Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hillary-Watch...or...Is this really what we need right now?
At the recent DLC meeting, Senator Clinton pushed her new legislative plan, called the "American Dream" initiative. It's full of Clinton-type goodies for regular working-class Americans:
The centerpiece proposal would provide additional support for college costs, with the goal of increasing the number of college graduates by 1 million a year by 2015. The proposal includes $150 billion in block grants for states to ease rising tuition costs and a consolidated tax credit for students. To qualify, states and universities would have to limit tuition increases to the rate of inflation.

Other ideas include requirements for employers to establish retirement accounts for all workers and a refundable tax credit for savers; "baby bonds" that would create a government-funded savings account of $500 for every child born in the United States; a refundable tax credit to help provide the down payment on housing; universal health care for children; and benefits for small businesses to lower the cost of providing health insurance to workers.
These all sound like fine ideas worth supporting, especially the last 2, health-care proposals. But my honest first response is: what is this, the 90s? It seems to me that we currently face a foreign policy disaster and nightmare. Yeah I know, this is a domestic initiative and the government has to do both at the same time. I just wonder if, whether we're talking about the '06 election or looking forward to '08, anyone will be able to hear such things.

We need a bold, confident and sensible plan to start the process of putting the world back together. We need to fundamentally change the way we think about energy, national security, and the environment. Will people really vote based on some relatively small-program life-cushioners? With the world ablaze and US 30,000 troops injured or dead? Are we that easy? And yes, yes, I know we have to address more than one thing at a time. But do you see any evidence to believe that Americans can think about more than one thing at a time? I guess what I'm trying to say is, doesn't this plan, as a campaign strategy, really sound out of date?

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