Happy News is Here Again
Gimme That Old Clinton Eyewash
By Robert A. Hahn Posted in Liberals — Comments (20) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
It is now generally conceded that President Clinton left no legacy. With the possible exception of welfare reform — helpfully forced upon him by a Republican congress — very little of substance was produced in the eight years of the Clinton Administration.
Who knew? You certainly would never have known that from the press the Clinton Administration received at the time. If you followed the news, President Clinton accomplished something positively wonderful every day. On Monday it was "Clinton to Assure Healthy Babies." Only by plowing through to the fourth boring paragraph would you learn that President Clinton had proposed spending one million dollars over the next ten years on this program. Unless you had some experience with the federal bureaucracy, you might not realize that this sum barely paid the fully-burdened cost of the CPA they'd hire to account for the money. But never mind that; from now on America would have healthy babies. It said so right in the paper. Chalk one up for President Clinton!
On Tuesday, Clinton would give a speech at the NASA headquarters committing this nation to placing a pie in the sky in this decade. Once again, only the fine print would reveal that no serious money was to be spent doing this. The reporters never seemed to care; or perhaps they never bothered themselves with the facts, er, details. Whichever it was, "the news" that day was that President Clinton's science program would place a pie in the sky, just as soon as his two terms were up.
This went on almost every day for eight years. Remember "100,000 cops on the street"? The actual program provided only one-fifth of the sum required to keep 100,000 police on the street. But so what? The Democrats — both elected officials and news reporters — insist to this day that Clinton's "100,000 cops" reduced crime from sea to shining sea. Perhaps it was the two social workers the bill put on the street for every policeman.
I was reminded of all this when I found out that our newly-minted Democratic House Speaker, the lovely and talented Nancy Pelosi, had in her first 100 hours cut the interest rate on student loans in half. It isn't until you read the fine print that you find out this is another Clinton-like "over five years" arrangement in which the rate doesn't actually get cut in half until the year 2011. And get this: At the dawn of 2012, the rate reverts back to where it is now. What's even more amusing is that the Democrats propose to recover the money this costs by increasing fees on the institutions that make the loans. These are all big, rich banks, right? No, the federal student loan programs are administered by non-profits... who will have no choice but to pass the fee increases onto the borrowers. Get it? Interest down, fees up, total loan the same. And headlines all over the country touting this Amazing Democratic Accomplishment.
Most Republicans already know that hardly anyone who makes the minimum wage actually lives in a family with income below the poverty line. According to the BLS, 98.8 percent are part-time workers, many of those teenagers on the job for the first time. But that doesn't stop the Democrats — both elected officials and news reporters — from crowing that the Democrats have given The Poor their first raise in lo these twelve long years. Yay Nancy Pelosi!
It's all eyewash. But that doesn't mean people aren't fooled. One of the fools is right here, telling anyone who will listen that the Democrats "helped poor people, sick people, old people, students and national security, while getting back some of the taxpayer cash frittered away by the loose-handed oil boys in Washington." Next thing you know, the homeless will vanish from our streets. Or at least from the news.
We might expect such noise from someone like William Rivers Pitt, who after all spent most of 2004 wobbling around the Kucinich orbit. But it turns out he's no less mainstream than Thomas B. Edsall, the Columbia journalism professor and New York Times columnist. He's wearing the same blinders. Or, he hopes you are.
Happy days are here again. The journalists don't sneer again. Let us hear their song of cheer again, Clinton News is here again.