Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Health Care

So the Senate will get their Spendorama debated. It really says something about the political climate that this monstrosity wasn't just laughed out of committee. Imagine if the Republicans tried to pass off as fiscally responsible a bill in which the revenue kicks in five years ahead of the spending, justifying it by looking at a 10-year budget number that (a) depends on factors that everyone pretty much knows are not true, (b) includes ten years of revenue but only five years of spending and, to top it off, (c) still costs over $800 billion? Not to mention that, beyond that budget-busting figure, another quarter-trillion dollars of spending was pushed into a separate bill to make this one look smaller. And not to mention that the $800 billion is a net figure: gross spending is, of course, much higher. Gross spending is what we should really care about: we're paying for it eventually regardless.

The good news is that Democrats are worried. Just getting the bill to floor debate cost them several Senatorial arms twisted and $100 million of largesse to Louisiana. How much harder will it be to vote for cloture? Those Democrats whose arms are in slings this week are going to need more of that treatment, especially those, like Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, who are up for re-election in 2010. I don't think it's a stretch to say that a vote for this bill ends her Senate career. Is she willing to take that hit? Daily Kos seems to think she can plausibly vote for cloture and then against the bill. I'm not so sure that being the 60th vote for cloture gives her the coverage she needs.

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