students. The Environmental Protection Agency has delayed an air pollution rule that the agency had determined would likely prevent the poisoning of children.

The Trump deregulatory team is rife with former lobbyists and others who have conflicts of interest. President Trump and his family members likewise appear to be financially benefiting from his role in the White House.

Yet fussing over regulatory decisions and vaguely sleazy behavior is itself a distraction from an even more important issue: the fact that Republicans are trying to remake one-sixth of the U.S. economy, largely in secret, while ripping health insurance away from 22 million Americans.

They're laying out changes opposed by insurers, providers and patient advocacy groups. They are doing so with no hearings and no expert input, and reportedly with a scheme to sideline the one neutral referee of the law's potential impact, the Congressional Budget Office. Attention must be paid!

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