Lesson Number 1 - It's Still the Economy
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Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich says Obama made a fundamental mistake by trying to pass health care reform during the worst recession since the Great Depression. He writes:
Obama's focus on health care when the economy is still so fragile and unemployment moving toward double digits could make it appear that the administration has its priorities confused. While affordable health care is important to Americans, making a living is more immediately urgent. Yet the administration's efforts to date on this more basic concern have been neither particularly visible nor coherent. It's hard for most people to understand that unemployment would be worse were it not for the stimulus package; the much-flaunted new "green jobs" have not appeared yet, nor are they likely to for years. The White House has had equal difficulty explaining to Main Street why it would be far worse off today had Wall Street's biggest banks not been bailed out. Almost nothing has trickled down. Small businesses still can't get loans.
While health reform, if done right, can help American families stay afloat in the economy, most Americans will not see any appreciable decline in the cost of health insurance nor clear improvement in the efficiency or quality of the health care they receive, and those who will benefit from the bill won't see it for several years.
...If Obama and the Democrats lose Congress in the midterm elections, which is not a small possibility, it will be because the president learned only the most superficial lesson of the Clinton years. Health-care reform is critically important. But when one out of six Americans is unemployed or underemployed, getting the nation back to work is more so.