Free Markets, Free People

The Obama Administration – A Minor Rant

As I recall, one of the things the left most enjoyed calling George Bush was “liar”. Of course all politicians fall into that category from time to time (some stay in it most of the time), but few are as blatant as this:

In the interview, Obama vigorously defended the legislation, saying he is “not just grudgingly supporting the bill. I am very enthusiastic about what we have achieved.”

“Nowhere has there been a bigger gap between the perceptions of compromise and the realities of compromise than in the health-care bill,” Obama said. “Every single criteria for reform I put forward is in this bill.”

Really? “Every single criteria?” Like the public option? And though he’ll deny it, it was one of his criteria. So was “no mandates”. You may remember the debate with Hillary Clinton where he rejected her call for them.  Then there was universal coverage.  This bill leaves 18 million uninsured. Wasn’t that, after all, the entire reason for the reform? I’m sure fining or jailing those who don’t get insurance was high on his criteria list as well.

All that to say that this monstrosity isn’t anything like what he touted nor does it meet most of his previous criteria. It’s a 2000 page abomination, and regardless of the shine he or anyone else tries to put on it, it is legislation that is ill formed, poorly thought out (if it is thought out at all), filled with bribes and something we simply can’t afford. The CBO has already halved its estimate of the savings it will bring.

Speaking of the CBO, two things from the Director’s blog:

The estimate includes a projected net cost of $614 billion over 10 years for the proposed expansions in insurance coverage. That net cost itself reflects a gross total of $871 billion in subsidies provided through the exchanges, increased net outlays for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and tax credits for small employers; those costs are partly offset by $149 billion in revenues from the excise tax on high-premium insurance plans and $108 billion in net savings from other sources.

By now anyone but the most blinkered partisan hack should be able to interpret the CBO report properly. It’s a simple formula – 10 years worth of revenue against 6 years worth of spending. In fact, divide 817/6 and take that times 10. What do you get? 1.361 Trillion. That’s the true net cost of this over 10 years. That is what it will cost – plus – from 2020 to 2029. It won’t bend any cost curve down.

And don’t forget, most of the savings are to come from Medicare – 500 billion over 10 years, remember? So, the CBO wonders:

Based on the longer-term extrapolation, CBO expects that inflation-adjusted Medicare spending per beneficiary would increase at an average annual rate of less than 2 percent during the next two decades under the legislation—about half of the roughly 4 percent annual growth rate of the past two decades. It is unclear whether such a reduction in the growth rate could be achieved, and if so, whether it would be accomplished through greater efficiencies in the delivery of health care or would reduce access to care or diminish the quality of care.

The CBO avoids the biggest problem in this “plan” – the political will to do it. And while it gives us a choice of options – “greater efficiencies” or rationing and “diminish[ing] the quality of care”, there are few who’ve objectively observed government operate anything over their lifetime who’d pick “greater efficiencies”. So if those savings are realized – certainly not a given as demonstrated by the lack of political will to make hard decisions on much less controversial items in the past – they’ll most likely be realized by rationing and/or a diminished quality of care.

Or to quote myself and any number of others – I told you so.

So while the country founders economically and real unemployment approaches 18%, Obama and the Democrats are screwing around with something that doesn’t even kick in for 4 years? Is it any wonder that his approval rating has approached all time lows for a new president?

One of the criticisms of the Bush administration is it was “isolated” from the main stream of America.  In the case of the Obama administration, it seems disconnected from that main stream.  “Tone deaf” doesn’t even begin to describe this crew who seem both unaware and unaffected by the real problems facing Americans – polls be damned. For someone who seemed to have his finger on the popular pulse during the campaign, Obama appears to have completely lost it since. He touts the “financial rescue” as his most significant accomplishment during his first year, claiming the 787 billion stimulus as the vehicle of that accomplishment. But as most know, the majority of that money has yet to be spent and that which as been spent has had little or no effect. As mentioned, unemployment remains at record highs. And credit is still difficult to get, businesses have no incentives and plenty of disincentives (health care reform, cap-and-trade/EPA regulations, etc) to not hire or expand, and economy’s only positive quarter (now revised down twice to 2.2% from 3.5%) came from government spending. That is not a “financial rescue”. That’s a bandaid on a sucking chest wound. Meanwhile his administration is in Copenhagen waving more money we can’t afford around in an effort to buy off third world dictatorships who were in search of the payoff from the pseudo-science of “global warming”.

Then, in the Senate, 100 to 300 million bribes were the order of the day to get Senators who claimed to be “standing on principle” off their lofty perches and back to the money-grubbing reality that is politics in the US today.

This is “hope and change”?

As one friend – who was anything but a George Bush fan – said recently it absolutely makes him “pine” for Bush. And trust me, that means he is less than impressed with the man he voted for presently in the White House.



9 Responses to The Obama Administration – A Minor Rant

  • feliz navidad, senor bruce.  prospero año y felicidad.
    el presidente’s support of the public option was always suspect, the lie was actually there, not the later back pedal.   they all lie,  expect it and you won’t get angry like senor jimmy marsden, who’s clearly deranged.   but feliz navidad to you too, jimbo.

    • Back at ‘chya Pedro and thanks. However, you’re going to have a tough time spinning this one (and you have to admit, your spin is pitifully weak). From Obama’s campaign documents:

      (2) NEW AFFORDABLE, ACCESSIBLE HEALTH INSURANCE OPTIONS. The Obama-Biden plan will create a National Health Insurance Exchange to help individuals purchase new affordable health care options if they are uninsured or want new health insurance. Through the Exchange, any American will have the opportunity to enroll in the new public plan or an approved private plan, and income-based sliding scale tax credits will be provided for people and families who need it. Insurers would have to issue every applicant a policy and charge fair and stable premiums that will not depend upon health status. The Exchange will require that all the plans offered are at least as generous as the new public plan and meet the same standards for quality and efficiency. Insurers would be required to justify an above-average premium increase to the Exchange. The Exchange would evaluate plans and make the differences among the plans, including cost of services, transparent.

      Seems pretty definitive to me – how about you?

    • “they all lie,  expect it and you won’t get angry”
      Yeah, your middle name is BOHICA, isn’t it Pete?

  • But Obama now has told The Washington Post, “I never campaigned on the public option,” and the claim is driving “the Left” insane. Because Obama’s written campaign material certainly urged a “public health insurance option.”
    His old site still includes this promise:

    “Specifically, the Obama plan will: (1) establish a new public insurance program available to Americans who neither qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP nor have access to insurance through their employers, as well as to small businesses that want to offer insurance to their employees.”

    Now he is trying to triangulate with Congress, candidate Obama, and POTUS Obama

  • He’s been lying nonstop from the beginning:  When elected to the Senate, he claimed that he wouldn’t run for president (at that point, anyway) since the voters of Illinois had sent him to DC to be their Senator.
    Ooops – just kidding!  And that pattern was repeated up to the present day.
    This is who he is.

  • McQOne of the criticisms of the Bush administration is it was “isolated” from the main stream of America.  In the case of the Obama administration, it seems disconnected from that main stream.  “Tone deaf” doesn’t even begin to describe this crew who seem both unaware and unaffected by the real problems facing Americans – polls be damned.

    The underlying assumption is that TAO and his gang are – or SHOULD BE – interested in pleasing the American people with an eye to reelection.

    This is an incorrect assumption.

    The dems are out to fundamentally remake our country into something like the socialist republic of their dreams, where people have no choice but to crawl to DC for everything they want.  I think Kim Strassel at the WSJ (among others) has hit the nail on the head:

    So why the stubborn insistence on passing health reform? Think big. The liberal wing of the party—the Barney Franks, the David Obeys—are focused beyond November 2010, to the long-term political prize. They want a health-care program that inevitably leads to a value-added tax and a permanent welfare state. Big government then becomes fact, and another Ronald Reagan becomes impossible. See Continental Europe.

    The entitlement crazes of the 1930s and 1960s also caused a backlash, but liberal Democrats know the programs of those periods survived. They are more than happy to sacrifice a few Blue Dogs, a Blanche Lincoln, a Michael Bennet, if they can expand government so that in the long run it benefits the party of government.

    All my life, I’ve watched the dems scare old people into voting for them with threats that the nasty ol’ Republicans will take away their Social Security, or poor people with threats that the nasty ol’ Republicans will take away their food stamps.  If (when?) ObamaCare passes, they will be able to use this tactic with EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN: “Vote for us if you want to keep your health care.”

    And imagine the things that could be done with the yearly national health care spending bill.  Got an earmark?  Put it in the health care bill!  Got an otherwise unpopular program?  Put it in the health care bill!  NOBODY in his right mind will vote against it.  It’s even better than hijacking defense bills.

    If this means that Dingy Harry or Nelson or Landrieu or dozens of democrats loose their phoney-baloney jobs in ’10, or even that Imeme loses in ’12, that’s OK.  Yeah, it’ll bother them to lose, but it’s not like they won’t continue to make good (probably better) money as lobbyists like Tom Daschle.  It might even be galling to, from time to time, see a Republican in the Speaker’s chair or sitting in the Oval Office.  But it won’t be too galling because they know that only a liberal Republican will be able to win in such an environment, and, anyway, he won’t be there for very long.  It’s sort of like the ComBloc countries: the Soviets could afford the occasional “liberal” leader because they knew that, in the end, they held all the cards and could crush anybody who got TOO liberal.

    Welcome to the Liberal DEMOCRAT Peoples Republic of Amerika.

  • Bruce:

    Your Obama-voting friend who is currently “pining” for Bush…  Is he taking any ownership over this emerging mess that he helped bring about?

    —Tom Nally, New Orleans

    • I believe you have to take ownership of that before you can “pine” for Bush. Or said another way, until he admitted he screwed up he couldn’t admit he wished Bush was still Prez.