9.06.2009

Representative Tom Petri doesn't exactly clear the air

In my quest to figure out which of Wisconsin's elected representatives had actually read the health care legislation that was being considered going into the August recess, one has finally returned my repeated requests -- via Twitter, and then their campaign e-mails -- for a straight answer.

Well, it wasn't quite straight. Representative Tom Petri fudged on my first, and most important question -- whether or not he's actually read the thing -- by only answering my second question, namely what he found to be the legislation's greatest strength and greatest weakness. And his answer to that wasn't entirely straightforward either; rather, it was the text of a speech he seems to have been giving to various town hall meetings throughout his district this summer. I excerpt below sections I appreciate:
But the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has been unable to find significant provisions in the House leadership's plan likely to slow health care inflation. Instead, the CBO has stated that the plan would result in over $1 trillion in new spending over 10 years which would "probably generate substantial increases in federal budget deficits."

The spending would partially be offset by cuts in Medicare and by $800 billion in new taxes, including hikes on small business - the engine of job creation in this country. According to economic modeling used by the President's chief economic advisors, that sort of a tax increase would result in 4.7 million Americans losing their jobs.
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The President and his allies have been astounded by the level of anger at town hall meetings all around the country. They calm themselves with the preposterous notion that the concerned citizens in attendance have all been sent by the "special interests" to prevent the friendly discussions the President enjoys in his tightly-controlled forums.

But you can't manufacture that kind of anger, and you can't get that many people to go to meetings unless they feel a real need to go.
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Why are people so angry? The President is promoting truly controversial and alarming changes in American health care, and the public feels that it is being bum-rushed to accept it all. Outrage is the appropriate response - expressed within a non-violent exchange of views, of course.