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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Politics, mid-afternoon-style.

* What's up with McCain's surrogates today? First they tout a Canadian invention as proof of McCain's legislative accomplishments, and now Carly Fiorina—who, incidentally, ran HP into the ground while she was running things—says she'd put Palin in the White House, but not in charge of a major company. Not to mention Rove going off-script. Who's running things over there?

* Another reason not to watch the polls: young people might actually vote this year.

* But there's at least one reason to watch the polls: graphic proof Palinmania is almost over.

* And people are still talking about McCain's absurd plan to institute a tax on employer health benefits. Here's Bob Herbert in the Times, who goes on to link the McCain plan to this week's banking collapses:

The whole idea of the McCain plan is to get families out of employer-paid health coverage and into the health insurance marketplace, where naked competition is supposed to take care of all ills. (We’re seeing in the Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch fiascos just how well the unfettered marketplace has been working.)

Taxing employer-paid health benefits is the first step in this transition, the equivalent of injecting poison into the system. It’s the beginning of the end.

When younger, healthier workers start seeing additional taxes taken out of their paychecks, some (perhaps many) will opt out of the employer-based plans — either to buy cheaper insurance on their own or to go without coverage.

That will leave employers with a pool of older, less healthy workers to cover. That coverage will necessarily be more expensive, which will encourage more and more employers to give up on the idea of providing coverage at all.

The upshot is that many more Americans — millions more — will find themselves on their own in the bewildering and often treacherous health insurance marketplace. As Senator McCain has said: “I believe the key to real reform is to restore control over our health care system to the patients themselves.”
Obama will clobber him with this in the debates. Look forward to it.