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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Point Counter Point Weekly Addresses

President Obama used this address to talk about the terrorist attack at Fort Hood. He never used the term "terrorist attack". He settled for descriptions like "tragedy". President Obma promised a full and thorough investigation of the events that lead up to the attack.

We can all hope for that. This attack was caused by a serious breach within the military. We can all speculate about what that breach is but better than speculation, we should know the facts, all the facts. The president promised that we would soon get them, and we should all hold him to that promise.

Congressman Mark Kirk, from my parent's district in Illinois, delivered the Republican response. There was little new in his response. Congressman Kirk talked about health care. He said that any health care reform ideas should include three things: 1)lawsuit reform 2)allowing for anyone to buy insurance across state lines and 3)giving the states the opportunity to create innovative ways to reduce health care costs.

There's a few things of note here. First, Frank Luntz has been pounding the point home that no one understands "tort reform". Apparently, Mark Kirk was listening. What others have called "tort reform", Kirk refers to as "lawsuit reform". Words matter as Frank Luntz knows all too well and lawsuit reform is easier to understand than tort reform.

Second, the third reform is in sharp contradiction with the first. One of the main reasons that we don't allow for buying of health insurance across state lines is because each state can regulate health insurance on their own. You can't break those lines and also give states "the tools they need for new and innovative ideas". Those new and innovative ideas include regulations and that is why we can't buy insurance across state lines.

Kirk also attacked Pelosi Care. He attacked it with largely Republican talking points. First, in Illinois, the top rate, with the added taxes of Pelosi Care, will put the tax burden at 4% above that of France. Second, Pelosi Care will add ten new taxes. It will taxes individuals, small businesses, and health care providers. It will cost more than a trillion dollars over the next ten years, and so, it's the text book definition of tax and spend.

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