Views on the News
August 22, 2009
Views on the News*
Our Constitution is very clear on a limited federal government, and providing health care and other social services on a federal level are not what our founders intended. Before we debate socialized health care, we need to have an open, national discussion about socialist influences on America. We must openly acknowledge and discuss the ramifications of continuing down the path of centralized government and abandoning the Constitution as it was intended. Federal programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Welfare... are all theoretically unconstitutional. Glenn Beck used a letter from a woman in Arizona to discuss the biggest issue in today’s political environment. She articulated that neither major political party represented her views or works to pursue issues important to her and too many people feel disenfranchised by both major political parties. The issue is that this woman is not alone, but in fact represents a huge number of Americans who feel disconnected from their representatives in Washington. Americans no longer trust Obama at his word, since so often his leftist actions and intrusive legislation (once finally read and understood) bears little resemblance to the glowing rhetoric that embellished it. The belief is that the current administration and many prior administrations of both parties abandoned the Constitution and the underlying principles on which it was written. I believe our federal government needs to Return to Common Sense contained in the Constitution of our Founding Fathers.
We are witnessing one of the more rapid turnabouts in recent American political history with President Obama’s popularity plummeting to 45% while the public expresses even less confidence in the Democratic-led Congress and the direction of the country at large. President Barack Obama's popularity has plummeted to a record low, with just 45% of voters now approving of his performance, according to the latest Zogby International poll. Victor Davis Hanson tries to understand what happened, other than the usual hubris of the party in power:
· Voters had legitimate worries about health care, global warming, immigration, energy, and inefficient government, but it turns out that they are more anxious about the new radical remedies than the old nagging problems.
· Americans were at first merely scared about the growing collective debt, but by June they became outraged that Obama has quadrupled the annual deficit in proposing all sorts of new federal programs at a time when most finally had acknowledged that the U.S. has lived beyond its means for years.
· Many voters really believed in the “no more red/blue state America” healing rhetoric, but instead, polls show they got the most polarizing president in recent history, both in his radical programs and in the manner in which he has demonized the opposition to ram them through without bipartisan support.
· Americans wanted a new brand, youthful, post-racial, mesmerizing abroad, but their president has proven not so post-racial, but instead hyper-racially conscious.
· Even skeptics are surprised at the partisan cynicism, for today the Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama have become near-Nixonian in demonizing popular resistance to their collectivized health-care plans as mob-like, inauthentic, scripted, Nazi-like, and un-American.
· There is a growing fear that Obamism is becoming cult-like and Orwellian, as words change meanings as acts of terror become “man-caused disasters” and hunting down jihadists is really an “overseas contingency operation” and media sycophants do not merely parrot Obama, but now proclaim him a “god.”
· The Obama cabinet is sounding downright uncouth and boorish as: the tax-challenged Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, unleashed a profanity-laced diatribe against bank regulators; and Hillary Clinton’s recent outburst in the Congo was something out of Days of Our Lives; Joe Biden cannot speak extemporaneously without causing an incident with the Russians or misleading the public about swine flu; Attorney General Holder sounds like a tired scold; and only to be overshadowed by the President’s off-the-cuff cuts about the Special Olympics, Las Vegas, and the Cambridge police.
· We were all appalled by Wall Street greed and the notion that an individual could take $100 million rather than one or two million as a bonus, but the Obama remedy for that obscenity was to conflate Goldman Sachs or AIG with the family orthodontist or local asphalt contractor whose 80-hour weeks might result in an annual $250,000 income.
· Democrat populism turned out to be largely aristocratic elitism, as Obama spends more money on himself than did Bush and the liberal Congress has a strange fondness for pricy private jets.
· Americans no longer believe this is our moment when the seas stop rising and the planet ceases warming, because there is a growing hopelessness that despite all the new proposed income taxes, payroll taxes, and surtaxes, the deficit will skyrocket, not shrink; and there is foreboding that while apologies abroad are nice in the short term, they will soon earn a reckoning; and while the productive classes pay more of their income, and while government grows and entitlement expands, there is a sense that what follows will not be thanks for either taxes paid or benefits received, but even more anger that neither is enough and that much more is owed.
Obama’s popularity might rebound with a natural upturn in the economy, continued low energy prices, and good will for our first multiracial president. Congress popularity is wallowing at 24% even though the Democrats own both houses of Congress and the Presidency. An inflation-debt-induced mini-recovery will help Obama by early next year. The laws of physics will then catch up to him, as a falling dollar, high interest, high inflation, low growth, and high unemployment return to choke off a return to former prosperity.
The face-off between the ruling party and the people continues to unfold, as Democrat politicians hold town hall meetings across the country to build support for the Obama administration's latest power grab, misleadingly labeled 'health care reform.' Barack Obama’s Big Bang is beginning to backfire, as his plans for rapid, once-in-a-generation overhauls of energy, financial regulation and health care are running into stiff resistance, both in Washington and around the country. The Obama theory was simple, though always freighted with risk: Use a season of economic anxiety to enact sweeping changes the public likely wouldn’t stomach in ordinary times. But the abrupt swing in the public’s mood, from optimism about Obama’s possibility to concern he may overreaching, has thrown the White House off its strategy and forced the president to curtail his ambitions. Nancy Morgan diagnosed that the faux outrage that politicians manufacture on demand has been replaced by real outrage by real Americans. Outrage is directed at the American people for failing to understand the nuances, the broad outline of a 1,000 plus page bill that most politicians haven't even read themselves. Peons from fly-over country are daring to challenge the carefully scripted and deliberately misleading talking points. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are using the standard liberal tactic of diverting attention from the issue by demonizing the dissenter, in this case, the American people. According to Pelosi and Reid, voicing objections to the federal government's takeover of 17% of the formerly free market economy is 'un-American.' Harry Reid has gone a step further, tarring dissenter's as 'evil mongers.' White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has blithely dismissed the burgeoning dissent by informing one and all that these 'town halls are not representative of America.' The Los Angeles Times found the creator of the Obama as Joker poster sweeping the nation is a 20-year-old college student of Palestinian descent with largely liberal political leanings. Unused to any opposition that can't be spun to their advantage or ignored, Democrats are desperately trying to convince Americans that the tidal wave of opposition is not genuine. After all, every person these lawmakers know agrees with them on this issue… it’s called the 'inside the beltway syndrome.' Despite a new $12 million ad campaign designed to soothe Americans into relying on misplaced compassion instead of common sense, pesky Joe Six-Pack and Susy Homemaker still don't get it. Obama, in his latest finger-pointing lecture to the great unwashed, assured the masses that the proposed 'public option' won't put private insurers out of business, while the legislation clearly shows a strategy to gradually migrate everyone onto the ‘public option.’ When confronted with his own words to the contrary in 2007, he dismissed the discrepancy as a 'mis-statement'. The Obama administration's offer to drop a Medicare-like health insurance option for Americans under age 65 is neither a surprise nor a comfort, because it does nothing to change the administration's dangerous plan for single-payer health reform. Rather, it is a tactic designed to change the debate – one that fits nicely within the administration’s broader strategy of deception. Identifying a common enemy is another tried and true tactic liberals employ when it gets too hot in the kitchen. Unfortunately the only villain left is the American people! The only problem is, Americans aren't buying it, since they're suffering from the political equivalent of the 'battered woman syndrome.' Americans have been deceived and beaten up by the government so many times lately, that, even though they still love Obama, they're taking steps to distance themselves from what has become an increasingly dangerous relationship. Liberals have finally succeeded in persuading Americans to look at the broad picture instead of inconvenient details. The kicker is, as more Americans see the broad picture, they see the unprecedented devolution of power to the federal government. The American people see the loss of America's traditional reliance on individuals instead of government, and they see the loss of personal liberty and freedom of choice, and they don't like it!
The weakness of socialism is that it cannot be revealed for what it truly is until it is too late to stop it… like all things evil, it cannot stand the light of day. Andrew Thomas found when socialism’s evil intent is revealed, the leftists retreat and then re-package it in different wrapping paper. Socialized medicine becomes HillaryCare which in turn become becomes ObamaCare. Environmentalism becomes global warming which in turn becomes climate change. The problem for these strategies is that once people have had a chance to examine the packages, they are discovering that they are Trojan horses. They do not save the planet nor provide quality healthcare for all Americans. The new “health care cooperatives” idea is just a benign sounding repackaging of the “public plan” with all the same government control and mandates included – another Government Sponsored Enterprise like Fannie Mae to enable backdoor nationalization. The sole purpose is to dramatically expand the power of the government over its citizens, providing the potential for complete enslavement. Americans are finally waking up to this fact, albeit almost too late which makes them angry, because they have been misled. Surprising the socialist left with their ferocity, they are storming into town hall meetings and confronting their dishonest legislative representatives. Hypocrisy is being exposed, but victory is far from assured. We are facing the most ruthless and power-hungry government in American history. They have the most effective and dedicated propaganda arm the world has ever known, i.e. the misnomered "mainstream media.” Do you really believe that the next elections in 2010 and particularly 2012 will be the solution to the current socialist infestation? After fighting the good fight, will they gracefully withdraw from power? The left dominates election committees and polling volunteers. Leftists do not see election fraud or other dirty tactics as illegal, immoral, or unethical. This is because they believe that the socialist agenda is for the good of the nation, a noble cause to promote and protect at any cost. In other words, the ends justify the means. We need to study the weaknesses of these leftists, and capitalize on their mistakes. We need to use their tactics against them by "picking, freezing, and personalizing" Democrat administration mistakes (Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals #12).
There is no Health Care Crisis, only a politically manufactured opportunity for the federal government to expand control over the American economy. The Democrat manufactured crisis strategy was the 1966 brainchild of two radical socialist college professors, Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. The idea was to overwhelm government with demands for services to the point where the system would collapse and provide an opening for the socialists to take over. For more than 50 years before the 1965 enactment of Medicare, the American people repeatedly rejected the idea of government-mandated health insurance. Yet advocates of such federal power inside and outside of government did not take no for an answer. Their dream was partially realized with creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society." The stated goal of these programs was to provide comprehensive healthcare for seniors and the poor. As the programs grew, the Left clamored for ever more benefits to these two programs and ever expanding definitions of covered individuals. Medicare was originally to be funded with "Hospital Insurance" (HI) premiums tacked onto the Social Security FICA tax, but today HI taxes cover a mere 40% of Medicare spending. About 21% comes from premiums paid by beneficiaries and other sources, while fully 39% comes from general government revenues. Medicaid is funded roughly 50/50 by federal and state governments. As an essentially free benefit to the poor, Medicaid has no tax associated with it, so it is covered by state and federal income tax revenues directly. In 2008, federal Medicaid and Medicare spending totaled $676 billion. Comprising only 2% of the federal budget in 1967, these two programs today consume 23% of total federal spending. We hear constantly about the misleading number of "47 million uninsured." These figures include 10 to 25 million illegal immigrants, 14 million people who are already eligible for medical benefits but haven't availed themselves, and 10 million people earning $75,000 or more who could presumably afford their own insurance if they chose to. Even assuming the lowest estimate for illegal immigrants, the true number of uninsured would be only 13 million. Millions of Americans do not have medical insurance, hardy souls who have actually read the mammoth medical care legislation being rushed through Congress have discovered all sorts of things there that have nothing whatever to do with insuring the uninsured-- and everything to do with taking medical decisions out of the hands of doctors and their patients, and transferring those decisions to Washington bureaucrats. The Democrats want to eventually nationalize the entire health care industry, currently 17% of GDP, to provide benefits to 4% of the U.S. population. The Left has never cared about the elderly or the poor, but ruthlessly uses them as part of their long-term strategy to overburden private healthcare until it ultimately collapses, ala the Cloward-Piven strategy. The same Leftists who so passionately demanded free healthcare for all now want euthanasia for seniors and dramatically lower services for the rest of us. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that most voters (54%) now say they would prefer that Congress simply not pass a health care reform package. It is a power grab, pure and simple, and the sooner we wake up and recognize it, the sooner we can kill it before it overwhelms the American economy!
The Democrat White House has deploying an array of political tactics to promote ObamaCare, even though there is no single Obama plan for health care but multiple different Senate and House evolving versions. Lee Cary has identified a number of these tactics deployed thus far:
· Warn about the cost of inaction with fantastic claims.
· Use Grandma to build empathy through association.
· Accuse opponents of racial prejudice - play the race card.
· Shift the focus of the debate from positive to negative.
· When accused of having a controversial proposal, just say "No we don't."
· Hide the plan as a moving target, switching between alternatives as the need arises.
· Hide key congressional proponents to avoid constituent confrontations.
· Pretend to give up on controversial issues that were never acknowledged in the first place.
· Hold pro-ObamaCare pep rallies (infomercials) that profess to be open town hall-like events.
· Blame the media for focusing on the opponents as a distraction.
· Demonize the opposition is the most consistent and frequently used tactic.
· Make false claims for ObamaCare and depend on a compliant media not to fact check.
The latest tactic is to use the new poll-tested phrase of the day “health insurance reform” despite only six pages of the 1,017 page bill dealing with health insurance reform. A recent New York Times/CBS poll found that most Americans do not support the content of this “reform:”
· 62% believe Democrats' proposals would force them to change doctors.
· 69% believe ObamaCare will hurt the quality of their own health care.
· 73% believe they will have less access to tests and treatment.
· 76% believe Obama's changes will mean higher taxes for them.
· 77% expect their health care costs to rise.
All those polling findings run counter to the claims Obama makes. Many of these tactics are fundamentally dishonest in intent or execution, but Democrats apparently feel no shame.
"Medicare is… a government-run health care plan that people are very happy with," said President Obama in an effort to defend Medicare as a popular and successful example of government health care at its best, but unfortunately it is unaffordable and unsustainable in its current form. Plenty of people think the existing system is in need of repair since the true cost of Medicare is stunning. In 1990, rather than costing American taxpayers $12 billion, Medicare cost $107 billion -- an increase of 800% over the government's best guess at the program's cost 23 years before. That cost has increased exponentially as the years have passed since 1990. This year, $484 billion will be spent on mandatory Medicare outlays; by 2018, that number will be $885.1 billion, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. The total amount owed Medicare beneficiaries (American workers who are at least 22 years old and who have paid into the system, meaning they are due Medicare coverage upon retirement) is a staggering $32.3 trillion -- an amount over twice America's GDP, and nearly five times the publicized national debt. The fact that the federal government has allowed a key health coverage program with which it has been entrusted to fall over thirty trillion dollars in debt should send a powerful message about Washington's inability to be a good steward of Americans' health care dollars and coverage. To be clear, the healthcare system is in need of reform, particularly health insurance, but the answer is not central planning. The solution to rising health care costs is obvious - People should be able to purchase the type of insurance that they choose and should pay for the health care services they receive. Congressional Republicans have offered five comprehensive health care reform proposals so far, and one bipartisan Senate proposal all of which rejected along party lines. The answer is more market competition, giving consumers more choices, more information and more control:
· Limit government mandates (standard benefits package, community rating, and guaranteed issue) to create a nationwide health insurance market where any individual or group can shop for less expensive coverage from another state would provide more choices, forcing private plans to create better products, improve services and lower prices since state regulations boost premium costs an average of 15%.
· Equip individuals with information on healthcare cost and quality, releasing the Medicare-claims history of doctors and hospitals giving Americans more knowledge to choose the most efficient institutions, practitioners and the most effective treatments.
· Eliminate tax break for employer health plans and replace with patient tax credits to help consumers purchase private healthcare coverage, or to deduct the cost of insurance they purchase, just as employers do now.
· Enact tort reform to eliminate the need for defensive medical practices, estimated to save $200 Billion per year.
Medicare, the chief example of health care as run by the federal government, is an utter mess that is losing doctors, resorting to anti-choice laws to keep seniors enrolled, and hemorrhaging taxpayer dollars by the trillions. Obama claims he can cut Medicare “inefficiencies, waste and fraud” by $500 Billion to help offset his huge government Medical Insurance expansion plan. President Obama and his allies in the Democratic-led Congress should demonstrate their ability to be good stewards of the people's health care dollars and coverage by fixing their own Medicare mess before they seek to expand their grip on America's health care system as a whole.
There is a huge void in the political landscape: anyone who can articulate and run on a political platform to reverse the damage being done by Barack Obama and the Congressional leftists. Today there is populist revolt afoot. It is being fueled by the mass of Americans who are outraged over Wall Street scandals, chronic high unemployment, incontinent government spending and, most of all, the Democrats’ handling of healthcare reform. Rather than remaining silent, the American majority -- Republicans, Democrats and Independents -- is speaking up loudly and clearly. A populist movement is any that champions the rights and power of the people over elites. Polls show Americans are unhappy with the job Democrats have done, but they are also uneasy about the GOP. Many Americans are just sick and tired of politicians of all stripes. Someone needs to step up and listen to understand the concerns of Middle America. Leadership will be assumed by whomever can articulate first how to reverse the harm currently done by the Obama administration direction:
· Re-privatize AIG, CitiCorp, General Motors, Chrysler and any other company that the federal government has ownership.
· Repeal wasteful and counter-productive federal spending contained in the “stimulus” and the “omnibus” bills.
· Re-mission AmeriCorps to pro-American goals and values.
· Reassert American leadership on the international stage, rejecting United Nations sovereignty.
· Openly opposing Islamo-fascists and locking up non-state combatants for the duration of the conflict.
Second, we need a vision and strategy how to “walk the walk” of conservatism: limited government, traditional values, and strong national defense.
· Reduce the size and cost of federal government by 50%.
· Require balance budgets and sunset federal programs that have achieved objective.
· Enact term limits for all federal elected offices and all federal judges.
· Replace progressive tax tables with a single flat tax for all.
· Submit amendments for Defense of Marriage and Right to Life.
· Set goal of energy independence exploiting all energy sources and resources.
· Expand free trade agreements with all friendly nations.
· Withdraw participation and funding from the United Nations.
The silent majority has awoken and is disappointed with the direction this country is going, and yearns for a national leader who represents mainstream America.
* There is so much published each week that unless you go out of your way to find it, you will miss important breaking events. I package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning for your reading pleasure and to fill in factual vacuums.
If you are sick and tired of government and politics as usual, read my web site with its individual issue analysis and recommendations sections at: http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com . Individual issue updates this week include:
· Domestic Philosophy at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/philosophy.html
Week’s Best Articles:
· “The Letter” by Glenn Beck dated June 25, 2009 published by Glenn Beck at http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/26742/ .
· “Elite Meltdown” by Nancy Morgan dated August 16, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/elite_meltdown.html .
· “Manufactured Healthcare Crisis” by James Simpson dated August 16, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/manufactured_healthcare_crisis.html .
· “Beware the Counterrevolution” by Andrew Thomas dated August 16, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/beware_the_counterrevolution.html .
· “I Don’t Accept the Premise” by Andie Brownlow dated August 17, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/i_dont_accept_the_premise.html .
· “What Went Wrong” by Victor Davis Hanson dated August 17, 2009 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MWRmMjAxNmNhZDRhMjllYmFjYTZjYmRlYTZmYWNjYTA= .
· “The Array of WH ObamaCare Tactics Grows’” by Lee Cary dated August 17, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/the_array_of_wh_obamacare_tact.html .
· “Wicked, Lazy Servants’” by Jeff Emanuel dated August 17, 2009 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2009/08/17/wicked-lazy-servants .
· “When Out of Hope, Feign Change” by Michael F. Cannon dated August 17, 2009 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/MichaelFCannon/2009/08/17/when_out_of_hope,_feign_change .
· “ObamaCare and Hidden Agendas” by Randall Hoven dated August 18, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/obamacare_and_hidden_agendas.html .
· “Crackpot Co-Ops” dated August 18, 2009 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=335486312745503 .
· “Catch Me If You Can” by Peter Ferrara dated August 19, 2009 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2009/08/19/catch-me-if-you-can .
· “Health care debate confirms this is not the Barack Obama we elected” by Michael Goodwin dated August 19, 2009 published by New York Daily News at http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/columnists/goodwin/index.html .
· “Don’t like ObamaCare? Here’s an alternative” by Shawn Tully dated August 19, 2009 published by CNN Money at http://money.cnn.com/2009/08/18/news/economy/obamacare_alternative.fortune/index.htm .
· “Whose Medical Decisions? Part III” by Thomas Sowell dated August 20, 2009 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/Common/PrintPage.aspx?g=78ad262c-03ec-46fe-ac3f-425aae2361ed&t=c .
· “Zogby: Obama Hits Record Low in Poll” by David A. Patten dated August 20, 2009 published by News Max at http://www.newsmax.com/insidecover/obama_zogby_poll_health/2009/08/20/250566.html .
· “ObamaCare’s Bait and Switch” by Michael Tanner dated August 21, 2009 published by Front Page Magazine at http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=36015 .
· “GOP Must Embrace ‘The Vocal Majority’” by Gary Bauer dated August 21, 2009 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=33223 .
· “The Strange Case of the Obama Meltdown” by Victor Davis Hanson dated August 21, 2009 published by Pajamas Media at http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/the-strange-case-of-the-obama-meltdown/ .
· “Obama’s Big Bang could go bust” by Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei dated August 22, 2009 published by Politico at http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0809/26341.html .