Thursday, September 10, 2009

Robert Reich On Triggers And The Public Option

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich wrote a good essay on why triggers for a public option mean, essentially, that there will be no public option:

The problem is twofold. First, it's impossible to design airtight goals for coverage and cost reductions that won't be picked over by five thousand lobbyists and as many lawyers and litigators even if, at the end of the grace period, it's apparent to everyone else that the goals aren't met. Washington is a vast cesspool of well-paid specialists who know how to stop anything resembling a "trigger." Believe me, they will.

Second, any controversial proposal with some powerful support behind it that gets delayed -- for five years or three years or whenever -- is politically dead. Supporters lose interest. Public attention wanders. The media are on to other issues. Right now the public option is very much alive because so many Democrats care deeply about it, with good reason. But put it off for years, and assign it to the lawyers and lobbyists I just mentioned, and you can kiss it goodbye for ever.

The Snowe Job, and Why a "Trigger" for a Public Option is Nonsense

It's a great tutorial about how things really work in DC, and well worth a read. If you haven't watched it already, I featured Reich's YouTube video explaining what the public option is yesterday. It's also well worth the time.

Journalist turned TV writer David Simon summed up why public option triggers won't ever be pulled when he said:

"I have the utmost confidence in the ability of any ambitious soul anywhere to take what is not progress and what is not valid and to gloss it up and to say, "We're doing a great job."

The folks in our nation's capital have been playing this game since the Reagan era, if not earlier. They're perfectly capable of ignoring the obvious while they do what's in their own best interests.

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