A few Washington-related items that came across my radar screen in recent reading:
Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman says he never considered running for president while in his service as U.S. ambassador to China. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that. But Huntsman notes that he never intended to stay in the previous role for more than two years — and admits that he failed to tell that to President Obama. Oops!
While many are criticizing the federal health care reform effort for what it tries to do, a former administration official is blasting it for its failure to address a related subject. Former OMB Director Peter Orszag says that as long as doctors follow evidence-based protocols, they should be exempted from medical malpractice suits. "His quote: "Unfortunately, in the health act, this was one of the largest missed opportunities." Anything to help curb the lawsuit mania that grips our country would be a good thing. Can we start over on that reform thing?
News flash! The U.S. Postal Service is a broken system — and Congress wants to fix it. Ending Saturday delivery and closing more branches are part of the plan, as well as renegotiating collective bargaining agreements. I don’t know the answer, but something must be done sooner rather than later to fix an uncompetitive, costly government-run program.
A couple of interesting observations from Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon Communications and chairman of the Business Roundtable. This group of top executives has been strongly courted by the Obama administration and included in various policy discussions.
Seidenberg, speaking at the Economic Club of Washington earlier this week, however, had the following quotes:
He accused the president and Democratic lawmakers of creating an "increasingly hostile environment for investment and job creation."
He added that Democrats in Washington are pursuing tax increases, policy changes and regulatory actions that together threaten to dampen economic growth and "harm our ability . . . to grow private-sector jobs in the U.S."
"In our judgment, we have reached a point where the negative effects of these policies are simply too significant to ignore. By reaching into virtually every sector of economic life, government is injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise capital and create new businesses."
And it’s not just Seidenberg. The Washington Post reported that: Seidenberg first expressed his concerns about the direction of Democratic economic policy in a meeting last month with White House budget director Peter Orszag. When Orszag asked for specifics, Seidenberg polled the members of the Business Roundtable and a sister organization, the Business Council. The result was a 54-page document, delivered to Orszag on Monday, chock full of bullet points about actions taken or considered by a wide array of executive agencies, including the White House Middle Class Task Force and the Food and Drug Administration.
"We believe the cumulative effect of these proposals will help defeat the objectives we all share — reducing unemployment, improving the competitiveness of U.S. companies and creating an environment that fosters long-term economic growth," Seidenberg wrote in a cover letter for the document, titled "Policy Burdens Inhibiting Economic Growth."