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Saturday, June 17, 2006

A New Direction for America?

The House Democrats have "A New Direction for America" in the platform they've proposed for this fall's election:

A New Direction For America: The American people are facing difficult times. Rising gas and health care costs are taking a toll on family budgets. Wages have not kept pace with inflation. Bright and eager high school graduates can no longer afford to go to college. And record deficits threaten to bury future generations in debt. America needs a New Direction. House Democrats will lead the way.

Democrats in Congress offer a New Direction, putting the common good of all Americans first for a change, and will:

MAKE HEALTH CARE MORE AFFORDABLE Fix the prescription drug program by putting people ahead of drug companies and HMOs, eliminating wasteful subsidies, negotiating lower drug prices and ensuring the program works for all seniors; invest in stem cell and other medical research.

LOWER GAS PRICES AND ACHIEVE ENERGY INDEPENDENCE Crack down on price gouging; eliminate billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies and use the savings to provide consumer relief and develop American alternatives, including biofuels; promote energy efficient technology.

HELP WORKING FAMILIES Raise the minimum wage; repeal tax giveaways that encourage companies to move jobs overseas.

CUT COLLEGE COSTS Make college tuition deductible from taxes; expand Pell grants and cut student loan costs.

ENSURE DIGNIFIED RETIREMENT Prevent the privatization of Social Security; expand savings incentives; ensure pension fairness.

REQUIRE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY Restore the budget discipline of the 1990s that helped eliminate deficits and spur record economic growth.

Learn more at www.HouseDemocrats.gov.

Here's more detail from the NY Times:.

Democrats Outline a Platform for the Fall, by Kate Zernike, NY Times: Declaring their party "ready for this election," Democratic leaders in Congress on Friday announced the platform they hope to use to regain the majority in November. Their plan, presented at a news conference, included promises to raise the minimum wage, make college tuition tax deductible, eliminate subsidies for oil and gas companies, negotiate lower drug prices for the prescription plan passed last year, increase stem cell research and restore a pay-as-you-go policy for federal budgets.

They noted that Congress had not increased the minimum wage, now at $5.15, since 1997, a fact that Representative Nancy Pelosi of California ... declared "immoral." Their proposal to raise it to $7.25, they said, would benefit seven million workers. They rejected the argument that such a raise would shrink the economy, noting that jobs increased after the last raise.

The Democratic leaders also pledged a 25 percent reduction in oil use by 2020, largely by developing fuel alternatives in the United States...

Does this platform grab you and scream vote Democrat? It doesn't quite get there for me. For example, the health care proposal does not give the sense that there is a well thought out plan to reign in growing health care costs. The plan appears to be (a) fix prescription drugs and negotiate lower prices, (b) eliminate subsidies, and (c) invest in medical research. That's it. Issues such as health insurance are not even mentioned. I would also make other changes such as taking the price-gouging statement out, but I'm curious to hear how others react to this. Also, these are all economic issues. Should social issues, security, terrorism, etc. be on the list?

Update: Jim Hamilton at econbrowser says:

The Democrats call it a New Direction for America. But to me, it looks like the same old same old. ... Let me focus today just on the Democrats' plan to address our energy challenges...

Umm, so that's it? That's the Democrats' energy plan? Well, I'm all for brevity, but a few more details might be welcome... This surely is no energy plan, but is instead a collection of empty slogans. Once again America's leaders display their complete contempt for the intelligence of American voters.

More at econbrowser...

    Posted by on Saturday, June 17, 2006 at 02:43 AM in Economics, Policy, Politics | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (44)


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