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Remember school uniforms?

Before the freeze was announced and completely consumed the headlines, the Obama administration had proposed five policies meant to help the middle class. All of them are good. All of them are small. All of them are reminiscent of late-term Bill Clinton's high-polling, low-impact, micro-policies. Alec MacGillis runs you through the list here.

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 2:57 PM ET
 
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Comments

Could things get more depressing?

Posted by: senorgibson | January 26, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Smoke and mirrors. Ignore that healthcare crisis hiding behind the curtain...

Posted by: AuthorEditor | January 26, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The automatic enrollment in retirement plans sounds good, but creates a situation with which I'm all too familiar. Consider the automatically enrolled employee (a custodian or food service worker, for example) who then doesn't know how to get his money BACK at retirement or in case of emergency: existing statute (ERISA) is biased towards the employer, who can quietly refuse to help get the employee's money back out of the retirement account.

The horror stories are common and appalling, even to the CEOs of large profitable firms such as GE and Berkshire-Hathaway. Implementing auto-enrollment without fixing the other ERISA problems is a huge long-term mistake.

Posted by: rmgregory | January 26, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I was just thinking that this spending freeze and the deficit reduction task force proposal have all the hallmarks of Clinton-style triangulating. Seems like the health care reform experience, together with the loss of the Mass. Senate seat, has already led Obama to completely write off COngressional Dems. He's decided it will be impossible to get any sort of even marginally liberal proposal through Congress even with the large majorities he has now, much less the smaller majorities (or minorities) after the next election. So he might as well start burnishing his own moderate credentials for 2012 by hanging the Congressional Dems out to dry.

Given their demonstrated worthlessness in the health care reform effort, it's hard to really fault him, even if the whole spectacle has been incredibly depressing.

Posted by: dt4211 | January 26, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

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