Decades of Experience And No Details

By way of Steve Randy Waldman, we come across this Max Sawicky post, describing the lack of detail [cough magic asterisks cough] in Clinton’s universal pre-K program. This lack of detail is all the more surprising, since Clinton has been ‘fighting for children’* throughout her career. One would think, after decades of policy expertise, she would have the details nailed down cold. Well, she doesn’t (boldface mine):

Hillary’s getting a huge free ride on her purported mastery of the mechanics of policy, in contrast to Bernie… She likes to throw around the phrase “universal child care” or “universal pre-K.” But she isn’t proposing universal either. She’s proposing new money for pre-K, which is fine, but a) false advertising, and b) it’s not clear how it would “work.”

Google “Hillary universal child care.” The first thing you get is one of her web pages. On it we are told “Her proposal would work to ensure that every 4-year old in America has access to high-quality preschool in the next 10 years. It would do so by providing new federal funding for states that expand access to quality preschool for all four-year olds.” There’s nothing else from the campaign as far as I looked — 4 or 5 pages of google results.

“Would work to” means “won’t” in this context.

Most of the page is about how great preschool will be, for those who get it, and I’d be the first to agree that it would be. Think Progress informs us, again under that “universal” headline, that HRC also favors a “middle class tax cut” to help parents pay for childcare. To be clear, both of these initiatives deserve praise and point in the right directions.

The rub is that they are no more specific or rigorously motivated than the Sanders proposals that people have been blathering about.

On the strength of rousing approval by a compliant Congress unavailable to Bernie, HRC would supposedly provide a grant to those same evil state governments who couldn’t be trusted to implement single-payer, under a defunct Sanders proposal. Who could say whether the results would be “universal”? Is the money adequate, assuming full participation by the states? Is there anything that would prevent them substituting the money for their own limited programs? These are the usual questions applying to grants-in-aid. There are no wonky answers on her web site….

Note that bumping up Head Start does not get you to universal either. It’s fine, but Head Start is a tiny program, relative to the relevant population.

How to “pay for it”? Forget it. They don’t say, not that I care. All the critics of “unpaid-for” single-payer BernieCare evidently don’t care either. Criticisms of Sanders’ vagueness on policy can be applied to HRC as well, if one delves just a little bit.

There are reasons to vote for and against Clinton and Sanders. But bullshit arguments about policy wonkishness–or the lack thereof–are playing into a ridiculous story line, one that is unmoored from reality.

*When a New Democrat uses the phrase ‘fighting for’, you should read ‘failing to accomplish the goal in any meaningful, systemic way.’ Also, check your wallet.

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1 Response to Decades of Experience And No Details

  1. Cujo359 says:

    When a New Democrat uses the phrase ‘fighting for’, you should read ‘failing to accomplish the goal in any meaningful, systemic way.’

    I always thought it meant “giving a speech about”, or sometimes in the past tense “gave speeches about”. Same effect, though. You don’t accomplish what you don’t want to do except by accident.

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