Afternoon Quick Hits
Yes, the GOP stalled the minimum wage increase yesterday, holding out for small business tax breaks to offset the increased costs of a wage increase. Does it piss me off that we can’t get an up-or-down vote on a justifiable wage increase? Yup. Do I think it is important to get an increase and help Democrats portray themselves as being helpful to both lower income workers and small businesses? Yup. Take the deal and get this done.
Obama: Universal Health Care
Barack Obama came out for universal health care by the end of the next president’s first term, with John Edwards and Hillary also supporting universal coverage. Many of you are against HMOs for legitimate reasons, and want a government run health system. As a point of disclosure, I have worked with HMOs for the government every day for the last seven years. There is no reason why Ted Kennedy’s “Medicare-for-All” approach cannot work nationwide using contracted HMOs in urban areas and a direct government fee-for-service approach in more rural areas where HMOs would have difficulty assembling provider networks. There are benefits to the government and taxpayer from relying upon well-monitored HMOs operating in a competitive environment, which is better than the flawed approach Bush put forward which does little to constrain costs or expand coverage. State-by-state approaches run afoul of ERISA challenges and make things even more complex for the industry, at a time when the industry and the employer community are finally ready to support a federal role in stages over the next several years.
Hagel Versus Cheney
Chuck Hagel slapped “Five Deferments and a Baby” Dick Cheney around last night for questioning the guts of Americans for not supporting more cannon fodder in Iraq.
DNC Gets the Jump For 2008
Howard Dean and the DNC have launched preemptive strikes at the leading GOP 2008 candidates to set the narrative early. Excellent.
2008 Schedule May Decimate Second-Tier Candidates
Adam Nagourney runs a solid piece in today’s Times about the pending moves by various state legislatures to push their primaries and caucuses up in the schedule next year. This may have the effect of dooming second-tier, less well-financed candidates, as well as minimizing the impact of conservatives in the southern states upon the GOP field, and setting the stage on the Democratic side for a battle of the Titans between Hillary, Edwards, and Obama. And there’s one other guy who could jump in late and get a lot of money quickly to change the race, right Al?
CBO Weighs In On Tax Cuts
The Congressional Budget Office says that Bush must choose between a balanced budget or maintaining tax cuts for his rich friends.
Social Conservatives Unhappy With Bush
Bush’s base is unhappy at his newfound willingness to work out deals with Democrats on issues that aren’t on their social agenda.