There is something about skirting the normal legislative process which seems so appealing to people (in this case, Democrats) who cannot otherwise pass legislation but seek to expand government.

We are seeing it most clearly in the health care issue, where the end product of Democratic maneuvering, the Senate bill plus fixes, could not pass as a single piece of legislation. The fixes are being treated separately so that the budget reconciliation process could be used to avoid the Senate filibuster and thereby obtain government control over one-sixth of the economy.

But that is not enough. This is an all you can eat buffet, so now Democrats are planning to load a restructuring of the student loan industry onto the health care reconciliation bill.

Under that plan, private lenders would be squeezed out of the student loan business in favor of direct government lending.

Call me a skeptic, given the dismal history of the federal government managing the mortgage industry (are Freddie and Fannie really such distant memories?) and the rampant fraud in so many federal programs (compare Medicare fraud rates to private insurance fraud rates).

If the bill has merit, why not pass it in the normal course? Why not make the case on the merits rather than playing legislative games?

The reason is that there are not enough Senate votes, including at least several Democrats who oppose the bill.

Welcome to the all you can eat buffet, where the appetite of the Democrats to expand government never is satisfied, and reconciliation is far from the last course.

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