pageok
pageok
pageok
Daschle's Out:

I was surprised to wake up this morning and find out that (a) Tom Daschle had withdrawn his candidacy to be Sec'y of HHS, and (b) the story was reported in the Washington Post but not yet up here on the VC!! In any event, he is gone -- and I think Obama made the right call jettisoning his candidacy ("Did I screw up in this situation? Absolutely" he told Brian Williams of NBC yesterday). It wasn't just the taxes -- it was the fact that Daschle, who moved into an insanely high-paying lobbying job right out of the Senate, was just the sort of guy Obama promised to rid us of, and I'm not at all sorry to see him disappear from the scene. DGP

alkali (mail):
It wasn't just the taxes -- it was the fact that Daschle, who moved into an insanely high-paying lobbying job right out of the Senate, was just the sort of guy Obama promised to rid us of, and I'm not at all sorry to see him disappear from the scene.

I agree, but would put it a bit differently:

The tax issue really shouldn't have been such a problem: it looks like a mistake, and for the reasons stated in EV's recent post, we should be willing to let that kind of thing go.

The fact that Daschle was probably the most important lobbyist in the area that he was going to be put in charge of, on the other hand, should have been a red hot issue. It may or may not have been disqualifying -- sometimes such people are needed in government -- but it should have raised a ton of questions. But we never got to the point of asking those questions.
2.4.2009 8:43am
Der Hahn (mail):
...it was the fact that Daschle, who moved into an insanely high-paying lobbying job right out of the Senate, was just the sort of guy Obama promised to rid us of...

If Obama promised to keep high-powered lobbyists like Daschle out of government, why does he keep tapping them for posts in his administration?
2.4.2009 8:48am
Sarcastro (www):
Washington is FULL of experts who aren't lobbyists! They're just hiding!
2.4.2009 8:53am
Der Hahn (mail):
I see you beat me to it, alkali, though I disagree with you about the tax issue. At his level of income, Daschle almost certainly has professionals doing his taxes. Reportable income that you don't receive in a paycheck isn't that unusual. I find it hard to believe that Daschle was never asked about it, or that he was asked and just kept forgetting.
2.4.2009 8:56am
Snaphappy:
How exactly is a job that doesn't involve lobbying become "an insanely high-paying lobbying job"? I agree it was very high-paying, though not insanely so. You have to work on wall street for that, or perhaps be a professional athlete.
2.4.2009 9:00am
JB:
The Daschle case involves six figures. That makes it vastly different from the Killefer case (wherein a procedure routine in some parts of the country is blown up into a disaster by people from parts of the country where it is not routine) and even the Geithner case (1 less figure, less time, and a simpler explanation for how it got away).

We have to draw the line somewhere was to what amounts of money and what parts of the tax code public figures are expected to pay attention to. I am 100% comfortable with this amount of money being well over that line.
2.4.2009 9:01am
smrad8 (mail):
This is a disappointing result - Daschle is a legitimate expert in the field of health care reform, has the relationships with his former colleagues to get something done, and seems less doctrinaire and dogmatic than others on the left in this area. I thought it was a smart pick by Obama before the tax issue came out and still wish Daschle would have gotten the job.

Then again, it's curious how rich, powerful people always seem to end up paying less in taxes than they should. Finding someone who isn't a tax cheat in Washington shouldn't be as difficult as finding an expert who isn't a lobbyist.
2.4.2009 9:01am
Hannibal Lector:
Daschle was thrown from the troika to distract the wolves from the meat that will get away. A key Pentagon appointee was/is/will be a Raytheon lobbyist, and there are probably hundreds (if not thousands) of low level political appointees in this administration who will have obtained at least some of their necessary experience, knowledge,and skills while working for politically active special interest groups.

This is not to condemn the Obama administration but rather to point out the earlier hypocrisy of the Obama campaign and its media coverage. Obama promised the impossible. The media gave him swooning coverage while ignoring the pervasive and massive hypocrisy.

Another example was the media's refusal to acknowledge that Obama became president on the basis of a cynically manipulative lie that he would forego private financing of his campaignm if his opponent did. Once McCain was locked into public financing, Obama reneged on his offer, giving Obama an over four-to-one campaign financing advantage. There was zero media discussion of this. (By the way, I greatly enjoyed seeing McCain hoist by his own petard.)
2.4.2009 9:07am
Houston Lawyer:
Yes, I don't know how the country has gotten along without Daschle in charge of something big for a number of years. If any one of the posters to this site commited that type of tax "mistake", the IRS would be garnishing his wages. For those who don't know, when the IRS garnishes your wages, they take everything in excess of the minimum wage.

Wesley Snipes was far more honest in his nonpayment of taxes. When are any of these guys going to get prosecuted as if they were citizens and not a member of the permanent ruling class?
2.4.2009 9:15am
taney71:
Of course Daschle was lobbying. Anyone in DC can tell you that what Daschle did was lobbying in everything but name only. He did an excellent job of finding lope holes in the law so he didn't have to register as a lobbyists so as to remain "pure" for future government work.

I am guessing that more politicians who leave public life but want to return after a few years will follow Daschle's "how to circumvent the system" model.
2.4.2009 9:24am
TruePath (mail) (www):
Der Hahn:

Let me ask you this. Suppose you just spent years serving your constituents in the senate. Would you accept the lucrative job offer advising a drug/insurance company on the best way to pitch their view to congress? I mean you aren't going to do anything sleazy, just like a good attorney you are simply going to help your client make the best case for the positions they honestly, but biasedly, believe in.

I know I would take the job and I'm not sure I know anyone who wouldn't. It doesn't seem immoral to me. Besides, until we are willing to give politicians payments and retirement packages similar to the huge offers made by the private sector it seems pretty unfair not to let them use the knowledge and skills they've gained during their public service to make some money.

So you would expect the people with the most political experience and knowledge in the area to either be busy in their congressional roles or to have worked in something resembling lobbying.

------

More broadly I think lobbying gets far too bad of a rap. In particular I suspect the benefits of lobbying come not from tit for tat type favors but the advantages of having your concerns presented sympathetically to the legislators and the association of your company with people they know and respect. But it's not bad for legislators to have positions and views presented in a sympathetic fashion to them the problem with lobbying is the net bias it introduces in favor of the interests of wealthy corporations and individuals.


No matter what you do some groups will have greater access to our legislators. I'd prefer this access was honestly purchased rather than the result of knowing the right people or going to the right parties. But at least lobbying occurs on the record and is accessible to anyone with the cash. Google can have it's IPO and have lobbyists in washington the next day. If you managed to abolish lobbying powerful companies would somehow figure out how to have privleged access even if it's something subtle like happening to hire relatives of legislators and treating them well and there is no guarantee this new system will be easy for upstarts and unconnected people to access.
2.4.2009 9:37am
resh (mail):
I particularly enjoy the road to Damascus moments that befall these guardian angels once they're nominated for some lofty post. They mirror the contrite convict who so readily discovers the glories of salvation only after he gets hit with a 20 year-to-life stretch in Sing-Sing.

At some point, even the Gods must cringe at the duplicity.
2.4.2009 9:44am
Terrivus:
Obama made the right call jettisoning his candidacy

Huh? One day earlier, Obama had refused to withdraw the nomination and gave Daschle his full support. Daschle withdrew on his own volition. Had Obama asked him to withdraw, he should get some credit; but he stuck by the guy even after it was revealed he had tax problems and was essentially a high-paid lobbyist (if not in title). That's inconsistent with his entire message and stated philosophy. That was no "right call."
2.4.2009 9:59am
Strict:

I agree it was very high-paying, though not insanely so.


I thought Intermedia was paying him $1M per year and the law firm was paying him $2M per year...

For someone who's just providing a consulting service [mostly giving advice on how to get favors from the government], and not a business owner, that's a pretty insane salary by most people's standards. Maybe not for corrupt politicians who are used to having their hands in the honey pot...
2.4.2009 10:02am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
TruePath, that's an excellent criticism of President Obama's demagoguery on lobbyists... and that of Senator Daschle himself (have you seen his old "I drive this beat-up ol' Buick" campaign ad?). What ticks me off is not that Daschle became a lobbyist (as you say, many fine legislators end their careers this way), but that President Obama has (and continues) to attack President Bush for hiring lobbyists (and the left has always attacked V-P Chaney for his ties to Halliburton), but in reality is doing exactly the same things himself.

Certainly this is not an uncommon Washington phenomenon. Hiring lobbyists is something both parties scream about when the other side does it, but are perfectly happy to do themselves. Far from bringing about a new era, President Obama is practicing very old-school politics... And again, that would be fine with me if he would be a bit more honest about it, a bit less self-righteous.

As for the tax amount, Daschle's was HUGE. This is not an innocent screw-up. "I thought it was just a gift from my wealthy friend?" That's the Ted Stevens defense. It didn't work for Ted, it shouldn't work for Daschle. And the rich friend should be in trouble too; his corporation should have filed a 1099 on the value of the car and driver provided to Daschle. Geithner's problem was minuscule by comparison. Daschle's screw-up is close to Tax 101.
2.4.2009 10:06am
mls (www):
I agree that the focus should be on Daschle's lobbying, rather than the tax issues, which strike me as being more explicable than Geithner's were.

Obama's Executive Order virtually bars registered lobbyists from serving in the administration (unless, like the Deputy Sec Def, they get a waiver). Daschle was the co-head of one of the major lobbying practices in DC, yet he never registered as a lobbyist. He explained to NPR in 2005 that his understanding with Alston &Bird was that he would not be "lobbying" but instead providing "strategic advice" (NPR titled the interview "Tom Daschle on his new job as a lobbyist," which shows how convincing this was). If the administration is going to hire people like Daschle on the pretense that they are not lobbyists, then what it is really doing is encouraging them to either ignore or circumvent the registration requirements of the Lobbying Disclosure Act.
2.4.2009 10:09am
glangston (mail):
For me it was the red glasses. I was thinking of Garrison Keillor and Sally Jesse Raphael.
2.4.2009 10:37am
David M. Nieporent (www):
As for the tax amount, Daschle's was HUGE. This is not an innocent screw-up.
I agree. Nor is this is a de minimis violation. He didn't accept a single free plane flight and forget to report it or the like; at the amounts we're talking about, it must have been full time use of a limo for personal use. For years. He just thought he could get away with it.

And then there's his impermissible charitable deduction; had an ordinary citizen made the "mistake" he did, I could believe it was innocent, but I can't believe that Daschle doesn't know that you have to donate to a tax deductible organization, not an individual, to claim a deduction. I certainly knew that, and I haven't spend decades in Washington writing tax policy.
2.4.2009 10:47am
MarkField (mail):
Let me take this opportunity to agree with both mls (second paragraph) and DMN.
2.4.2009 11:00am
Smallholder (mail) (www):
Did Obama learn nothing from the last eight years? The president should never, ever, ever, admit making a mistake.

Who does he think he is, Truman?
2.4.2009 11:02am
Andy Freeman (mail):
> Besides, until we are willing to give politicians payments and retirement packages similar to the huge offers made by the private sector it seems pretty unfair not to let them use the knowledge and skills they've gained during their public service to make some money.

Why?

In fact, we criminalize "insider trading" in the private sector.

I do like the assumption that pols would have been very successful in the private sector "but for" the time they spent "serving" the public.

They made a choice. Is it too much to expect that they pay the costs as well as receive the benefits?
2.4.2009 11:08am
wfjag:

Did Obama learn nothing from the last eight years? The president should never, ever, ever, admit making a mistake.

What do you suggest he should have said to Chris Wallace, Anderson Cooper, et al? How about "I support Tom Daschle 1000 percent"? (Or, maybe he should have said that yesterday morning. Then we'd all have expected Daschle withdrawing his name.)
2.4.2009 11:11am
A Law Dawg:
"I support Tom Daschle 1000 percent"?


"I think Tom Daschle's done a heckuva job paying his taxes."
2.4.2009 11:12am
Snaphappy:
Trading on insider information is equivalent to throwing a sporting event - it's unfair. That's a far cry from spending your career learning a process and then teaching others what you have learned about the process (when you unwillingly lose your job, incidentally).
2.4.2009 11:28am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Trading on insider information is equivalent to throwing a sporting event - it's unfair.
I don't see how it's "unfair." To whom is it unfair?

Throwing a sporting event is "unfair" in that it's fraud: you're telling customers that you're selling one thing but you're actually selling something else. (Note, therefore, that it isn't "unfair" for pro wrestling to be fixed, since nobody is deceived.)
2.4.2009 11:36am
U.Va. Grad:
I don't see how it's "unfair." To whom is it unfair?

Isn't the whole point of insider trading laws to punish insiders for breaching a fiduciary duty to the shareholders? I mean, I suppose if breach of fiduciary duty isn't unfair to anyone, then insider trading isn't unfair.

(That said, I have issues with the notion of imputed fiduciary duties in some circumstances.)
2.4.2009 12:07pm
Pete Freans (mail):
surprised...the story was reported in the Washington Post but not yet up here on the VC!!

Actually that didn't surprise me because VC contributors are astute enough to avoid posting redundancies...
2.4.2009 12:09pm
PLR:
Geithner's problem was minuscule by comparison. Daschle's screw-up is close to Tax 101.

I completely agree. Also Geithner's primary unabsolved sin was not paying taxes for return years for which the statute of limitations had passed. Nobody in his right mind pays those (absent an attractive job offer that requires Senate approval).
2.4.2009 12:18pm
Dan Weber (www):
This is a disappointing result - Daschle is a legitimate expert in the field of health care reform, has the relationships with his former colleagues to get something done, and seems less doctrinaire and dogmatic than others on the left in this area.
Amen. I think many Republicans are going to be wishing they had Daschle back when they see what his replacement -- who is almost assuredly going to be more liberal -- is in power.

Hell, Daschle supported tort reform.
2.4.2009 12:30pm
Sarcastro (www):
Dan Weber. My theory: Stalin. Population control.
2.4.2009 12:35pm
krs:
It wasn't just the taxes -- it was the fact that Daschle, who moved into an insanely high-paying lobbying job right out of the Senate, was just the sort of guy Obama promised to rid us of, and I'm not at all sorry to see him disappear from the scene.

Agreed. Obama's handling this well.
2.4.2009 12:45pm
neurodoc:
PLR: I completely agree. Also Geithner's primary unabsolved sin was not paying taxes for return years for which the statute of limitations had passed. Nobody in his right mind pays those (absent an attractive job offer that requires Senate approval).
Serious or facetious? His employer, the IMF, made it abundantly clear that he was personally responsible for those taxes, but somehow this sophisticated individual failed to get the message. And didn't he also take a bogus deduction for his kid's summer camp, something that wasn't even a colorable claim? Because his underpayment went undetected initially and only caught a few years later, it was quite acceptable for this future Secretary of the Treasury, overseer of the IRS, to pass on paying the full amount of the overpayment along with all interest and penalties? I can rationalize Daschle tax issue (not the lobbying ones) much more easily than I could Geitherner's.
2.4.2009 12:47pm
ArthurKirkland:
President Obama should have resisted the impulse to nominate former Sen. Daschle. The sums Sen. Daschle chased and the manner in which he arranged them are likely to warp judgments, conduct and perspective.

Sen. Daschle might have been a fine Secretary, but I suspect he will serve his country at least as well if he provides an instructive example -- to those who might aspire to such nominations -- of the course not to follow.
2.4.2009 12:53pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I'm glad to see that Tom "tax-cheats cheat us all" Daschle was forced to withdraw his acceptance of Obama's nomination -- although it would have been more satisfying if the Senate had rejected his nomination. I think the larger problem here though is that we've gotten away from the ideal of a citizen-legislator who serves in office for a couple of terms than returns back to the private sector in favor of careerists who don't really do anything their entire lives but politics.

Oh and as far as Daschle and health care reform, his primary contribution would have been his contacts with his former colleagues in the Senate and helping the administration figure out which interest groups need to be placated and how in order to get legislation through Congress. It's possible he might still have a role behind the scenes but now that his ethical problems have been publicly exposed, it makes any public involvement or revealed involvement in the future much more radioactive.
2.4.2009 1:02pm
PLR:
Serious or facetious?

Serious. Taxpayers should not be paying taxes for years outside of the statute of limitations, because they have lost the ability to make refund claims for potential overpayments of tax.

I was talking about Geithner's "unabsolved" sin. He had already paid the back taxes for the open tax years, and the IRS waived both interest and penalties.
2.4.2009 1:07pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

This is a disappointing result - Daschle is a legitimate expert in the field of health care reform, has the relationships with his former colleagues to get something done, and seems less doctrinaire and dogmatic than others on the left in this area.


I can agree that he might have had the "relationships with his former colleagues to get something done" which explains why he was ever brought on board in the first place but not the other two. I haven't see much evidence of any expertise on the issue of health care reform outside of perhaps knowing which palms need to be greased. His book on health care reform that received a lot of accolades seems to largely be the product of his two co-authors or "narrators" -- one of whom is actually an expert on the issue of health care reform. As far as whether he's "doctrinaire and dogmatic," he got thrown out by the people of his own State in 2002 when he was the Senator Majority Leader in large part because of his hyper-partisanship. Or maybe it was because they were tired of his passive-aggressive "I'm troubled" every time he didn't get his way.
2.4.2009 1:26pm
RomeoW (mail):
Get rid of silly regulations and you get rid of lobbyists (spare us the 'we'll all die from evil company evilness if we don't regulate them' line). Daschle spent his career creating regulations. The only reason folks had him on the payroll was fear that he would have some power again in the future so they were simply paying him off for potential future benefits. Obama's claims he will decrease the roll of lobbyists while at the same time he says he will increase regulations. For a supposedly smart guy he makes no sense, it's like saying we will decrease the roll of accountants by making the tax code more complex. It amazes me that folks are still buying the juvenile change mantra.
2.4.2009 1:34pm
Sarcastro (www):

Get rid of silly regulations and you get rid of lobbyists

And people who like penut butter! It's a win-win!
2.4.2009 2:15pm
mooglar (mail) (www):
These events are disappointing. I feel like I can almost see the "West Wing" discussions behind all these mistakes, but I did expect Obama to be more mindful that there's a reason things are done the way they are, and so there's a price to be paid in changing them. If you choose to disqualify lobbyists from your administration, you have to know you are going to disqualify some very qualified candidates you would have liked to have serve. Having to leave them out is the price you pay for changing the system.

On NPR and some other places yesterday I heard people saying something to the effect of, "But you don't want to disqualify the right person just because he or she happened to be a lobbyist." But that's wrong. You have to disqualify the right person if he or she is a lobbyist, if you want to set precedent that lobbyists won't be able to serve, because otherwise the people who have the skills and knowledge administrations want won't be deterred from becoming lobbyists. They'll know that they can become lobbyists and they'll just get a waiver when it comes time because they have what the administration will want.

Right now, the way the administration is handling the issue, it isn't really going to change anything. I give Obama credit for trying, but the way he is doing it won't ultimately affect Washington culture or lobbying at all.

I also give Obama credit, unlike some earlier commenters, for admitting he was wrong. Conservatives may note that a lot of the the time it wasn't the mistakes Bush made that angered liberals so much, but refusal to admit them or accept responsibility for them. So, even though it's a Democratic President admitting mistakes he's made, I'm still glad to see the President be willing to take the blame when the administration screws up. I think that's a good thing.
2.4.2009 2:32pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

I'm still glad to see the President be willing to take the blame when the administration screws up.


Looks like you'll going to be glad alot in the next four years.
2.4.2009 2:40pm
anomdebus (mail):
I somewhat agree with Terrivus. I dislike the automatic assumption upon withdrawals/resignations that their ultimate boss must have made it happen and any excuses must therefore have been convenient fiction.

It is true that they serve at the pleasure of the president. So you could make the assumption that anyone staying has the tacit support of the president. But to say that people will only leave a position when it is desired by the president implicitly suggests a kind of slavery. (as in a situation where a candidate truly is tired of the position, but if the president still wants them to stay and according to this theory must instantiate the process, they cannot leave)

Also if this were true, I would have to come to the conclusion that recent presidents are explicitly sexist since recent evidence shows that female candidates have been withdrawing their nominations with much less cause than the men. If it were not necessarily true, you might suggest that (at least according to pop psych) women appreciate consensus more than men and men are more likely to accept maverick status to get the most power they can (or some other theory that does not depend merely on the will of the president). Therefore, the women might withdraw if it looks like the consensus is broken, while men are more likely to try to push past that inconvenience.
2.4.2009 2:53pm
anomdebus (mail):
Note that it is easier to admit you were wrong when you expect your audience (the press in this case) will be sympathetic versus beating you over the head with your own words.

(note I worded it such that it can be true even if the reality is not so. it is what is expected)
2.4.2009 3:12pm
Sagar:
Sarcastro,

Romeo said, "get rid of silly regulations and you get rid of lobbyists" - implying some sort of cause and effect (silly regs lead to an apparent increase in lobbying, or something along the lines)

do you disagree?

or was there something else to the "... and people who like peanut butter ..."
2.4.2009 3:17pm
Fury:
alkali:

"The tax issue really shouldn't have been such a problem: it looks like a mistake, and for the reasons stated in EV's recent post, we should be willing to let that kind of thing go."

Taxes are one of those issues that resonates with a large segment of American society. Folks are going to look down upon former lawmakers who passed tax code legislation, and are now seen as gaming the system. I'm glad Senator Daschle resigned specifically because of his tax problems.

And it's not just an issue of national officials. I am aware locally of a school board member that declared bankruptcy and a federal tax lien. Could he be removed for declaring bankruptcy? No. But he was told in no uncertain terms that if he ran for re-election that year, his bankruptcy and lien issues would become very prominent issues. He ended up resigning.
2.4.2009 3:26pm
LM (mail):
Tax return screw-ups can be innocent or intentional. Lobbyists can be ethical or corrupt. Unfortunately, the political climate we live in doesn't allow for such nuance. These things are predictably interpreted as proxies for character flaws, so competent vetting should have ferreted them out (i.e., the tax stuff -- Daschle wasn't a lobbyist). That at least Daschle's and Geithner's tax issues either escaped notice or weren't considered deal-breakers was a mistake, and I'm glad Obama took responsibility.

That said, I don't want to dampen anyone's ODS, so let me declare that Obama is still my personal, infallible Messiah, and my faith is unshaken that he could kick God's ass with one hand tied behind his back while simultaneously beating Kobe and LeBron at full court one on two. In street shoes.
2.4.2009 4:10pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
LM,

No, of course Daschle wasn't a lobbyist. He was an "advisor" and "consultant." It's evidently not a bad line of work. It's not everyone who, on realizing he owed the IRS $140K, could just cut a check.
2.4.2009 5:07pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I think that part of the problem with lobbying and lobbyists in government is that you ultimately get a revolving door, where people jump back and forth between government and business, with the businesses paying for the access and knowledge developed while in the government. Then, the next time around, the lobbyist now government employee gives preferential treatment to his former clients.

You may be able to say, that is just the way it is now. But that doesn't answer whether it should be. Rather, the government should be by the people, of the people, and for the people being governed, and not the businesses that can afford to buy the politician/lobbyists when they are rotating through their lobbying phase.

I don't like it not just because it appears corrupt, but because it is corrupt. It used to be that a billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you were talking real money. Now, we are talking a trillion dollar "stimulus" package, and the opportunities to make millions out of it for those involved, whether in or out of government, are legion.
2.4.2009 5:17pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I did find it interesting that Daschle was able to work as a lobbyist without running afoul of lobbying restrictions, and do so for a law firm, without running afoul of ethics issues, as he apparently is not a licensed attorney. Both are troubling.
2.4.2009 5:19pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Stumbling on Their Sense of Entitlement

Tom Daschle's problem wasn't that he didn't pay his taxes. It was that he -- along with those who vetted his nomination as health and human services secretary and many of his colleagues in the Senate -- found it perfectly ordinary and acceptable that he would be able to cash in on his time in the Senate by earning more than $5 million over two years as a law-firm rainmaker, equity fundraiser, corporate director and luncheon speaker, all the while being driven around town in a chauffeured town car. Not exactly Cincinnatus returning to the plow.

For the American public, Daschle became the latest symbol of everything that is wrong with Washington -- the influence-peddling and corner-cutting and sacrifice of the public good to private interest. Now that this system has let them down, and left them poorer and anxious about the future, people are angry about it and no longer willing to accept the corruption of the public process and the whole notion of public service.
2.4.2009 5:34pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I did find it interesting that Daschle was able to work as a lobbyist without running afoul of lobbying restrictions, and do so for a law firm, without running afoul of ethics issues, as he apparently is not a licensed attorney. Both are troubling.
It's a unique DC thing. (Seriously, not snark.) Nowhere else in the U.S. (that I'm aware of) can non-lawyers have that kind of role in a law firm.
2.4.2009 5:50pm
Real American (mail):
Daschle is a legitimate expert in the field of health care reform


He's a politician. He has no background in health care other than a stint on a nutrition committee and after leaving the Senate the Center for American Liberals Progress gave him a fellowship, where he put his name on a book pushing socialized medicine. He was then a "policy specialist" for a lobbying firm that represented companies and associations that were paying to play politics with the Democrat Congress. He's corrupt. Not an expert.

Plus, socialized medicine is not reform. It is an outdated theory that has failed everywhere it has been tried and the more it creeps into our own health care system, the worse off we all are. I can't believe anyone who advocates this system has a clue about how it actually will be run by the government. Of course, the people who advocate it the most, like Tom Daschle, figure that they will be the ones making the decisions. A power grab. That's all it is.
2.4.2009 6:45pm
LN (mail):
1. We've already implemented huge amounts of socialized medical insurance. See Medicare.

2. Compared to other countries, the USA does not do very well on most measures of healthcare efficiency.

These are basic facts. I'm not saying you shouldn't be libertarian or vote Republican or whatever, but it's sad when ideology prevents people from seeing really basic facts.
2.4.2009 8:26pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Note that it is easier to admit you were wrong when you expect your audience (the press in this case) will be sympathetic versus beating you over the head with your own words."

Which would lead one to think that Bush had numerous opportunities to admit he was wrong on at least a few things he did during his 8 years. but it never seemed to have occured to him....

The reason I was against Daschle is because when he was Senate minority leader, he was wholly ineffective. totally and completely. He always seemed so dumbfounded as to how to respond to any Republican move. I was so glad when he was defeated. If he was so bad back then, what makes people think he's suddenly going to be good on any issue in Washington?

Put someone in charge who can handle the heat.
2.4.2009 9:09pm
Hoosier:
The tax issue was a cover-story. The real reason he went down was those dumb-ass red eyeglasses.
2.5.2009 1:10am
Snaphappy:
. . .a revolving door, . . . that is just the way it is . . . the government should be by the people, of the people, and for the people . . . a billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you were talking real money . . . are legion.

What, did you just by a new cliche book?
2.5.2009 8:41am
Dan Weber (www):
Plus, socialized medicine is not reform

Daschle isn't just a "let's put everyone on Medicare" guy.

I understand conservatives' fear of what a liberal could do in reforming health care, but if you actually look at Daschle's policies, you'll see he's not just in favor of putting the entire system under Medicare.

Daschle back in January 2008

He's got medical malpractice and health vouchers (that is, for private insurance) on there.

It is easier to rail against what you imagine he must say rather than what he actually says, though.
2.5.2009 12:03pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Plus, socialized medicine is not reform


Daschle isn't just a "let's put everyone on Medicare" guy.


Not right away. The "Medicare for all" and "single payer" advocates differ from Daschle-Obama in terms of wanting it all right away rather than moving incrementally.

I attended a CLE last week which featured Maxwell Gregg Bloche one of Obama's health care "reform" advisors who talked about the very approach that Obama and Daschle have advocated. Namely that (a) people would be allowed to "keep" their private health insurance but (b) the federal government would establish mandates over what their policies must cover and how much they could be charged (essentially rewriting their policies) and (c) they would change the ERISA statute which prevents States from doing the same to the 70 plus percent of us who get our health insurance from self-funded policies through our employers. So yes essentially we would have "socialized medicine" although it would be private in name only*.

Moreover when asked about how to control costs, Bloche said that you either try to control it via price or by supply and used the analogy that no one is upset that they don't get treated by Dr. McCoy on Star Trek because that level of care doesn't exist yet. He advocated changing incentives to slow down development of new health care technology (one of the primary cost drivers) in order to control what health care would be available in the future as there would be less outcry if people don't get drugs or devices if they aren't developed even though it would reduce the future quality of care available. The new "federal reserve" style board in charge of deciding which things the government (and private insurers) should reimburse for would be one means of exercising that control.

So yes, with the creation of a new federal bureaucracy to direct what medical technology gets developed and is reimbursed, a proposal to rewrite private health insurance at the federal and State levels to match the new public plan, and a combination of mandates and taxes that force more people into the public plan, both Obama and Daschle are in fact calling for socialized medicine.

* Not including the people who would be covered under the expansion of SCHIPS and Medicaid and Obama's proposed "pay or play" mandate which along with the benefit mandates would price even more people out of the private market and force them into the public plan.
2.5.2009 4:05pm
Hoosier:
I understand conservatives' fear of what a liberal could do in reforming health care

Look what they've done to college costs.

I'm at a loss here. I'm conservative in most ways, but in the European CD way. I can't imagine having no insurance, and am sure that the gov must take this on in some way. But working in the university industry has left me with no confidence that large amounts of tax payer money can be handed out without massive increases in costs.

Someone please solve this for me.
2.5.2009 4:51pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier,

But working in the university industry has left me with no confidence that large amounts of tax payer money can be handed out without massive increases in costs.

Your skepticism is well-founded. But considering that Medicaire is more cost efficient than privately insured health care, in this case it may be misplaced.
2.5.2009 11:13pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Your skepticism is well-founded. But considering that Medicaire is more cost efficient than privately insured health care, in this case it may be misplaced.


Except that Medicare really isn't much more cost efficient than private insurance. There was a meme a few years ago touted by the "Medicare for all" proponents about how Medicare supposedly had lower administrative costs than private insurance until it was pointed out that (a) most of Medicare's administrative costs are actually hidden in other parts of the federal budget (e.g. the IRS collects the Medicare payroll tax but the amount it spends performing that isn't counted as part of Medicare's overhead because it's in the Department of the Treasury but an insurance company's accounts receivable department is counted as part of its administrative overhead) and (b) the lower costs were calculated based on how much it cost to process a claim as a percentage of the amount of the claim and Medicare's claim amounts are generally higher which isn't a sign of greater efficiency but rather than when you divide a number by a larger number you get a smaller percentage than if you divide it by a smaller number.
2.6.2009 11:20am
LM (mail):
Thorley,

The operative word in your comment is "much." As in, "Medicare really isn't much more cost efficient than private insurance." Since Hoosier's concern wasn't that Medicaire wouldn't be sufficiently more cost efficient, but that it would be less cost efficient, there's good evidence his concern is misplaced.
2.6.2009 1:13pm

Post as: [Register] [Log In]

Account:
Password:
Remember info?

If you have a comment about spelling, typos, or format errors, please e-mail the poster directly rather than posting a comment.

Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling). We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we'd rather you went elsewhere. We're happy to see a wide range of viewpoints, but we want all of them to be expressed as politely as possible.

We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.

And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.