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Get the (Democratic) party started ...
October 17, 2008 - Lee Smith
Nothing regarding the upcoming election is written in stone, but the polling data (and current economic conditions) indicate a banner year for Democrats. Not only for Barack Obama, but those seeking seats in the U.S. House and Senate. We're talking significant Democratic majorities here, including a near-filibuster proof majority in the Senate. If it plays out this way, this will be a sea-change election.
What will this new government attempt? The changes could be mild. Democrats' conservative (hah hah) option would be to let the economy rebound and the war in Iraq peter out, as outlined by the agreement between the U.S. and Iraq. Then Democrats could run again in 2010 saying they had solved both issues.
What then? That's an excellent question. Just what is at the heart of Democratic aspirations? Taking Democrats at their word, we can assume it's broader social policies, like national health care, and greater income redistribution. What might that look like? Dare we say ... Europe.
Cradle-to-grave economic security is the hallmark of European states. There is a major tradeoff in the proposition, however. Such as higher jobless rates, which hover near 10 percent in Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Europe's per capita income comes in at about 70 percent of the United States'. And the European national health care systems cannot guarantee freedom from waste and inefficiency; nor do they offer universal access to high-quality care; and the price-fixing drives up demand while inhibiting investment in new technology.
These things are not talked about now as Americans simply seek a change in the current administration. But a far-reaching Democratic agenda will drive discussions about exactly these matters.
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