Looks like it's a bad idea to play "Let's Make a Deal" with Mitt Romney. The Massachusetts Governor vetoed the employer assessment
yesterday, a move that was expected to happen, but is still deeply
disappointing. What makes it even more distressing is that the employer
assessment -- a charge for medium and large businesses that choose to
not provide insurance coverage to workers -- is that at $295 per
employee, it was rather small, especially in comparison to the $1000
fine for individuals who "choose" to not have insurance, often because
it is not affordable.
At the core of many voters' frustrations with government is the sense
that, too often, politics is for sale. High-priced lobbyists offering
"gifts" to lawmakers swarm state legislatures; companies looking for
public contracts get too cozy with those handing out public money; and
corporate campaign contributions grease the wheels as public policy is
auctioned to the highest corporate bidder.
Every Massachusetts resident will be required to have health
insurance by July 2007 -- with a combination of governments subsidies,
employer assessments and individual fines used to achieve that result
under legislation which was approved by the Massachusetts House and Senate on Tuesday.
In states across the country, the far-right is pushing "TABOR" measures based on Colorado's now infamous spending cap. The Colorado model that capped spending increases at a rate equal to population growth plus inflation and that ratcheted down spending in recession years, is now being largely eschewed by the right following voter rescindment of the awful legislation in Colorado.
The public is fed up. They know that every barrel of oil we import from
the Middle East helps regimes who don't share America's interest. Every
gallon of gas burned on America's roadways contributes to asthma for
children. And every time we import our energy, we're creating jobs
abroad instead of here at home. There are alternatives to America's
current dependence on foreign energy supplies. But don't look to the
federal government to solve them. Their response to America's energy
crisis is to give tax breaks to multinational energy companies raking
in record profits -- a solution that is as short-sighted as it is
Every state and local official should be paying more attention to the
global trade talks at the World Trade Organization, since local power
to regulate services such as health care, mass transit and a range of
other public services are on the chopping block.
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle is hinting interest in signing legislation to deregulate
the rent-to-own industry. The bill passed Wisconsin's conservative
legislature and is now awaiting the signature of Doyle, who as Attorney
General opposed similar bills.
The 2000 election sparked an interest in electoral reform. Paired with
a rising tendency among voters toward self-declared independence from
the two major parties and a new wave of reforms have started growing in
popularity across the country. In statehouses and in voting booths,
reforms are moving forward to give Americans more real options at the