Friday, July 18, 2003
Slate summarizes the Dean agenda http://slate.msn.com/id/2085791/
1. Extend health insurance coverage through existing programs. Dean aims to cover everyone under 25, establish an affordable federal alternative to private care, and keep the annual cost below $100 billion. His method is to patch together several programs. He would enlarge the State Children's Health Insurance Program into a federal Families and Children Health Insurance Program covering everyone under 25. This would also be available to adults with low incomes. Second, he would offer refundable tax credits (i.e., subsidies) to help uninsured adults join a Universal Health Benefits Program providing the same coverage currently enjoyed by federal employees. Already-insured Americans could buy into UHBP; uninsured Americans would automatically be enrolled into either FCHIP or UHBP. Third, the federal government would mandate and partially subsidize employer-based health insurance, even! for laid-off employees. Dean says that the plan would eventually cost $88.3 billion per year and that he would pay for it, along with other initiatives, by repealing the 2001 tax cut.
2. Increase homeland security funding. Dean would use part of the savings from the tax cut repeal to establish a Homeland Security Trust Fund dedicated to three objectives: preparation, protection, and prevention. Preparation would entail more than $5 billion in aid to local first responders. Protection would involve extra funding and more stringent security measures for ports and borders, plus money for detection and identification technology. Prevention would focus on foreign threats and would include greater U.S. financial and political involvement in programs to limit nuclear proliferation. It would be funded in part by some of the money previously set aside for missile defense.
3. Balance the budget. Of all the candidates, Dean is the most emphatic about not running deficits. In addition to canceling the 2001 tax cuts, he proposes to "restrict spending." This could include ideas he has previously floated, such as increasing the amount of income subject to the Social Security tax (at the moment, only the first $80,000 is taxable) and possibly raising the retirement age to 67 or 68. In the past, Dean has expressed support for a constitutional amendment requiring balanced budgets. But more recently, he has said he would probably not pursue such an amendment.
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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.