One Bad Legislative Apple Won't Spoil the Whole Bunch, But a Whole Bag of Legislative Bad Apples Might


This year's legislative agenda?

Part of the reason health care reform has suffered at the polls has been the news context in which the public viewed it: It wasn't President Obama's one complex, compromised, expensive initiative; it was one in an ongoing series of complex, compromised, expensive initiatives:

Prior to the health care debate, the Washington stories that Americans heard most clearly were about massive new government spending on a bank bailout abused by Wall Street; a near-trillion-dollar economic stimulus plan; a budget that included tax increases; and (to a lesser extent) a multibillion-dollar auto industry bailout (33 percent closely following in February; 40 percent in December 2008).

Seen in this light, I think it's not crazy to suggest that some of the public opposition to health care reform was because it was seen as being part of an agenda of big-ticket special interest handouts. When folks in Washington talk about "political capital," this is what they're referring to: Legislators can only pile on so much before the public gets wary. Regardless of its merits (or lack thereof), legislation isn't considered in a vacuum. 

Previously, I looked at what public polling tells us about health care reform here

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  1. I think it’s not crazy to suggest that some of the public opposition to health care reform was because it was seen as being part of an agenda of big-ticket special interest handouts.

    Damn, they’re onto my plan!

  2. It is impossible to trust anyone to do something well when they consistently f-up everything they do. In the real world these people get canned not a bigger budget and more responsibility.

    1. Geez, I can tell you aren’t moving up the company ladder.

      Don’t you now that today, being the lead and f***ing up a big expensive project is a sure way to a promotion? All the fire fighting that happens will get you smack in the middle of the lime light. I mean the f*** up isn’t your fault. You’ve got underlings to lay that on.

  3. I think I may lose it if I see or hear one more person lump the “bank bailout” in with the auto industry bailout, the health care reform plan etc. They aren’t at all the same kind of thing.

    One (the “bank bailout”) was an attempt to shore up the very foundation of America’s monetary system — that without which we couldn’t live in an advanced economy. If the monetary and banking system had collapsed, it would have been Mad Max in America. You can’t decouple our banking system from our monetary system (at least, not any time soon).

    The others were boondoggles targeting various industries for taxpayer assistance or reform. Wealth transfers, plain and simple — as compared with the preservation of our wealth, and of the value of our life’s savings, which was the case with the bank bailout. (Remember, many of the banks didn’t want to, but were forced to, participate).

    Yes, I know it was ugly. Yes, I know it wasn’t done properly. But the bank bailout saved our financial system from collapse. If you don’t relish collecting rainwater and hunting squirrels to survive, be happy about the “bank bailout.”

    1. The bailouts are all a scam! Except for my industry! Good God, it would a holocaust if a single company in my industry collapsed. I mean, that single company I work for!

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