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Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Agenda

Nancy Pelosi made a few "agenda" statements yesterday, things she wants to concentrate on in the next two years as Speaker of the House. Lower drug prices for Medicare, lowering the cost of college, raising the minimum wage $2.10, and of course Iraq.

The first three are pretty easy. Bush would be a fool to veto a minimum wage increase, even though every bit of evidence shows it will increase unemployment in the 16-25 year age group. It's also unnecessary, since all but a handful of states have raised their own minimum wages over the last few years anyway. However, it plays nice to the masses.

Medicare drug prices are a little trickier and may get some backlash from industry. The basic premise here is the feds negotiate fairer prices for drugs for Medicare recipients. The problem is someone is going to have to make up the difference to to the drug companies, but no one wants to tell you that. We already subsidize the low prices on drugs in Europe here in America, and now, those of us not on Medicare will also get to subsidize the lower prices to our seniors.

I put negotiate in italics because that's how they were going to set reimbursement rates for doctors treating Medicare patients. Instead, a government panel just says "this is the rate, take it or leave it". Many doctors have left it.

The inevitable unintended consequence is of course going to be that health care costs for younger folks are going to go up as their prescriptions get more costly.

College costs are another great sound bite thing, that have to cost someone something. Remember, we've been promised a return to Pay Go budgeting, every new tax credit or spending item has to come with either a tax increase, or a cut in discretionary spending. So if we are going to make $3000 of college tuition per student tax deductible that money has to be made up with a cut or a tax hike. So, who gets to subsidize your kids trip to the University?

On Iraq the leadership of the new Majority has called for a summit with the President to discuss what the best way to extricate ourselves from that country is. They keep reminding us "stay the course" won't work anymore. (Did you know Bush has only said that once in regards to Iraq?)

I think the summit is a great idea, because the new congressional leadership is going to be required (finally) to put their plan on the table. Considering they have about 30 different people telling us how they'd get us out of Iraq, it will interesting to see how they coalesce all of those ideas into a coherent strategy.

One big missing item from their agenda, that should be reintroduced to it by the President during the State of the Union address, is fixing the Social Security and Medicare funding messes. Those two programs are looming train wrecks that the last three congresses chose to ignore because of politics. My suggestion is that the President give the Congress 90 days from his State of the Union to present their plan to him to reform social security, and make it public. No "Bipartisan Blue Ribbon Panels", we've had tons of those, just tell Congress to get to work, and then publicly berate them on the issue at every chance he gets.

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Blogger Praguetwin said...

I imagine people makinging over $300,000 are going to subsidize university education, but as you pointed out, the centrists are going to be hard to convince that we need any tax increase.

The Democrats will not get us out of Iraq, Baker will, and slowly.

And what were you thinking with this one? He only said stay the course once?

I count seven here.

I'm only going to say this once (not seven or more times like Bush and "stay the course"), conservative talk radio is bad for your mental health. A person as intelligent as you should not listen to it because it leads you to write foolish things later.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

I did misspeak, he claims to have used it 8 times. ThinkProgress say's it's 30, but they included any use of the phrase to answer a question asked about it.

As for listening to talk radio, it won't lead me to be any sillier than the folks who think the NY Times is objective news. In fact, less so, since I know talk radio is opinion, and most Times readers think the paper is news.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

You misspoke? You meant to say eight times and said once? Wow, that is a hell of a typo.

Are you sure you didn't hear that on Rush and believe it?

1:50 AM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Considering I haven't listened to Limbaugh in five or six years, yea, I'm quite sure I didn't hear it there.

5:31 AM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

Good man.

So what right-wing huckster is throwing that one around because it smacks of right-wing radio?

8:23 AM  

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