Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Remember the Chrysler Bailout!

Appears to be the battle cry of Michigan's John Dingell as he looks to the Democrat takeover of Congress:

...Dingell has always frustrated many ideologues on the left by his willingness to work with Republicans to protect the hometown industry, Detroit's automakers. He is deeply wary of the zealotry with which Al Gore and others pursue global warming, for example. Yes, he says, global warming would be on the committee's agenda if he is chairman, but the first goal would be "to gather the facts" - even though global warming ideologues consider the debate closed.

But automakers and other old-line manufacturers blame many of their economic woes on the fact that health care costs are soaring. Detroit places the cost at $1,500 a car, roughly double what they pay for steel. Among other things, Dingell favors immediate relief through a "Medicare for All" system - perhaps starting with laid-off auto workers. He says he would also work to replace the Bush drug plan with a direct government benefit.

"One-third of the $2 trillion or so that we are spending is eaten up in management fees and corporate bureaucracy," he claims, and elimination of that would allow even bigger benefits.

Of course, as humorist P.J. O'Rourke once pointed out, if you think health care is expensive now, wait until it's "free." And in even daring to raise the possibility of what Republicans like to term "socialized medicine," Dingell risks reminding Republicans why they should get to the polls. But Dingell makes one thing clear: while there may not be many new ideas on the Democratic side of the aisle, as many Democrats themselves have complained, there are plenty of old -- arguably bad -- ideas awaiting resurrection.

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