Thursday, July 23, 2009

Health care debate - contributions of opponents

The third comment in response to a Paul Krugman column:

Re: Cap and trade and other democrat dilemmas, David Brooks describes Krugman perfectly:

“The party is led by insular liberals from big cities and the coasts, who neither understand nor sympathize with moderates. They have their own cherry-picking pollsters, their own media and activist cocoon, their own plans to lavishly spend borrowed money to buy votes.”

Sounds pretty convincing, eh? Problem is, I'm really not convinced there's any real equivalence between conservatives and liberals. After all, if conservatives were equal to liberals in policy smarts, why can't they come up with an alternative health care plan of their own?

Republicans who had promised last month to offer a healthcare reform alternative are now suggesting no such bill will be introduced.

Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said, "Our bill is never going to get to the floor, so why confuse the focus? We clearly have principles; we could have language, but why start diverting attention from this really bad piece of work they've got to whatever we're offering right now?"

In other words: "We got nuthin'. We looked at our cupboard of ideas and it's bare." The would-be "great compromiser" Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) is similarly bereft of ideas.

Senate Democrats are increasingly frustrated by the secrecy and duration of ... Baucus' ... bipartisan talks on health care reform...

Democrats both on and off the Finance Committee said the briefings they get about the six negotiators' progress are too vague. Plus, they say, without a bill in hand, they cannot defend or sell the package to a wary media and public.

Also, I've got a piece up responding to Governor Jindal's health care proposal.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

House Minority Leader and the stimulus

Kind of amusing to read Eric Cantor's (House Minority Whip R-VA) criticisms of the stimulus bill.

"….A stimulus bill should have an immediate economic impact and create real, long-term jobs, and this stimulus bill has clearly not created jobs or fixed our economy."

Okay, and what "shovel ready" projects did the Republican Party offer back when the stimulus bill was being debated? They didn't. They offered tax cuts. What do tax cuts do? Well, President Bush gave America $1.3 trillion in tax cuts in 2001 and the recession continued until early 2003.

CNN even feels obliged to do a bit of due diligence and points out that:

Last week, House Minority Leader John Boehner found himself in the DNC's sights: Democrats released a tough Web video blasting him for saying the stimulus hadn't delivered for his state.

"In fact, millions in recovery act funds have been committed to dozens of projects creating jobs for people right here in Ohio," the narrator said in the DNC video. "…Now John Boehner is using baseless attacks to mislead the public about the success of the Recovery Act."

Which leaves Cantor with a score of zero out of two. Later,

Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring called the stimulus a "bad deal" and a "misguided …pork-barrel bill."

Okay, what does a "pork-barrel" bill do? That's right, it calls for spending money. Something that's ordinarily bad, but in times of recession, is a very good thing.

Again, Cantor scores a zero.

Oh, and by the way, Lawrence Summers, head of the National Economic Council, claims that:
"Given lags in spending and hiring, the peak impact of the stimulus on jobs was expected not to be achieved until the end of 2010"

So critics are jumping the gun by at least a year and a half.

Also, the hapless RNC Chairman Michael Steele tries to expound on the economy. Think Progress corrects him, and in the process, gives a very good quick snapshot of how the debt relates to the deficit and how both have fared over the past decade or so.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Blue Dog Democrats and health care

*Sigh!* Why does  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) hate Americans who want affordable health care?!?! I mean, I understand the whole kumbaya, lets-all-get-along, bipartisan spirit, but conservative Blue Dog Democrats (Misnamed as "moderates") vote for their donors, not their districts. It's ridiculous to treat their positions as  though they arise from philosophical differences.