Free Markets, Free People

special interest


Harry Reid’s desperate gambit

As everyone knows, Harry Reid is in the fight of his electoral life in Nevada.  The Republican senate candidate, Sharon Angle, is within the margin of error on most polls looking at the race.  So Harry needs something to attract more votes, obviously.

Hey, when you’re the Senate Majority Leader, you get to set that body’s legislative agenda and decide what bills considered by the Senate will or won’t contain and how they’ll be scheduled on the floor for votes.

So why not use that power to at least attempt some things which, while they may not succeed, will at least give one the “hey I tried, but it was the nasty Republicans, like my opponent who killed it”.

With that in mind, Reid has decided that the DREAM act needs to be a part of the defense authorization bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday he will add the DREAM Act, a controversial immigration measure, to a defense policy bill the Senate will take up next week.

The decision means the defense bill, which often passes with bipartisan support, will be home to two major, thorny political issues – the other being the repeal of the military’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy.

Reid called the DREAM Act "really important" and said it should be passed because it provides a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants who go to college or serve in the military. DREAM is an acronym for Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act.

"I know we can’t do comprehensive immigration reform," Reid said at a news conference. "But those Republicans we had in the last Congress have left us."

This, again, is one of the reasons we have the mess we have now.  This is an obvious and transparent attempt at vote buying.  It is calculated to appeal to a bloc of voters who’ve been dissatisfied with Reid’s performance on their behalf.  It is pure special interest politics that gives an incumbent like Reid an advantage.  And if it goes down to defeat, he can at least point to it and say “I tried”.  If it manages to be passed, he can point to it and take credit. Maybe that will get him just enough votes to slide by.

Pure short-term, electoral politics – a consistent problem with our system. 

And I love how “serving in the military” is the equivalent of “going to college”.  Why, do they have minefields in the college square.  PKM’s in the admin building sweeping the quadrangle?  IEDs in the parking lots?

Yeah, that’s an aside, but you get my drift.  As usual, legislation cobbled together with no real thought except short-term gain and haphazardly thrown into another bill which has absolutely noting to do with immigration.  That’s how you get this morass of bad law we endure that features contradictions and unintended consequences galore.

We all have to hope that Harry Reid becomes a second Tom Daschle – a sitting Senate Majority Leader shown the door by his constituents.  He embodies everything that’s wrong with today’s politicians.  Let Harry enjoy his golden years in forced retirement.

~McQ


“Choice and Competition” – But Not For Education

The White House tell us that the government public option in health care insurance reform will introduce “choice and competition” into the insurance market. But when it comes to education, which already “enjoys” a government monopoly, “choice and competition” are not at all something White House has any desire to introduce.

And, in fact, it gets down right upset if you point that out:

President Obama isn’t taking kindly to a television ad that criticizes his opposition to a popular scholarship program for poor children, and his administration wants the ad pulled.

Former D.C. Council member Kevin Chavous of D.C. Children First said October 16 that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had recently approached him and told him to kill the ad.

The 30-second ad, which has been airing on FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, and News Channel 8 to viewers in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, urges the president to reauthorize the federally-funded D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program that provides vouchers of up to $7,500 for D.C. students to attend private schools.

The ad features Chavous and a young boy–one of 216 students whose scholarships were rescinded by the Department of Education earlier this year when the agency announced no new students would be allowed into the program. The ad also includes an excerpt taken from one of Obama’s campaign statements.

Of course what is being discussed is a voucher program which allows students to have actual “choice” in schools and does introduce competition in a system that could use it badly. And it is a program that is very popular among African-Americans because it allows them to put their children in other schools besides some of the nation’s worst-performing schools.

But:

After embracing the teachers unions’ anti-voucher stance, the president now finds himself in the uncomfortable and awkward position of denying students access to a program that has strong bipartisan, local support, and that multiple studies say is helping poor African-American children succeed.

Little wonder then that the president and powerful allies like Holder–many of whom have benefited from school choice and are currently sending their children to expensive private schools–want the ad to go away.

Of course they want the ad to go away. It exposes the fact that the only choice this ideological administration will make is in favor of the special interest groups that can help it politically, even if it means children are stuck in bad schools. Politics over people.

The same holds true in the health care insurance reform legislation. There is no real “choice and competition” involved. Those are instead words focus groups have approved and Democrats use to pull the wool over the eyes of the gullible. And, in the end, we’ll most likely end up with a government monopoly in the same shape as our education system and “choice and competition” will only be a faint echo of another in a long line of false promises used to gather power to the government to the detriment of our real freedom to choose.

~McQ

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