Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Fisking Amy

Posted by Craig Westover | 12:12 PM |  

Feeling fisky, and along comes this email from Amy Klobuchar. Klobuchar is going to be Drinking Liberally tonight at the 331 Club in NE Minneapolis.
Mark Kennedy voted for millions of dollars in tax breaks for the oil companies -- oil companies making record profits in the hundreds of billions of dollars, while Minnesotans face high gas prices and rising heating costs.
Putting two facts together, even if both are true, does not necessarily establish a connection. In this case, it is purposely misleading. Even the Democrat's (Ted) Kennedy has supported oil depletion allowances. Not since the early deregulation years of the 1970s have oil company profits ever -- even once -- exceeded taxes paid by oil companies. That Minnesotans face high gas prices and rising heating costs has more to do with regulations on building oil refineries, limits on exploration and the pressures of overseas demand created by rising standards of living than on tax breaks. Is there a plan here, somewhere?
Mark Kennedy supported the prescription drug bill that insulates drug companies from competition. A study released last month shows that the failure to negotiate drug prices for Medicare Part D is costing taxpayers $90 billion a year.
I’m not a any kind of a fan of the prescription drug program but letting the government negotiate prices is the worst solution to the problem of drug prices that can be implemented. Drugs are expensive and there are people that cannot afford what they need. But the majority of people can and do find a way. As it did when the government started negotiating vaccine prices, a plan like this would lower profit margins, drive companies out of the business, reduce supplies and research. If the problem is that some people can’t afford drugs, lets address that problem rather than implement a solution that way exceeds the problem and in the end will only make things worse.
It's time to end this culture of corruption -- this culture that rewards the special interests at the expense of hard-working American families. And it's up to us to change Washington.
Not voting the way Klobuchar thinks the vote should go is not corruption. Political spin is fine, but wield it like sword don’t bludgeon me with a club.
It's time to sweep in a culture of change.

We need a serious change of course in Iraq by bringing home a significant number of our troops in 2006 and transitioning to Iraqi responsibility for governance and security.
Too much to cover briefly, but both Democrats and Republicans went into the war with an objective. Is Klobuchar’s view that Bush is not meeting the objective and we need new tactics or is it the objective is too difficult and we need to cut and run? The first is a legitmate differentiation; the second is a cop-out.
We need to tackle corruption and cronyism by cracking down on lobbyist-funded perks and political favors for special interest groups, corporate allies, and campaign contributors.
Fluff. If you want to keep the money out of politics, take the power away from government. If government hasn't anything to sell, no one will be lined up to buy.
We need universal, affordable health care by letting people buy into the same health care plan that members of Congress get.
Universal access, quality, low cost healthcare. Pick any two. Again too much to be brief, but consider: healthcare events can be “predicable and affordable,” “unpredictable but affordable,” “predicable but unaffordable” or “unpredictable and unaffordable.” The first two categories most people can handle, and they buy insurance to cover the third. It’s only the last category, which affects only a small number of people from all economic levels, that is the thorn in our healthcare side. Again, why give us a Canadian-like universal system that is rotten for everyone instead of focusing on the problem pockets?
We need energy independence through homegrown renewable energy, and a gas gouger penalty for oil companies to stop the rip-offs.
At risk of sounding like Gordon Gecko, “gouging is good.” If prices are kept artificially low, the demand is artificially high. Inevitably, that leads to shortages or quotas. Energy independence is not necessarily a good thing if it is so expensive that it significantly reduces economic growth. Neither Klobuchar nor Kennedy score very well on this issue.
And we need to dump the budget deficits by returning to pay as you go budget rules and making sure Congress doesn't get any more pay raises until the budget is balanced.
Forget the fancy talk and feel good legislation. We need significant spending cuts and that means cutting entitlement programs. Politically that’s tough, and we’ve made so many people dependent on government programs that shouldn’t be that it’s socially and economically tough as well. But until we face the fact that chipping around the edges of spending and going to the well time after time taxing the wealthy and expanding the definition of wealthy, isn’t going to work, there is no plan.

Amy, you got to do better.