The present is the past

I can’t seem to learn anything about [the president’s] health care reform plan. I watch the network news and discover that the plan cannot be summarized briefly. I read the papers and find the plan cannot be explained at length. I listen to the president himself and he seems at least as confused as I am, though less succinctly.

. . .

I gather, from the president’s sales pitch, we’re supposed to come up with a large sum of money to invest in a vaguely described deal that’s going to have a huge payoff someday. Isn’t the SEC trying to crack down on this sort of thing?

. . .

Understanding government programs is like looking at the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Form is more important than content. The plan is 1,400 pages long, detailed specifics to come. You can stand on this thing to paint the ceiling. In my copy of The World Almanac, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights occupy 4 1/2 pages. That’s 4 1/2 pages to run an entire country for more than two hundred years and three reams of federal pig Latin if I slam my thumb in a car door.

Is this some recent quote from a blog or pundit about the Obama health care plan?

No. This is excerpted from a P.J. O’Rourke column, written for the Wall Street Journal in 1993, about the Clinton health care plan.

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