Ezra Klein: The end of the 'do-something' Congress
Republicans will probably win the House today. They might win the Senate, too. But either way, the brief moment in which Democrats not only controlled Congress, but held enough seats to do big things, is over. And it'll end in defeat.
Actually, scratchthat. It'll end in a few dozen politicians losing their jobs. But if you see the point of politics as actually getting things done, the last two years, for Democrats, have been a stunning, historic success. Whatever else you can say about the 111th Congress, it got things done.
There was health-care reform, of course. The bill is projected to cover 32 million Americans (lifting us above 95 percent insured) while cutting the deficit by about $140 billion in the first 10 years -- and by more after that. It creates competitive insurance markets in every state and ends the days in which insurers could turn you away or jack up your premiums because you have preexisting conditions. It empowers an independent commission to cut Medicare's costs and begins to ratchet back the tax break for employer-sponsored health-care insurance that's been at the root of many of our system's dysfunctions. Mark McClellan, who directed the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services under George W. Bush, says the bill is "an important step" and that the provisions that try to move our fee-for-service system to a pay-for-performance regime "are significant in terms of their potential for reducing spending growth." And then there were the parts that few noticed, like adding nutritional information to menus and drive-through boards at chain restaurants.
There was financial regulation, too. If you were looking for a bill that reformed the financial-services sector, as I was, Dodd-Frank probably didn't go as far as you hoped. But it did what it set out to do, creating a 21st century financial-regulation system that now includes a regulator for the consumer-financial products that filled the bubble, a systemic-risk regulator able to watch the institutions that turned the bubble into a crisis, and an array of new methods and powers that can be used to take down the firms that pose a threat to the system. And there were even some of those industry reforms that people like me wanted, notably the effort to force derivatives out of the darkness and onto exchanges and clearinghouses. <much more at link> Washington Post
He's praising the current Democratic Congress, and simply stating what everyone knows (that the Republicans will take the majority in the House after tonight). How do you get from there to he was hoping we'd lose both houses?
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