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Archive for December, 2009

Is Health Care Reform Still Progressive?

December 22nd, 2009

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Originally published in Roll Call

Eleven months ago, in the midst of a Category 5 economic hurricane, President Barack Obama, Congress and progressive leaders embarked on an improbable quest to pass comprehensive health insurance. The goal was to provide coverage to tens of millions of Americans, health care stability to the middle class, cut costs to business and individuals, and, don’t forget, reduce the federal deficit without raising taxes on average Americans.

On Thursday, the United States Senate will vote on a bill that, miraculously, does just that. The House has already acted. And yet, on blog posts, op-ed pages and in Congress, many progressives seem absolutely miserable. Why?

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Bracing for Victory

December 20th, 2009

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Originally published in Politico

Advice to Democrats: brace yourselves for victory. Because if Congress passes health care reform, Democrats better be prepared to defend it.

“Our Democratic friends are about to walk off a political cliff here,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned during the Senate debate this week. “Do we really want to change one sixth of the economy without a single Republican vote?”

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Cooling Trend

December 18th, 2009

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Originally published in National Journal

The world leaders who just met in Copenhagen were trying to prove Mark Twain was wrong.  Twain allegedly said, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”  Twain may win that argument.  Sarah Palin certainly thinks so.  She wrote in The Washington Post, “The agenda-driven policies pushed in Copenhagen won’t change the weather, but they would change our economy for the worse.”

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Why the Road to Clean Energy Goes Through Little Rock

December 16th, 2009

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Originally published on The Huffington Post

The only story that has been able to distract from Tiger Wood’s personal life this past week has been what is happening in Copenhagen. The tally thus far:

193 nations in attendance,

Over 250 protestors arrested

Zero agreements.

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Surge Not A Drag On Obama

December 14th, 2009

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Originally published in National Journal

It’s official. President Obama’s job-approval ratings have dropped below 50 percent in most national polls. Why? It’s the economy, stupid.

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Make the Middle Class a Leading Indicator

December 8th, 2009

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Originally published in Roll Call

When the bottom dropped out of the financial markets last fall, there wasn’t an economist on earth who thought the economy would be this far along the road to recovery in the space of one year.

Thanks in large part to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the passage of the recovery package, the stock market is nearing pre-crash levels, financial markets are functioning, the housing market appears to be stabilizing, and Gross Domestic Product was positive last quarter. But unemployment remains unacceptably high.

True, the job market is often the last sector to get the memo that the economy is moving again, but America’s middle class shouldn’t serve as the recovery’s lagging indicator. That’s why Congress should prepare a jobs package to achieve three things: (1) allow the private sector to create permanent jobs; (2) cushion the middle class from further harm; and (3) establish American economic leadership in growth sectors.

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