Bohannan v Miller-Meeks Debate – Whose Answer Was Best For Iowans?

This video from the Christina Bohanan – Mariannette Miller-Meeks debate from a week ago arrived in my mailbox last week. This is the last question of the debate. Let’s watch it (30 seconds):

The question restated a bit is: what do you see as your highest priority if your party takes control of the House?

Miller-Meeks responds first with a party approved response. The knee jerk reaction to the rebuilding of the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). The IRS has been a whipping boy for Republicans for decades since Saint Ronny was president. Republicans have spent decades diminishing the IRS to the point there is hardly anyone left to answer the phone.

Democrats this year included rebuilding the IRS in their Inflation Reduction Act. Without a robust IRS to enforce tax laws, those who can will cheat on paying their fair share of taxes. We see this particularly among people of wealth. Currently the IRS is especially short of auditors to audit the often complex and detailed tax returns of the wealthy and corporations. Knowing this lets those in that group take advantage of that situation.

A Venn diagram of that group laid on top of the group that are major donors to the Republican Party or their Super-Pacs would probably look like one circle. That is to say both groups are probably the same. These are the people who have been helped the most by recent laws that have debilitated the IRS. 

Miller-Meeks and her party when in power are basically beholden to those who put them in power – the wealthy. While Miller-Meeks raised the spector of the bogey man IRS coming after the little citizen, that is only a line to raise fear among those of us who are paying our taxes. What she is really doing is doing what Republicans always do – anything she can to keep the wealthy from paying their fair share. 

Let me add that as the rich don’t pay, the burden of their non-payment falls on our shoulders. Surprise – we get screwed more than one way on this.

In a sense it is like giving the wealthy a kind of behind the scenes tax cut without saying it out loud. Making it seem like the middle class will benefit when it will actually do nothing for folks like you and me. 

On the other hand Christina Bohannan’s answer was not couched in any hidden agenda or coached to sound like a sincere answer when it was actually a rehearsed response to favor specific donors. Bohannan’s answer was very straight forward. 

Keokuk, Iowa is a city of 10,000. They lost their only hospital a week ago Friday. Now residents in need of hospital care must travel at least 20 miles one way for such care. That is relatively short compared to the distance Iowans have to travel in the more sparsely populated western portion of the state. This has been a major problem in the rural areas for a long time and it is getting much worse.

With our for profit health care systems we can expect to see more and more low performing rural hospitals being closed while services are concentrated in major cities. In the case of Keokuk their closest hospitals are now in Carthage, Illinois and Fort Madison, Iowa – both about 20 miles one way. 

What if those hospitals close? Neither are in big towns. Thus it would not be surprising that their hospitals might be stressed. Were they to shut their doors, the next nearest hospitals look to be in Burlington, Iowa and Quincy, Illinois both about 40 miles one way. 

We can expect towns and cities in the under 25,000 population may be in serious jeopardy of losing their hospitals in the next decade or so. Especially if we continue to try to work in this current totally disjointed health care system.

Bohannan was expressing a real need for a lot of Iowans. Her answer is one that confronts the average Iowan daily. Miller-Meeks’ answer was at once a signal to the rich donors that she would take care of them while also sending an unreal sense of fear to those of us in the lower and middle class.

Come Wednesday, I will be trekking to my county auditor’s office to vote for Christina Bohannan. We already have enough party puppets not really representing Iowans.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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