The Overton Window And Corporatist Dems

Supporters of President Obama get very upset when he is called a "corporatist" Dem or argue that he is triangulating a la Bill Clinton. Last week, Ezra Klein attempted to demonstrate thus it always is for Democratic Presidents - progressives are always disappointed. I agree. But what struck me was Klein's example - Bill Clinton blowup with William Greider in the 1990s:

Taylor Branch's book, "The Clinton Tapes," which recounts a contentious interview President Clinton sat for with Rolling Stone:

[Clinton] said Rolling Stone's founder, Jan Wenner, had come to the White House with author William Greider, a former Washington Post editor whose books included a populist critique of the Federal Reserve banking system. They had agreed not to discuss NAFTA because of Greider's implacable opposition, and the president said all went fine until Greidier brandished a photograph of a destitute-looking American to mount a sudden, dramatic attack.... Greider confronted him saying here is one of the countless poor people who looked to you for leadership -- you were their last hope. Now they feel utterly disillusioned and abandoned. Can you look into this face and name one thing you have done to help? Or one principle you won't compromise ? One cause you will uphold? One belief you would die for?

The president said he had replied in kind. "I kind of went off on him," the president recalled. He told Greider that he had done things already that no other president would do. He had raised taxes on the rich and lowered them for the poor. He had introduce the AmeriCorps service program, which Rolling Stone had campaigned for, and established it into law. He was taking on the gun lobby and the tobacco lobby. He had proposed fair treatment for gay soldiers. He was fighting for national health care, and more, but liberals paid very little attention to these things because they were bitchy and cynical about politics. They resented Clinton for respecting the votes of conservatives or the opinions of moderates. They wanted him to behave like a dictator because they didn't really care about results in the world.... He said he had pointed at Greider to tell him the problem is you, Bill Greider. You are a faulty citizen. You don't mobilize or persuade, because you only worry about being doctrinaire and proud. You are betraying your own principles with self-righteousness.

(Emphasis supplied.) I think Greider was right to confront President Clinton - he wanted him to do more. Clinton wanted credit for the things he had done. Because that's what pols want. But what was really interesting to me is the fact that President Obama has not been able to do what Clinton did on one of the most important policy questions any President faces - setting tax policy.

It is an old refrain for me to bemoan how progressive wonk types fail to appreciate the manner in which tax policy dictates fiscal policy. It is their major blind spot in evaluating The Deal, Krugman not excluded.

But think about this - Barack Obama won a landslide in in 2008 had historic Democratic majorities in Congress, indeed a much more progressive Congress than Bill Clinton ever had, and he can not even restore the Clinton tax policy. Instead President Obama is continuing the tax policy of a President who was as repudiated as any since Nixon.

This failure is the signature moment of the Obama Presidency so far. Unless he can reverse that in 2012, I certainly will consider the Obama Presidency a failed Presidency. YMMV.

Speaking for me only

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    Agreed. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by masslib on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 12:36:58 PM EST
    I can't believe that people can not understand the importance of getting the tax policy right.  Government's two major functions, tax and spend.  The notion that Democrats should be satisfied to trade away progressive tax policy for social or foreign policy as some have suggested, is insane to me.  What's really funny is we know our political system is cooked because of the concentration of wealth at the top, and here we have some progressives asking what's the big deal we extend the tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.

    He can't (5.00 / 10) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 12:51:06 PM EST
    reverse it. If he won't or can't reverse it now then he certainly won't be able to do it in 2012.

    I never understood saying Obama was triangulating. I don't see Obama triangulating because triangulation would be playing off the right along with the left. Obama is basically disdaining the left and catering to the right.

    Exactly so (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 01:01:40 PM EST
    "Triangulating" is not the same thing as compromising, which is not the same thing as capitulating, which isn't the same thing as capitulating before you even get to the bargaining table.

    Great tie though--very top 1% (none / 0) (#12)
    by observed on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 01:04:53 PM EST
    "I Will Fight Hard in 2 Years" (5.00 / 9) (#13)
    by Jade Jordan on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 01:09:03 PM EST
    Really, you have fought for exactly nothing in two years.  You did not fight to close gitmo, you did not fight for your nominees, you did not fight for the public option, medicare for all, or single payer. No DADT fight, no immigration fight, no global warming fight-nothing. You did not fight for your democratic congress, purposely doing too little too late.

    We are supposed to believe you are going to fight the republicans in your election year. You chose the 2 year deal so you can use your election year to make it permanent. You answer to your corporate masters and you get everything you want.  The problem for us is what you want does not bode well for the poor and middle class. Rich people, however, can rejoice.  So can the people that want Medicare, Social Security, Disability, and other social programs gutted.

    You got what you wanted, the presidency.  Now you are set for life.  You have finally taken off the facade of a lefty and are no longer afraid to let people see the real you.  Corporatist, elite loving, Republican.  Now all you have to say is "let them eat cake".

    He did fight for at least one thing (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by cenobite on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 02:34:49 PM EST
    Expansion of Afghanistan war funding.

    I was hoping that when he promised more war in Afghanistan that was the thing he was lying about to get elected.

    Turns out he was lying about everything else.


    he fought the Secret Service (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 02:41:34 PM EST
    to keep his BlackBerry

    Obama Republicanism (none / 0) (#31)
    by norris morris on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 09:55:55 PM EST
    I share your evaluation of the facts about Obama's performance and clearly how he's performed.
     Clearly he's waiting to cash in and has done absolutely nothing except to sell out before any attempts were made for standing for the positions he fraudulently promised to defend.

    I think Obama IS setting tax policy; (5.00 / 9) (#16)
    by Anne on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 01:57:28 PM EST
    it's just not the right tax policy, nor is it the policy Democrats believe is the best policy, but it is, most definitely, policy.

    Because regardless of what he promises for "next time," or how he assures us he'll be up to a fight in a year or two, in the meantime, the policy will be in place and that policy will have consequences, many of them negative and which which will provide ammunition for spending cuts to important government programs that are about all that stand between a lot of people and the abyss.

    For the life of me, I just do not understand why people think Obama means well, but just doesn't seem to know how to get what he wants; it's pretty clear to me, when I look at his actions and consider his rhetoric, look at the people he's surrounded himself with, that Obama is exactly who many of us knew he would be: a Reaganite to the bone, who aligns with the rich, savvy businessmen who have pretty much destroyed this country's economic health - and whom he continues to assist in every way possible - and he is getting and doing EXACTLY what he wants.

    Anne, do you really think that Pres. Obama (none / 0) (#20)
    by DFLer on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 02:33:57 PM EST
    also wants to (or wouldn't mind) taking down Social Security...as others have said here on various threads?

    A sincere question...do folks think that he really wants to take SS down, or just that he will, as a result of his policies and (stupid)decisions?


    I don't presume to know what is (5.00 / 6) (#26)
    by Anne on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 03:52:54 PM EST
    in Obama's heart, or mind; I can only go by the messages he sends, the actions he takes and the policies he gets behind, and on that score, I believe that his rhetoric on Social Security, his naming of Alan Simpson to the Deficit Commission, his embrace of the "majorty report," his ongoing comments about "fixing" the program, his fondness for the ideas of Reagan and people like Paul Ryan, all point in one direction.  The effect of the policies he's supporting will undermine Social Security, possibly turning it into a welfare-type program, instead of one where everyone who pays in is guaranteed to receive benefits from it.

    Someone who regards Social Security as sacrosanct wouldn't be saying what he's saying and doing what he's doing; he has enough people advising him who know where this could go that all he'd have to say is, "I'm not supporting anything that's going to put a target on this program.  Period.  So, come back to me with something else," but that's not what's happening.

    I know others have pooh-poohed the possibility that Democrats could end up being responsible for the eventual demise of Social Security, but not taking that possibility seriously is, in my opinion, a huge mistake.


    Obama made a point of saying entitlements had to (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by jawbone on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 04:28:15 PM EST
    cut (well, part of the cuts) in his interview with NPR this week.

    INSKEEP: Let me ask you about two or three years out. I'm thinking of the 1990s when President Clinton famously said, "The era of big government is over."

    Because of the medium- and long-term need to restrain or cut spending, are you going to be in a position where the era of big government is going to be over again; there's going to have to be a fundamentally different approach to things?

    OBAMA: I think there's going to have to be a fundamentally different approach to things. And I described earlier what I think that approach has to be. It's not an issue of big government versus small government. It's an issue of smart government.

    You know, when -- when families sit around the kitchen table, they say to themselves, what are the things we have to have? College education for our kids. Paying our mortgage. Getting the roof repaired. A new boiler. What are the things that would be nice to have? A vacation. Eating out. Some new clothes. And if they can afford it, they'd buy things that they'd like to have. But the first thing they do is take care of the things that we have to have.

    And under that category, I'd put things like research and development, education, making sure that we're sending our kids to college, rebuilding our infrastructure to compete on the 21st century, making sure that this country is safe.

    The other stuff, then, we have to debate and figure out, can we get by with a little And that's going to be a tough discussion, but it's one I'm confident we can have.

    You'll -- when -- when we look at the deficit and the debt, I -- I think it's important to understand this doesn't need to be Armageddon. This -- this is not a situation where we've got to slash and burn everything. It does mean we've got to make choices. And it means that discussions have to be serious and they've got to be based on fact.

    We -- we're not going to be able to deal with our deficit just by eliminating foreign aid, for example, which some people suggest. Well, you know what? That only accounts for 1 percent of our budget. It's not going to happen just because we eliminate earmarks. I happen to think that that's a bad way of doing business, but earmarks account for 1 percent or less of the federal budget.

    We've got to look at a whole range of things -- where the money goes.  And that includes entitlements; that includes defense; that includes a whole host of discretionary spending where we can probably do more and do it smarter with less money, if we are actually making some tough choices.

    INSKEEP: Mr. President, let me come back to taxes here. Because this plan projects extending the Bush tax cuts for two years, it's been widely presumed that in two years or less, you're going to have another big fight over whether to extend these tax cuts.

    What I'm saying is, is that the general concept of simplifying [the tax code -- eliminating loopholes, eliminating deductions, eliminating exemptions in certain categories -- might make sense if, in exchange, people's rates are lower. That may end up being a more efficient way of doing business.

    This week, my colleague Scott Horsley asked you if there was a different possibility here. He asked if you were going to use this two-year window to push for a broader overhaul of the tax code. You said yes. I want you to expand on that "yes."

    What do you plan to do to the tax code in the next couple of years?

    OBAMA: Well, I think we're going to have to have a conversation over the next year. And if you think about the last time we reformed our tax system back in 1986 -- it didn't happen right away, by the way. It required a lot of conversations among a lot of different parties. But people of good will came together and realized that if we eliminate what happens to the tax code every decade or so -- loopholes get built in, special interest provisions get built in -- the nominal rates end up high, but the actual tax rates that well-connected folks or people who have good accountants pay end up being a lot lower. Ordinary people end up getting squeezed.

    So typically, the idea is simplifying the system, hopefully lowering rates, broadening the base -- that's something that I think most economists think would help us propel economic growth. But it's a very complicated conversation.

    So what I believe is, is that we've got to start that conversation next year. I think we can get some broad bipartisan agreement that it needs to be done. But it's going to require a lot of hard work to actually make it happen.

    INSKEEP: So that everybody understands what you're talking about, your deficit commission talked about lowering everybody's tax rate and eliminating deductions, such as changing the home mortgage deduction and many other deductions as well. That's the kind of plan you're talking about.

    OBAMA: Well, I have not specifically endorsed that plan. What I'm saying is, is that the general concept of simplifying -- eliminating loopholes, eliminating deductions, eliminating exemptions in certain categories -- might make . That may end up being a more efficient way of doing business.

    INSKEEP: Does that completely change this debate over the Bush tax cuts?  Everything goes away. The tax code is just completely different than it was before.

    OBAMA: Here's one thing that I don't think will change. And that is that people like myself who have been incredibly blessed and who have a lot more income and wealth can afford to pay more than we currently are paying. I strongly believe that. I believed that during the campaign for president. I believed it when I was campaigning during these midterms. I still believe it.

    And so the fight about what the top 1 percent or 2 percent of America should be contributing as part of our contribution to rebuilding America and putting it on a competitive footing -- that basic principle is one that I continue to believe in and I will be fighting for over the next two years.

    BTW, as part of the Tip O'Neill-Ronald Reagan Great Compromise about SocSec, we've all been paying ahead (paying extra) to cover the large bulge of the Baby Boomers' numbers. Now, we're being told, well, yeah, you paid, but guess what? We used that money for tax cuts for the rich, so you've got to take a hit on your benefits. And maybe pay even more. Suck it up, Obama and the Repubs are in charge.

    SocSec, Medicare,Medicaid -- the two years in a row of falling longevity is just a hint of what's to come. And there will be an even clearer class differentiation in the future under these kinds of tax policies.


    And this: (none / 0) (#40)
    by cal1942 on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 11:45:23 PM EST
    Because of the medium- and long-term need to restrain or cut spending

    From Inskeep tells us exactly what Washington CW is at present.

    He doesn't even question making cuts, he makes an unequivocal declaration.

    Given inside the Beltway attitude and Obama the nation is screwed.

    Sometimes it makes me think that Obama was the Manchurian Candidate.  But, I know that's not true because so many Democrats, even some rank and file Democrats are like minded.


    He was as clear as possible (none / 0) (#22)
    by observed on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 02:39:16 PM EST
    on that,IMO..very unsubtle code.

    could you please remind me of what he said (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by DFLer on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 02:48:03 PM EST
    that makes you say so? thanks

    Adding Pacific John's fine comment - (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by cal1942 on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 12:12:12 AM EST
    During the primaries it was Obama who brought up Social Security financing and having a discussion about the future of Social Security.  

    When he cornered Hillary Clinton he badgered her about raising taxes (actually extending the cap on FICA withholding) saying something like 'then you'd raise taxes.'  A right wing tactic.

    The fact that he even brought up Social Security was appalling. The subject had been put to rest victoriously in 2005 when the Bush attempt had been beaten back.

    Securing Social Security solvency is a very simple matter and should never have been set forth as an issue.  All this accomplished was once again exposing Social Security to attack from the right.


    BHO made three clear signals (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by Pacific John on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 03:16:04 PM EST
    ... that those of us traditional Dems immune to his evangelistic experience tried to scream to anyone capable of rational thought:

    • "Tone, Truth....," was the window into BHO's core beliefs, that liberals should not stand and fight; compromise with corporations and the right wing was the only acceptable path to governance. One "Armando," wrote a diary at MyDD on "Tone, Truth...," in which you could practically hear him spit out his disgust.

    • His neoliberal economic team with a record of supporting privatization telegraphed what he thought, and what we see now.

    • Harry and Louise. First, you don't run a GOP attack ad on another Democrat. Second, the imagery was that he was a friend to the insurance industry, and nothing else. (He should have been told to knock it off, or he would be taken out of the primary by the leadership, sort of the opposite of what happened when Pelosi's PAC shoveled cash at superdelegates who endorsed BHO over the wishes of their districts.)

    Unlike other somewhat foggier predictions about how Bush II would fail, BHO's (er, um, Bush III's) major critics told us exactly how this would unfold.

    ...And then they were run off the Internet to the real world with actual voters where they handed the last three months of the primaries, and the majority of total D votes cast to his opponent.

    One last pill of bile: Like Nixon went to China, only Obama could advance regressive tax policy like this. We strongly suspect that the Sec of State was more liberal and Democratic on domestic policy, and that all of us, the left included, would have held her feet to the fire on her specific campaign platform. Had the GOP won in '08, you can safely bet the D party would have happily organized to re-run "There is no Crisis," and anything else that would have made the GOP look bad.

    Hell, that's the only thing either party is marginally good at, humiliating the other side.


    I'm beginning to think............. (none / 0) (#33)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 02:12:11 AM EST
    That he just doesn't care that much about any of it.  He doesn't want anyone to criticize anything he does, but other than that, it's all just too much effort for him.  He has no causes that he feels, deep down, are worth fighting for.  This Presidency thing has become a real drag for Obama.  It's too hard, would mean too much work, to get something done right, so the heck with it.  He's off to Hawaii soon on Air Force One and the rest of us stay home and worry about all those things that he can't be bothered with, like jobs, and taxes, and social security.  Surely some underling, or Bill Clinton, can deal with it.  Obama's off to the party, or the vacation, or whatever.  It's fun to play President.  Doing the hard work with all those people demanding things?  Not so much.  

    He's less qualified (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by observed on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 08:16:08 AM EST
    than even his worst critics imagined. Forget the 3am call---he can't handle the midday softball.

    Amen, He is doing exactly what he was chosen to (none / 0) (#27)
    by mogal on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 04:26:16 PM EST
    do. Thank you Anne for again explaining it so well.

    Thanks everyone for their thoughtful and (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by DFLer on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 06:28:47 PM EST
    informative postings for me re SS. I've spent the last two days digging out of a 28" snow drop, and my brain needed a little warm-up on the sitch.

    Thanks J-Bone for the NPR interview, which I hadn't heard. Ya know there's a phrase Pres. Obama used there that bugs me:

    people like myself who have been incredibly blessed and who have a lot more income and wealth...

    as if the notion of wealth is somehow a gift from God. Of course the corollary to that is that poverty is also god's gift. Kinda Calvinistic, isn't it?

    Full (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 06:38:53 PM EST
    tilt religious right rhetoric. The rich have more money because God loves them more. God hates the poor apparently so it's good to get rid of anything that helps them.

    Ugh (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by cal1942 on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 12:27:16 AM EST
    people like myself who have been incredibly blessed

    Golly gee, I'm soooo talented, I'm soooo good.

    He could change the whole tone by saying 'I've been so lucky ...'


    Warren Buffett (none / 0) (#32)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 01:30:59 AM EST
    uses similar lines at times when he refers to the ovarian lottery. And there is a ton of truth in that phrase.

    Can't, or won't? (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by Caro on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 10:01:06 AM EST
    >> he can not even restore the Clinton tax policy

    Can't, or won't?

    When are we going to face the fact that Obama is getting exactly what he wants?

    Carolyn Kay

    Perspective (none / 0) (#2)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 12:42:17 PM EST
    Let me understand. The signature moment of Obama's presidency will be his failure to raise taxes on the rich, something that could be accomplished or reversed by the next POTUS/congress and in just 2 years.

    Meanwhile, the heathcare reform act which, throuh the elimination of pe-existing illness restrictions alone, as likely changed healthcare in this contry forever, is somehow not the signature moment of his presidency.

    Again, one action could be irrelevant in 2 years.  The other action is likely irreversible not that it has passed due to public sentiments.

    And the short term action is the key move.

    There is no perspective behind those kinds of opinions IMHO.  50 years from now, my grandkids won't read about how Obama compromised on this tax issue.   They will read about the way that Obama took the first massive step towards universal healthcare.

    Too bad those on his left can't rise high enough above the skirmishes to see that.

    The tax cuts may expire in 2012 (5.00 / 10) (#3)
    by andgarden on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 12:47:46 PM EST
    like I may have already won a Million dollars.

    Agreed, and tax policy (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by KeysDan on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 12:55:40 PM EST
    and programs, including implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act, are not in isolation from one another. No money, no programs.

    Do you (5.00 / 6) (#5)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 12:53:37 PM EST
    really want his signature issue to be that crappy Health Care legislation?

    If getting rid of preexisting conditions was so important then he could have just sent a bill through with just that and not all the other junk in the bill.


    Bravo (none / 0) (#44)
    by cal1942 on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 12:33:04 AM EST
    There are a number of regulations that could and should have been law years ago.

    Medicaid could have been extended as well in separate legislation.

    We didn't need the whole of the Bob Dole plan.


    Your grandkids won't be reading (5.00 / 8) (#7)
    by oldpro on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 12:56:07 PM EST
    about healthcare...they'll be busy reading the wantads, hunting for jobs to pay off the bills Obama left them with lower wages and higher taxes...on them.

    There will be no money for health care (5.00 / 7) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 12:56:22 PM EST
    (not insurance - care) or any other domestic need by the time Obama and the Republicans get done reducing revenue and shrinking the government. Sure hope you are in the top 2% because otherwise you and your grandkids are going to be SOL.

    If you can't see that income inequality (5.00 / 14) (#9)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 12:59:39 PM EST
    in this country isn't the single most important factor affecting your kids' economic future, very much including their future health care, I feel sorry for you.

    Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by andgarden on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 01:00:22 PM EST
    Do you realize (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 01:28:26 PM EST
    that the "elimination of pre-existing conditions" without any kind of cost control pressure on insurance companies against premium and deductible increase is already in the process of completely killing affordability of individual insurance, the very insurance that it was supposed to help.

    People will not be able to have insurance because of this.....do you not see that?  I know this because I'm considering dropping my individual insurance NOW because of the increases that have already occurred due to the elimination of the lifetime caps...another mandate from the "affordability care act" that I can't afford.

    Obama has just rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic of insurance.

    If this is his signature policy, he will go down in history as the worst president ever.



    If he fails to do so (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 01:29:13 PM EST
    I would say that it was his signature moment.

    In fact, I wrote that above.


    He has chosen to be immaterial (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by ruffian on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 02:19:27 PM EST
    in both these issues. I really don't care which of the two bad policies he is known for 50 yrs from now.

    Despite the band-aid of the so called HCR, the health care system is going to collapse under its own weight well before that. We will have a single payer system, and the president who makes it happen will get the credit. Obama will be a footnote in the history of health care reform.

    He still has a chance to developed a sensible tax policy, but I doubt he will before the next election. Republicans will never make it happen in the House. Why would they? They've already found the winning strategy in just standing firm against him.


    I totally (none / 0) (#18)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 02:26:40 PM EST
    agree. There is no way that this healthcare model we have is going to continue. Health care costs cannot continue to decline while the income of Americans declines. They will not become indentured servants simply because they get sick and the AMA et al. are going to be willing to accept single payer because the other option is going to be that they are going to have to go back to taking chickens as payment for their services.

    Oh, boy. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 02:27:18 PM EST
    That should be health care costs climb not decline.

    They don't even have to stand firm (none / 0) (#45)
    by cal1942 on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 12:44:15 AM EST
    Not really.  If they stand at all they can wait for him to offer compromises that exceed their own expectations.

    More perspective (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Yman on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 04:45:09 PM EST
    Let me understand this.  The signature moment of Obama's Presidency - the moment that our "grandchildren will be reading about 50 years from now" - is a health insurance reform bill that:

    1. is based upon backroom deals with the pharamaceutical/insurance lobbyists,

    2.  provides individual mandates with no cost controls, resulting in perpetual, double-digit % premium increases

    3.  waits to provide benefits to many until after Republicans will control the Congress (and maybe the WH),

    4. presumes that a Republican Congress will magically fund the provisions which are scheduled to kick-in in by 2014, and

    5.  which insures that any shot at universal health care reform and single payor coverage will not be considered for decades (if ever).

    You think that's the "massive step" our grandchildren will be reading about?

    Uhhhh, ....... yeah.

    Good luck with that.


    You have to squint (none / 0) (#38)
    by jbindc on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 06:12:21 PM EST
    to be able to see it.

    I think it also involves ... (none / 0) (#39)
    by Yman on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 07:16:10 PM EST
    ... a little hopium ...

    ... which is in short supply these days.


    You also assume (none / 0) (#35)
    by jbindc on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 09:28:43 AM EST
    Parts of the health (cough) care reform bill don't get thrown out in court.

    From Volokh:

    In a briefing of White House reporters yesterday [actually last week], anticipating the forthcoming decision, the White House issued a fact sheet conceding that, should the individual mandate be held unconstitutional, the regulations being imposed on insurance companies "would" also fall:

    The Affordable Care Act also bans insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions beginning in 2014 (In 2010, insurance companies were banned from discriminating against children). However, unless every American is required to have insurance, it would be cost prohibitive to cover people with preexisting conditions. Here's why: If insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to anyone who applies for insurance - especially those who have health problems and are potentially more expensive to cover - then there is nothing stopping someone from waiting until they're sick or injured to apply for coverage since insurance companies can't say no. That would lead to double digit premiums increases - up to 20% - for everyone with insurance, and would significantly increase the cost of health care. We don't let people wait until after they've been in a car accident to apply for auto insurance and get reimbursed, and we don't want to do that with healthcare. If we're going to outlaw discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, the only way to keep people from gaming the system and raising costs on everyone else is to ensure that everyone takes responsibility for their own health insurance. If we don't, then we will go back to the days of allowing insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

    If the constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act's individual responsibility requirement ultimately prevails, it would mean that provisions preventing health insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions would also be invalidated by the court because the two are inseparably linked. If insurance companies are required to cover those with pre-existing conditions, who are potentially more expensive to cover, without requiring everyone--both sick and healthy people--to have insurance, premiums will increase rapidly. Similarly, other provisions - including banning insurers from discriminating based on health status, age and gender - would also fall


    Now, I don't know what the Virigina Court will do, but clearly the WH shows it's nervous by putting out a statement like this.


    50 Years From Now (none / 0) (#41)
    by cal1942 on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 11:57:07 PM EST
    Your children will look back and find that Obama had played a key role in undoing the last of the great New Deal reforms that so benefited and strengthened the nation.

    Unless something drastic brings about a considerable watershed in the ensuing years your children will be living in a weak raggedy nation and Obama will have been the one who squandered a golden opportunity to halt the decline.