11/09/2009, Volume 015, Issue 08
The Pelosi Plan
… and the Swine Flu Democrats.
by William Kristol
In 1993, a newly elected Democratic president and a Democratic Congress pushed through a tax increase on a party-line vote. The next year Democrats lost control of Congress, with House Speaker Tom Foley defeated in his reelection bid and the Senate seat of retiring majority leader George Mitchell going Republican.
In 1995, the newly elected Republican Congress tried to reduce the rate of growth of Medicare. The proposal was pilloried by the Clinton White House as drastic and unconscionable. The bill did not become law, the Gingrich revolution came to a screeching halt, and Bill Clinton was reelected in 1996, defeating Bob Dole, who, Clinton tirelessly pointed out, had attempted to bring about those Medicare cuts in collusion with Newt Gingrich.
Politicians aren’t altogether stupid. No president or congressional majority has tried to raise taxes since 1993. No president or congressional majority has tried to slash Medicare since 1995.
Until now. With Barack Obama as her front man, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi–the real power in the Democratic party–has gone Clinton and Gingrich one better. Clinton tried to hike taxes. Gingrich sought to cut Medicare. Pelosi wants to do both at once. This is quite a feat: She’s combined the most unpopular Democratic and Republican proposals of the last generation in one piece of legislation.
And her timing is impeccable. Pelosi has decided to raise taxes and discourage employment just as joblessness approaches 10 percent. She’s decided to cut Medicare reimbursements just as seniors’ retirement accounts have shrunk. She’s decided to advance a huge spending
bill just as the deficit is at historic highs. She’s decided to insist on federal funding of abortion just as the issue seems to have reached some sustainable middle ground. And she’s decided to put forward a 2,000-page piece of legislation with a mind-boggling array of scary instances of bureaucratic coercion and farcical examples of nanny-state liberalism–all nuggets of political gold for Republicans–at a time when the public is sick of statist overreaching and big-government meddling.
via The Pelosi Plan.