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Clever Like a ?
Bush's Aides Put Higher Price Tag on Medicare Law:
"The Bush administration said on Thursday that the new Medicare law offering prescription drug benefits and private health plans to the elderly would cost at least $530 billion over 10 years, or one-third more than the price tag used when Congress passed the legislation two months ago."
I'm suspicious. I have a hard time buying that this Whitehouse that seems intent on scripting the political course of events would let this announcement hit the streets at this time without some outcome in mind. I mean this is the same administration that has opposed extending the 9-11 investigation when it asked for more time. For what reason? And this is the same administration that has hid Cheney's Energy Task Force meetings from us as well.
The only other alternative I can fathom is that they plan to use this as part of a larger political narrative. This is an election season and most political campaigns have a story arc. Like a good movie that brings you to tears as the protagonist overcomes great odds to triumph, campaigns want people to hit the polls right when the story hits its climax. Controlling that story can mean the difference between being a four year superman or a has been, also ran.
Political jujitso of the Rovian school usually involves feeding the criticisms and then making a hard right turn leaving your critics looking like fools. Though lately I have to wonder just how adept are Bush's political operatives. The Moon/Mars proposals were nothing short of colossally stupid. The steroids stunt was laughable. And we'll need to take our shoes off to count the proposals that occur some time in the next decade.
So I'm having a bit of a hard time deciding whether what we are seeing is the political meltdown of a administration that is trying to be all things to all people are the beginnings of a classic bait and switch wherein Bush will "prove" his mettle with forthcoming vetos or spending cuts.
At the same time, the officials said that the overall budget deficit for the current fiscal year would exceed $500 billion. The deficit for fiscal 2003 was $375 billion, a record amount.
Even after three years I still have a hard time deciding if what we are seeing is cleverness or stupidity, they are hard to tell apart sometimes. Right now I still lean towards stupidity and a vain attempt to bury all the bad news till after November and promise the moon till then as well.
We can watch and see ourselves as the election year grinds on.
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