Voters tend to cast about in moments of stress.
That factor will certainly be at play in November's vote between three-term U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and her challenger, Dino Rossi, former state senator and gubernatorial candidate.
Their face-off since the August primaries has been less than statesmanlike. Rossi has accused Murray of being the oil in what he sees as the Obama administration's massive spending machine. Murray volleyed back, claiming (wrongly, by the way) that Rossi thinks subsidies shouldn't be considered when the U.S. government decides to go with either Airbus or Boeing to make its Air Force refueling tankers.
The truth is that both Murray and Rossi want more jobs and business activity for Washingtonians, but then the fork in the road begins.
Rossi, in lockstep with the conservative mantra, wants to cut taxes and reduce spending in Washington, D.C. Murray, in lockstep with President Barack Obama, has voted for bank bailouts, wants to build an infrastructure for financial-market regulation and, in this state, wants to boost employee training and expand international trade.
But, for us, the deciding difference between the two is where they stand on health care. Murray voted for the U.S. National Health Care Act, which, while watered down, is a step toward universal health care. Rossi wants to keep health care private. Who wins with private insurance? Private insurers.
Nearly every other major power in the world has some version of universal health care. Australia, for instance, has had a universal health-care program since 1975. It took three tries to get it through Parliament. Now, even if an Australian has a zip-line accident while on vacation in Puerto Rico, he or she will be covered. The program is currently funded by an income-tax surcharge set at 1.5 percent - with exemptions for low-income earners. Canada and Great Britain have similar systems.
In these tough times, when people are having to choose between buying food and paying deductibles for medical care/medication, the last thing they should worry about is whether the private company they're insured by (a company whose chief purpose, by the way, is to make a profit by finding ways to deny claims) will foot the bill to fix a broken foot.
Murray is right on on this one.[[In-content Ad]]