It is time for the administration to heed Occam's Razor and form new, simpler, more direct policies.
The efforts at bipartisanship in legislating health care reform led to a hopeless tangle of sops to competing interests. It should be abandoned.
Abiding by the principle that the simplest solution or strategy is usually the best, here are some ways for the Democrats in Congress and the executive branch to show some real leadership:
1. Millions of jobless Americans are in worse shape financially than Wall Street was when big government made the big bail-out. Solution: Commit just as much money as was given to the banks to creating a federal job bank. Whatever jobs need to be done that can be done through public works should be done, by putting jobless Americans on the federal payroll to do them. Find something in the public good to employ every jobless American. Don't fret the cost. As a number of top economists outside the administration have told us, this is no time to worry about federal debt. It is time to worry about citizen debt, citizen hunger, citizen discontent.
2. Get serious about ending war, closing military bases abroad and bringing troops home. The faster that can be made to happen, the faster the money wasted on killing abroad can be invested in saving and improving lives at home.
3. Craft a simple piece of legislation that applies Medicare to everyone. No strings. Mandate that every American of any age shall be covered by exactly the same program that now covers Americans 65 and over. Let the greedy damned insurance companies sell "gap" insurance as they do now -- but make them do it on a federally controlled exchange, with simple standards for comparison of costs and benefits.
4. One by one, regulate those aspects of private enterprise in which the state has a controlling interest under the constitution. Make the legislation simple and without loopholes. Start with carbon emissions; they make people sick. All cap, no trade.
5. Defeat the Supreme Court's edict that corporations are more important than people by legislating public funding of all federal elections. This can be financed simply: a small, mandatory surcharge on individual tax returns, and a substantial tax on the advertising budgets of corporations.
6. Put a word limit -- say 750 words -- on every new piece of legislation offered. End government by windbags. Keep it simple.
7. Start today, and define the goals in the State of the Union Address. Do it now. When the Corporate Congress takes over later this year no actions in the people's best interests will be possible.