Monday, February 07, 2005

Report Card

I know the semester has just started, but I'm itchy to start handing out grades. The Senate Democrat's legislative goals, summarized at their website is as good a place to start as any.

Slogan: Security, Opportunity, Responsibility

Grade: D
Comments: Sounds like something thought up by the Republican's host of newspeak jabberwockies

1. S.11: Standing With Our Troops

Increases size of standing military by 40,000 by 2007 and promises greater income support and health care access for those who serve.

Grade: D+
Comments: On increasing size of standing army, please see earlier post.

2. S.12: Targeting the Terrorists More Effectively

We're going to get those terrorists.

Grade: D-
Comments: essentially adopts neocon rhetoric about taking the fight to the terrorists but throws in some stuff about preventing nuclear proliferation. Lacks creativity.

3. S.13: Fullfilling Our Duty to America's Veterans

Ensure better treatment for our veterans.

Grade: C
Comments: Worthwhile goal, but doesn't clarify change from current policies.

4. S.14: Expanding Economic Opportunity

Increase minimum wage, better trade protections, end tax breaks for outsourcing, etc.

Grade: B-
Comments: outside of minimum wage part, unimaginative

5. S.15: Quality Education for All

Fully fund NCLB, increase Pell Grants, some other stuff

Grade: C
Comments: why is college tuition "skyrocketing"? What're the budgetary implications?

6. S.16: Making Health Care More Affordable

allows drug reimportation, tax credits for businesses, "protect Medicaid"

Grade: C-
Comments: Does the notion of sending of our subsidized and overpriced pharmaceuticals to Canada, where they get priced down, and then reimporting them strike anyone besides me as being just a little bit bizzarre?

7. S. 17: Democracy Begins at Home

federal standards for elections, same day registration, shorter lines, paper trails, etc.

Grade: B
Comments: The best of the lot so far. Any thoughts on federal redistricting guidelines?

8. S. 18: Meeting Our Responsibility to Medicare Beneficiaries

gets rid of "donut" in recent Medicare prescription drug legislation and allows govt to negotiate lower group prices with Pharma.

Grade: C+
Comments: Sounds expensive

9. S. 19: Fiscal Responsibility for a Sound Future

Restores Pay as You Go and sequestration; restricts misuse of reconciliation

Grade: B
Comments: Sidesteps sunsetting of 2001 and 2003 tax cuts

10. S. 20: Putting Prevention First

more $ for family planning and contraceptives

Substance: C
Symbolism: B+
Comments: Right to choose?

Total Grade: C-
Comments: while recognizing that these items are intended to look like bills that might actually be considered by this congress and could even pass on a good day, there's not much here that indicates an underlying Democratic ideology or sense of purpose for government; doesn't do much to challenge Republican orthodoxy. What about the Republican "junk lawsuit bill"?

Later: Senator Bulworth offers his own agenda

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