Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Nader's Critique of Clinton Dynasty's First Administration

In the July 8, 1996 issue of The Nation magazine, Ralph Nader indicated how the Clintons failed to serve the public interest during their first administration in the 1990s:

“Clinton has no consumer policy; his environmental policy is largely rhetoric and accommodation (note his obeisance to the nuclear power and timber industries, and to the auto industry on fuel economy). The federal regulatory agencies’ behavior under Clinton (e.g., banking, the Federal Aviation Administration, auto safety, railroad and job safety) is either indistinguishable from their performance under his Republican predecessors or worse…

“Clinton’s business-indentured motif went into high gear with his surrender to the Republican-fashioned telecommunications bill that so delighted oligopolists and autocrats. To make sure that the Federal Communications Commission doesn’t reverse its anticonsumer positions, Clinton undermined his own chairman…by appointing two other commissioners with pro-industry leanings…Other major Clinton nominations—to the Supreme Court, the Treasury Department and the omnipotent Federal Reserve—are all Wall Street approved.

“…Like Bush, Clinton cannot make himself speak out against fast-growing brutalized child labor abroad…Nor will he confront on human rights grounds global corporations that coddle dictatorships, thus encouraging the contagious corporate criminality that arises from those alliances…

“In no area is Clinton’s…strategy more transparently expedient…than in his erosions of civil liberties protections…

“…Clinton has never been serious about campaign finance reform, while sending very serious letters to the affluent, offering them a seat at his dinner table for a $100,000 contribution.”

In his July 1974 testimony before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, Nader also had stated:

“To take the worst features of what now passes for a health care system in the form of billions of dollars in annual retentions (profits and expenses) for private health insurance companies, billions wasted on unnecessary hospitalization, inappropriate and useless drugs, and thousands of excess hospital beds—and then to add to this a so-called national health insurance plan which requires low-wage earners to pay far more of their income than the rich through payroll taxes, deductibles and coinsurance—is to perpetuate a fraud on the American public.

“There is no room in taxpayer funded national health insurance for private insurance companies. They have already proved they are far more concerned with their over $5 billion profits and retentions than with providing low-cost comprehensive preventive health care.

“You only have to look over the history of Metropolitan, Prudential, and other health and life insurance companies…to see how little attention is being paid to preventive health care…

“Congress should reject any plan designed to massively subsidize a private corporate insurance system whose primary objectives are increasing their wasteful ways and increasing profits…” (Downtown 10/13/93)

Yet, according to the 1994 book by David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, The National Health Program Book, most of the health care reform plan that 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton proposed during the Clinton Administration’s first term “adheres to the complex Managed Competition developed by the Jackson Hole Group with the financial backing of the big insurers;” and while Hillary’s husband “loudly declaims against the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA—the trade association of the smaller insurers) and other `special interests’ who oppose” their “plan, the biggest insurers—Aetna, Prudential, Cigna, Metropolitan Life, Travelers, Blue Cross—all support” the Clintons’ “approach, along with the American Hospital Association.”

Next: Columbia University Institutional Racism In 21st-Century?