Posts tagged: Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Who Does Glenn Greenwald Thinks He Is?

By , February 5, 2014 3:30 pm

Glenn Greenwald changed his profile photo on Twitter recently:

Glenn Greenwald_Twitter

I immediately recognized the pose because I use the following photo on my Twitter profile:


Now, I use the photo because I admire Orwell. He was a truth teller. I hope I’m one. And Glenn Greenwald? Does he admire Orwell, or does he think he’s a modern-day Orwell? Or maybe Daniel Patrick Moynihan:


Speaking of Greenwald, here’s a pretty evenhanded take on the guy by Tom Rogan of National Review.

Hmmm. Maybe Greenwald’s thinks he’s this guy:


The Futility of Attempting to Reap What You Failed to Sow

By , October 31, 2013 9:52 am

In a previous post, I told the following story about the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s advice to the Clintons:

Twenty years ago, when he was trying to persuade Bill and Hillary Clinton that universal health care was a politically unrealistic goal, the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan repeated one insistent warning: Sweeping, historic laws don’t pass barely.’They pass 70-to-30,’ he said, ‘or they fail.’ [Rahm Emanuel gave President Obama similar advice.]

Later I began to wonder, what was the vote on the original Social Security bill? Medicare and Medicaid?

Social Security:

The Ways & Means Committee Report on the Social Security Act was introduced in the House on April 4, 1935 and debate began on April 11th. After several days of debate, the bill was passed in the House on April 19, 1935 by a vote of 372 yeas [including 81 of 102 Republicans], 33 nays, 2 present, and 25 not voting. . . .

The bill was reported out by the Senate Finance Committee on May 13, 1935 and introduced in the Senate on June 12th. The debate lasted until June 19th, when the Social Security Act was passed by a vote of 77 yeas [including 16 of 25 Republicans], 6 nays, and 12 not voting. (Emphasis added)

Medicare and Medicaid:

H.R. 6675, The Social Security Admendments of 1965, began life in the House Ways & Means Committee where it passed the Committee on March 23, 1965 (President Johnson issued a statement in support of the bill after the favorable Committee vote) and a Final Report was sent to the House on March 29, 1965. The House took up consideration of the bill on April 7th, and passed the bill the next day by a vote of 313-115 [including 70 out of 140 Republicans] (with 5 not voting).

The Senate Finance Committee reported the bill out on June 30th and debate began on the Senate floor that same day, concluding with passage on July 9, 1965 by a vote of 68-21 [including 13 out of 32 Republicans] (with 11 not voting). (Emphasis added)

For those without a calculator, Social Security passed with 86% of the vote in the House and 81% in the Senate. Medicare passed with 71% of the vote in the House and 70% in the Senate. Both bills had strong, bi-partisan support. In contrast, the Affordable Care Act garnered just 50.57% of the vote in the House and 60% in the Senate–without a single Republican vote.

I repeat, it was hubris that killed the beast.

It Was Hubris That Killed the Beast

By , October 30, 2013 9:51 am

I’ve been watching the Sebelius/Obamacare hearings this morning. The Secretary keeps reminding us that the ACA is the law of the land. Her choir members on the dais use their solos to remind viewers that Republicans should be rooting for the ACA rather than gloating over the website’s failures. And they may be right.

But then there’s this: the ACA passed on the barest of majorities. In the House, the vote was 219-212–with not a single Republican saying yes. In the Senate, it was 60-39, again with no Republican (Senator Jim Bunning, R-Ky, did not vote). If you prefer your votes in terms of percentages, the vote in the House was 50.57% to 49.43%, in the Senate, 60% to 39% (and that vote ignores the shenanigans the Senate employed to act before Scott Brown joined that august body). Add all the ayes together, and you’ll find that 50.15% of Congress voted for the law, and 46.92% said no. And with that and President Obama’s signature, the Affordable Care Act did, in fact, become the law of the land, and the Federal government assumed control of 1/6th of the economy of the United States.

All that to say this, or rather, to repeat an anecdote about Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and some advice he gave President Bill Clinton:

Twenty years ago, when he was trying to persuade Bill and Hillary Clinton that universal health care was a politically unrealistic goal, the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan repeated one insistent warning: Sweeping, historic laws don’t pass barely.’They pass 70-to-30,’ he said, ‘or they fail.’

Moynihan was not alone in this opinion. The Politico story continues:

Four years ago, when he was trying to persuade Barack Obama that he would pay a terrible price for jamming health care reform through a reluctant Congress on a partisan vote, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel begged his boss to settle for a vastly scaled-down plan.

If the Affordable Care Act fails, it will not be because Republicans opposed it. It will be because Democrats ignored the advice of Moynihan and Emanuel: massive, historic legislation requires massive, bipartisan support. If you don’t have it, you suffer the consequences.

Hubris. It was hubris that killed the beast.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

By , February 28, 2011 11:50 am

The New York post has a column today about the prescience of the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, one of my favorite people.

According to writer Bob McManus, Moynihan saw the future of public unions, and it was not rosey.

“[NYU economics professor William J.] Baumol started out by asking himself why the costs of the performing arts always seemed to be rising” Moynihan wrote. “I remarked that if you want a Dixieland band for a campaign rally today, you will need the same [number of] players you would have needed at the beginning of the century. Productivity just hasn’t changed much.”

But per-player costs — salaries and benefits — had risen dramatically, and the price of that Dixieland band along with them.

So, too, the price of health care, the senator argued. An already labor-intensive industry was becoming even more so with each technological advance — driving per-patient productivity ever lower and overall costs inexorably higher.

The same, he said, is true of what he termed the “stagnant [public-sector] services” — including “education high and low, welfare, the arts, legal services, the police. This means that the [costs] of the public sector will continue to grow.”

Moynihan had an eye for what seems obvious today. And he was not shy about telling others what he saw, a trait that served him well–and impressed me–when he served as the U.S.’s ambassador to the United Nations.

My cousin, then an aide to Senator Alan Simpson, once arranged a tour of the Capitol for me. The highlight was when a door swung open as I walked by, revealing Senator Moynihan, bow tie and all, talking to someone behind what had been closed doors.

The Democrats–hell, the Republicans–could use someone like him right now.

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