Jan 13, 2007

[US] The 100-Hour Race

The Democrats are busy trying to complete their 100-hour agenda this week, and we've seen motion after motion passing through the House with the Republican Minority unable to do much about it. Given this is the first time the Democrats have controlled both houses in more than 120 years, it's natural to expect a bit of over-zealousness in the beginning as they try to fulfill some of their bigger campaign promises from November.

There have been projections that President Bush will finally utilize his veto power more often given the many bills the Democrats are trying to pass that go against many of the Republican party's primary beliefs. This being said, what is up with the rush? Many analysts are thinking that the approach being taken by the Democrats will hardly accomplish anything in the long run apart from some politcal posturing and some media spots here and there. While on paper it seems something is being done in terms of their campaign promises, the methodoly being employed and the nature of the bills themselves hardly address many of the issues in the best possible way.

Let's take Medicare as an example. In theory, forcing the group to negotiate for drug prices should open doors for lower prices for the end users - that's IF they really have some form of leverage to negotiate with. Based on most projections, this particular bill won't really do much and won't result in savings for the affected people in the end. The same goes for the proposal to reduce college loan rates which will only save students less than $50 a year.

It seems unlikely the Democrats are going to make any significant impact on things if this is going to be the signs of things to come. With some luck, they should wake up to the blundering they're committing right now and get down to more serious business in the future. They finally earned the seats they wanted - it appears the larger challenge now is how they're going to use that power effectively. So far, we're definitely not seeing that.

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