When President Barack Obama was pushing his plans for health
carereform last summer and fall, he said change was needed to put the nation's economy on a firmer footing.
But with his new compromise proposal Monday aimed at forcing a congressional vote on the issue, Obama appears to be making a pure political gambit with little explicit reference to the economic struggles still afflicting millions of jobless workers.
... Obama no longer can argue that the health care proposal will create jobs or at least remove an impediment to job creation, some analysts said.
I don't know exactly what I'm supposed to make of this. When was health care reform ever plugged as a job stimulus bill? A respectable job stimulus bill would go into effect immediately. Most of the major provisions from health care reform don't kick for another four years.
Maybe Schoen is trying to say he'd like Obama to drop health care to focus on job growth (even as a jobs bill is working its way through the Hill's digestive tract). Now, it's reasonable to say the president should have passed a larger, or more targeted, stimulus before going on to enact his campaign agenda. It's also reasonable to ask whether a second, distinct jobs bill might pull down unemployment faster. But it is not reasonable to say Obama should have suspended his campaign agenda indefinitely in January 2009 and put a hold on all reforms -- in health care, and financial regulation, and carbon emissions, and immigration -- unless they have an immediate and tangible impact on job creation. Beneath the rubble of the recession is a country with all of its old flaws and imperfections, and they need our attention, too.