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Friday, April 07, 2006 | 2:08 PM

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We've seen this before. With all the best intentions, they do things that actually prevent more progressive policies from being accepted nationally. In 2004 (?), When the state judiciary ruled that the state must allow gay marriages, they inadvertently created a rallying cry for conservatives, concerned about 'judicial activism' - an issue that really has nothing do with the issue at hand. If they had just taken the measure to a popular vote instead (where it would have still passed) they would have taken that issue away - but instead, the gay marriage issue appeared on the ballot in several states (including Ohio,) which drew in conservative voters.

Now, Massachusets has mandated that all of its citizens get health insurance. Required that everyone get their own insurance, instead of giving them state insurance. This isn't just an issue of rhetoric, though - in effect, they've just enacted a new tax, and one that isn't progressive. It would be much better if they just integrated that with all the other taxes people had to pay, so that then they could control for things like poverty.

I have no problem with states 'leading the way' in enacting progressive reforms. But if they're going to become an example for both the left and the right, it would help if they coordinated with national policymakers and thought their approaches through beforehand.

[On edit: the previous statement should not be construed as implying that the national policymakers have any idea what they're doing either.]

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