American Politics

American Politics

Health plan puts small business on critical list

The Clintons' health-security plan is now on the table. Though many stakeholders are nibbling around the edges -- e.g., physicians, hospitals, pharmaceutical and insurance companies -- the real opposition will come from small business and the people they employ. Reason: The new health-security plan imposes a huge new "employee tax" on American business. This so-called "employer mandate" requires employers to pay for at least 80% of each employee's health insurance policy. 

Bigger doesn't mean better for health plan

Last week's news had a familiar ring. On Wednesday, President Clinton outlined his health-reform plan. The plan, straight from the playbook of Franklin D. Roosevelt, is Old Democrat to the core: more taxes, more spending, a new entitlement, a new bureaucracy to run "the system," and new powers to the federal government to run our lives. 

NAFTA's promise is in the numbers

NAFTA is in trouble in Congress. There is no question about that. But, to put all this in perspective, since Secretary of State Cordell Hull's reciprocal trade agreements in the 1930s, trade pacts have almost always had problems when they first hit Capitol Hill. 

NAFTA takes greener path

The Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth and other national environmental organizations have joined forces to derail the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Some are organizing opposition in Congress. Others have filed suit in federal court to obtain a court order to prevent consummation of the pact until an environmental impact statement has been filed. 

NAFTA position pulls Perot down

Treats this week include NAFTA foe Ross Perot's newest book, "Save Your Job, Save Our Country," his latest attack on the North American Free Trade Agreement. 

When Perot wants to limit government and reduce the deficit, he wins the support of many Americans -- in part because many Americans think government is too big and taxes are too high. But Perot also wins support because his position is consistent with his own no-nonsense, no-frills conduct as a business leader. 

Federal money won't fix cities

The bankruptcy of ideas among America's urban leaders is on full view this week as the U.S. Conference of Mayors meets in New York City. The message big city mayors have chosen to send to the American people is anemic and uninspiring: They want more "federal" money and are disappointed that the President and Congress have failed to deliver new urban spending programs that were promised in the campaign, amplified during the transition and scripted in the President Clinton's February 17 State of the Union address. 

L.A. vote shows Clinton constituency collapsing

Taxes up. Violence up. Out-of-control school bureaucracies. Excuses by people in high places for uncivilized behavior. Intrusive government. Plummeting property values. 

What does it all add up to? The takeover of America's largest city, Los Angeles, by Richard Riordan, a white, conservative Republican male -- the antithesis of political correctness in the world's most multicultural city. Mayor-elect Riordan defeated liberal councilman Michael Woo, an attractive, articulate ethnic leader who was endorsed by President Bill Clinton. 

Transition politics full of surprises

Watching the news unfold over the past week, I was reminded of a friend's comment on the evening of February 17, following Bill Clinton's first State of the Union Address. My friend, a Clinton political operative disappointed that the President had come down on the side of tax and spend rather than deficit reduction, said, "Bill Clinton is a transition president -- a transition between old, Cold War politics and a new politics yet to be defined." 

Viewed that way, much of the political turmoil we are now seeing is a new politics struggling to be born. 

Clinton Budget Fakes Deficit Reduction

Every morning at 6:00 am I wake up to the mellifluous tones of National Public Radio's Bob Edwards reading the morning headlines. Last week, Edwards opened my day with "President Clinton's $500 billion deficit reduction package goes to Congress today." 

A $500 billion deficit reduction package? This latest example of Washington, D.C., doublespeak -- saying one thing (such as "deficit reduction") when reality is just the opposite -- needs explanation. After all, Clinton's plan is to increase the deficit by more than $1.0 trillion during his first term. 

Reform running into roadblocks

Even though the President's Task Force on National Health Care Reform has been in business since January 25, it looks like the wheels are coming off -- and it has not yet left the garage. 

Late last week task force director Ira Magaziner said the group would not make the president's May 3rd deadline. Sources close to the process say it will be released around Memorial Day; other insiders say it will be closer to Labor Day. Whatever the date, the group has many problems. 

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Reboot!

It’s better to wear out than rust out.”  That is the message of Reboot!  While American culture glamorizes the “Golden Years” of endless leisure and amusement, Phil Burgess rejects retirement, as he makes the case for returning to work in the post-career years, a time he calls later life.

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