American Politics

American Politics

Top Down Reform Recipe for Trouble

The work of the President's Task Force on National Health Care Reform is quickly moving to the front burner and controversy is growing -- both on the substance of the plan and on the process by which it is being assembled. 

Process objections are many. But the main issue is accountability -- beginning with President Clinton's decision to select First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to chair the Task Force and the decision of the Task Force to meet behind closed doors. 

Health Reform: Who gets what?

Clinton's healthcare reform plan -- some form of "managed competition" -- now looks like it will be released the first week in May. That's when the real politics begin.

The debate will focus on two issues: (1) what basic or "uniform" benefits will be covered and (2) how much will it cost to provide this basic coverage to everyone? 

Health Care: Less for more

Under the current employment-based health insurance system, 65% of Americans under 65 obtain health insurance through their jobs. Another 18% are enrolled in other plans -- including Medicaid (for poor people) and individual private insurance. Medicare covers those over 65. What remains is the health care crisis -- which includes 37 million uninsured people and skyrocketing costs for everyone. This is a crisis with many "solutions." 

Healthcare Problem Moves to Front Burner

Healthcare is now on the front burner. How this issue is managed could well determine the fate of the President's economic plan and perhaps his presidency. Putting Hillary Rodham Clinton in charge of the healthcare working group, the president promised a proposal to Congress within the first 100 days. The problems to overcome are many, but four stand out.

Clinton selling us an economic clunker

As Congress and the public look under the hood of the Clinton economic plan, they're finding a clunker. Despite initial public optimism about the plan, the University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment showed increased public anxiety about the economy's long-range prospects following the President's speech.

Activist agenda cuts both ways

Watching journalists on the weekend news interview shows, I was startled by the confidence -- no, the joy -- they seem to have in activist government and their warm feelings for more taxes and spending. 

It's understandable. Activist government provides one-stop shopping for journalists who have to write a story each day. It is much harder to do stories about the millions of entrepreneurs and tens of thousands of local civic organizations that really make things happen in a free society. 

Energy tax fails fairness test

As the Clinton Administration assembles its economic package for the President's state of the union address on February 17, it's clear the package will include new taxes. There will certainly be the promised "tax on the rich." But an energy tax of some kind also appears likely. 

Clinton could be a great president

The election is over. But cynics and skeptics are already taking aim. 

Seven lessons '92 taught us

Expensive (more than $235 million spent by the major candidates alone). Disgusting ("knock" campaign advertising continues to dominate airwaves). Shameful (for the world's oldest constitutional democracy that just won a protracted struggle with totalitarianism). Pick your own description of this year's lamentable presidential campaign. 

Global issues? Not in this race

In this lamentable presidential campaign, there is scant attention to international issues. Yet for the U.S. - the world's largest trading nation and the world's only remaining superpower - momentous issues are in play. 

In Europe, the movement toward political and monetary unification, symbolized by the Maastricht Treaty, is unraveling. Slow growth and continued high unemployment (much higher than the U.S.) continue to plague most EC economies. And Europe's diplomats have been unable to resolve the civil war in Yugoslavia, Europe's first post-Cold War crisis. 

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Reboot

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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