Views on the News
August 29, 2009
Views on the News*
Obama is a product of a marketing promotion and as the tea parties and town hall meetings are illustrating, Americans, including those who voted for Obama, are discovering that the change in Washington is not all that they had hoped for. Lauri B. Regan sees the Obama administration interjecting itself where no administration has dared to go and in areas in which our founding fathers had no intention of regulating. Americans are subjected to speech after speech, press conference, after press conference, and infomercial after infomercial in which Obama lectures us that his policies must be implemented immediately lest terrible devastation befall the country. Obama's scripted addresses contain lies, distortions, and threats with the goal of confusing and hindering independent thought. The insincerity of Obama's campaign promises becomes more evident with each passing day as he takes measure after measure to create a country in his own image while ignoring the wishes of Americans. He promised bipartisanship yet we are witnessing partisanship never before seen from an administration. He promised transparency and yet he has filled the White House offices with a cabal of czars who are answerable to no one and he attempts to pass legislation before anyone has the time to read it. He promised no new taxes on people making less than $250,000 and yet he passed a new tax on cigarettes and had his economic team float the prospect of a middle class tax as an inevitability. The citizenry is beginning to wake up; however, the dissension in this country between liberals and conservatives is growing at a breathtaking rate. The question is whether their complaints are falling upon deaf ears as they are accused of carrying swastikas and characterized as mobs by their elected officials who simply want to shut them up and make them go away through intimidation tactics. We are supposed to trust the government that ran Fannie Mae, Cash for Clunkers, the USPS, and Amtrak to make our medical decisions, our corporate decisions, and regulate away our freedoms. The Democrats who are the party of the right to choose are legislating away our right to choose, and they are succeeding right before the eyes of the people of this nation. Despite all the pushback received at all the town hall meeting, Obama is unleashing his DNC “community organizers,” Organizing for America (OFA), to conduct political infomercials selling his health care proposals, since apparently he neither listens to you nor cares what you think. Framed differently, these OFA activities aren't meant to convince attendees that healthcare is good; these activities are meant to manufacture the news, spread propaganda tropes, and over-inflate the image of the pro-socialized healthcare forces... in other words just more PR stunts.
President Obama's preferred method of implementing his leftist agenda is to rush emergency, must-sign-yesterday bills through Congress. Monte Kuligowski suggests forget reading the legislation; just trust Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer and Barney Frank with the details. The problem with this method is that when the details finally come out, it's too late for the people to do anything about it. President Obama's preferred method naturally fosters frustration and anger. Due to the economic "crisis," Obama and the far left element of the Democrat Party had to pass an emergency stimulus spending plan before anyone had time to read it. Afterwards, the public learned that the bulk of the emergency bill to save the economy in 2009 would not be implemented until 2010 and beyond. As the public learns of the legislation's massive waste and cronyism it is becoming apparent that the so-called “stimulus” was more about stimulating the power of the left than the economy. In just six months the administration has more than quadrupled the national debt, passed a $787 billion spending spree, pushed cap and trade (tax) through the House in the dark of night and is feverishly pushing for a radical overhaul of the entire health care system. The Obama team just announced that the federal budget deficit next year will be nearly 20% more than in their first forecast made only three months ago, and over the next ten years will be two trillion dollars more than they had predicted, and this does not include the impact of ObamaCare or “Cap & Trade” or anything else new! Obama is no doubt the most ideologically ambitious president in U.S. history. The key to understanding the public outrage at the town hall meetings is to understand that the outrage is multidimensional. It's not just about health care; it's about the audacity of Obama. How dare he speak of a new era of transparency as he tries to stuff more major, life-changing, yet unread legislation down our collective throats. “My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. . . . Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.“ Everything about the Obama presidency was built upon one fraud and hypocrisy after another, yet, his promise of "transparency" is particularly obscene. On the question of transparency Obama voters had to suspend their disbelief on a grand scale. After all, this is the man who still stubbornly refuses to release his records, including his long form birth certificate, showing the hospital and physician of record. Where he was born is not the point. The point is the man's lack of transparency and utter contempt for the people in arrogantly refusing to release his hospital, medical, school, college, and law school records and passports. Now “Mr. Transparency” pounds the table and foolishly demands that Congress have a "health care" bill on his desk before the August break. After having been all but worshipped as the liberal messiah, Obama's response to legitimate opposition was to dismiss it as annoying "chatter." After the chatter of the people rose to full-on protest, however, Obama was forced to give up the August deadline. Surely, Mr. Openness never intended to impose more costly and life-changing legislation on the people behind closed doors -- legislation that no one, including Obama himself, had fully read. Now the President wants the "mob" to calm down so we can have a civil but "vigorous" debate. One in which he and his friends in the "mainstream media” can dispel the "misrepresentations" of the misinformed. The latest headline from the starry-eyed press is that Obama is calling for an "honest debate," on health care. That's like the fox calling for an honest debate with the henhouse on egg preservation. But now there is a slight problem for the White House. After reading the proposed House bill the people, this time, have the facts. Those facts together with the analyses of the Congressional Budget Office, Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, Hoover Institution and other organizations unsurprisingly clash with the poll-tested rhetoric of the White House and the dittos of the "mainstream" media. What we are witnessing and what the White House fails to see is that the dog and pony show is over. Mr. Obama is repeating his poll-tested words about health care, but this time the people have the actual House bill and can separate talking points from reality. Regardless of whether Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress "go it alone" and push through their leftist longing for government controlled health care, the exposing of Obama's hypocrisy has begun. Think of the Great and Powerful Oz continuing to fake it even after the curtain is removed. So long as the Democrats remain in total control of the federal government Obama will be able to move around the levers and authoritatively speak into the microphone; but new elections are fast approaching. Many are awakening from their teleprompter-induced messianic trance, while the Obama media tries to replace the curtain, but regardless of how hard they try, they cannot keep the covering up indefinitely. No one can change the fact that behind the curtain stands an inexperienced ideologue who is hell-bent on remaking America.
One would have to go back to the 1930s or perhaps the 1970s to find an Administration as hostile to economic innovation and growth as this one is. Steve Forbes starts by looking at Franklin Roosevelt who clearly thought that the age of great industrial advancement was over and that it was Washington's task to increasingly regulate business while bashing the "selfishness" of "economic royalists" who were running American enterprises. The 1970s, especially during Jimmy Carter's presidency, were also antagonistic to commercial risk-taking. Washington is in a similar mood today. This Administration truly believes that the private sector is a destructive, unguided missile that needs the constant and close supervision of Washington politicians. They believe that without it we'd be subject to more disasters like the current financial crisis. Before anybody can invest in anything, Washington, in effect, would like investors to have to go through the equivalent of an environmental impact statement: entrepreneurs, executives and investors cannot be left to their own devices. Thus, the capital gains tax will be increased next year by at least one-third, and the personal tax on dividends will probably be doubled. The Administration will do nothing to mitigate the toxicity of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (Sarbox), which was created in haste in 2002 to prevent corporate fraud and excesses. One harmful side effect of Sarbox is that it disproportionately hurts small businesses by burdening them with relatively huge accounting compliance costs and is therefore a barrier to smallish companies going public. The Obama Administration's weak-dollar policy, inherited from the Bush Administration, also inhibits productive, robust risk-taking. It's no coincidence that when Ronald Reagan and Paul Volcker ended the Great Inflation of 1968--82 venture capital exploded, and Silicon Valley took off like a rocket. The U.S., and then the global economy, began an extraordinary quarter-century of expansion and breathtaking innovation. But the Obama-ites think the prosperity of 1982--2007 is suspect and that they must keep business entrepreneurial impulses firmly in check. Thus the howls from VCs and entrepreneurs are music to Washington's ears. Filling out forms will sidetrack venture capitalists. Even if they pick a winner, they'll have difficulty launching an IPO to cash out and redeploy their capital. Successful risk-taking will be punished with higher investment taxes. Not a pretty picture, is it? President Obama should take note: Roosevelt-like stimulus packages and government intervention in the economy are counterproductive. The overall economy is under attack as well. The AVERAGE annual deficit of $905 billion that the White House says the Obama administration now envisions the government running over the next ten years will be almost TWICE AS LARGE as the LARGEST deficit the United States ever ran before Obama entered office. The total national debt is now $11.73 trillion, but under the new deficit spending President Obama has planned, the national debt will reach $20.78 trillion in 2019. If the economy does not grow as rapidly as the White House now predicts, the average annual deficits will be larger than the $905 billion the White House anticipates, and the national debt will grow by more over the next decade than the $9.05 trillion the White House now estimates. If the current economic recovery remains sluggish, President Obama and the Democrats will be hit hard at the ballot box.
The slow, ugly death of health care reform reflects the left's deep crush with “crises” as both a cause for action, any action, as long as it expands the size and reach of government. Bruce Walker identified government as a necessary evil and even Marxists dream of a distant future in which the state will "whither away." Global Warming is a “crisis,” even though there is a profound disagreement among scientists about which direction the climate is changing and whether people can have any significant impact upon any change that is taking place. Periodically we are informed that there is an infrastructure “crisis” -- roads, bridges, water lines, school buildings, etc. are wearing out because they are getting older. The largely mythical "Hunger in America" in the 1960s was a “crisis” which produced the Food Stamp Program, and now leftists' planners warn us that obesity is the most serious health problem of the poor. Monumental levels of government "stimulus" spending were supposed to end the economic crisis. And now we face a health care crisis. Economies are intended to fluctuate -- there would be little reason for a stock market if economies were static -- and almost everything that the left deems a "crisis" is simply the natural process of change in any normal society. Obama and his disciples have a single, old, failed model for society: central planning by bureaucrats. Replicating the Fabian Socialists of Britain, the New Deal, and the other myriad examples over the last century, from National Socialism's highly planned system of economic development and health services, to old style, hopelessly obsolete labor unions, is the dream of Obama. There is no health care “crisis,” and the problems which exist in any system are being quietly, privately, addressed. Perhaps the most profound repudiation of the Marxist notion of capitalists acting as soulless competitors grinding down the poor is vast outpouring of private contributions and donated services not just for family and neighbors, but for total strangers. What is our health care "crisis?" It is a crisis of government bureaucrats who take years to allow effective, often inexpensive, drugs which have been used in Europe to be used in America. It is a crisis of rapacious trial lawyers who never heal anyone, but who transfer massive amounts of money used for medical purposes into mansions and expensive law offices. It is a morass of federal regulation of state medical assistance programs, so that federal regulations rather than common sense dictate how state governments care for their citizens? Despite the depictions from the left, our “crisis” is essentially imaginary. Information about medical care and procedures among patients is increasing exponentially because of the internet, as well as support groups which provide real experiences and also moral support. Miracle drugs, which cost a lot, are still miracle drugs, and the pool of cheap, good, generic drugs grows virtually every day. Without incentives or threats, those Americans who wish to live healthy lives through exercise, diet, abstinence from dangerous habits, and so forth, make that choice. Meanwhile a profoundly compassionate American society is providing much of what is still lacking.
ObamaCare is a bait and switch approach to nationalize the health industry and is being sold based on half-truths and outright fabrications. The heart of the Obama reform is to treat health insurance companies as national public utilities that eventually dictate the medical care for all American citizens. The federal government would determine the benefit packages that health insurers could offer, and pricing decisions would be strictly limited and profits capped. An essential element of the reform is a mandate that everyone must purchase health insurance, with the public option being the default health care option. The notion that such an entity can exist without the government showing such favoritism that private competitors eventually die out defies logic and history. We all know that when the government is setting the rules and is backed by tax dollars, it will destroy, not compete, with the private sector. Obama is selling government health care by repeating liberal talking points and refuting what he terms as “misinformation” with boilerplate justification that may be inially true but quickly dissolves over time or misleading intentional obfuscation:
· If you like your current health plan you can keep it. This promise is only true on day one because existing plans are being grandfathered in, but only for five years. After that, they have to meet the new federal mandates, whatever they turn out to be. In the interim, they can accept no new enrollees. All new enrollees or those who desire to change plans would be required to use the public plan. More fundamentally, the Obama reforms completely scramble the health care market. There will be new governmental mandates, huge new individual subsidies and different tax treatments. When liberals talk to each other, they explicitly admit that the public option is designed to kill private insurance so the government can eventually take complete control.
· Illegal aliens won't be covered There is indeed a clause in the House bill that says illegal aliens aren't covered, but there's no enforcement provision. The legislation contains no verification mechanism to ensure that illegal immigrants do not apply for benefits. In other words, the Democrats can claim that illegal aliens won't be covered by the bill and even point to a provision in it that says it won't happen. Meanwhile, if the health care bill passes, millions of illegal aliens can apply for and receive their health care, just as the Democrats planned all along.
· Abortion won't be covered by the bill. This is another clever sleight of hand designed to fool the American public. Historically the federal government has funded abortions except when there was an explicit prohibition written into the law. This bill would fund abortion because there is no explicit prohibition, so abortion will be funded by default. Obama defines reproductive health care as an essential service and it would be defined as a mandate that any private insurance companies wanting to participate would also be required to provide abortion coverage. This technique also opens the door for government money to pay for such things as cosmetic surgery and transgender surgery. These mandates are not explicitly identified in the current plans and are “delegated” to the Department of Health and Human Services, and would be added after the bill passes..
· The health care bill will lower costs: This is perhaps the single most dishonest claim about the whole bill, especially given that Medicare's current unfunded liability is 34 trillion dollars. How in the world are the same people running a program that's on track to bankrupt the entire country supposed to create a newer, larger program that's going to actually lower the cost of health care? Estimates of how much the bill will add to the deficit range from a few hundred billion to $3.5 trillion dollars plus, but these are likely to dramatically underestimate the costs for two reasons. One technique to hide the real costs by phasing-in coverage of Americans under the plan starting in six to 10 years. That's because the Democratic plan in the House will start collecting revenues in 2011 but won't start providing coverage until 2013 and won't be fully implemented until 2015. At a time when we're running the largest deficit in history and spending at an unsustainable level, can we afford to create yet another massive entitlement program?
· There will be no rationing of health care. There is no "death panel" in the bills but Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research Boards will decide how well treatments and drugs work and who should receive them. “End-of-Life Counseling” will be available and doctors will be incented to counsel patients on how to plan for health contingencies. When drugs are deemed prohibitively expensive, coverage can be denied and other alternatives like ”doctor-assisted suicide” may be offered. Democrats also say their plan will cover a lot more Americans, but there are no provisions in it to add any new doctors or nurses. One of the ways they're going to save money is by simply refusing to pay hospitals the full value of what their services are worth. Take any business and dramatically increase the number of customers they're serving with the same staff while significantly decreasing the amount of money per customer they receive, and you're going to get a drop-off in quality.
When specific enforcement language to HR3200 was proposed to close many of these loopholes, they were defeated by party-line votes. Obama claimed that cutting costs is dear to his heart, but he's rejected, for purely political reasons, one of the most effective tools for containing medical costs. More than 70% of American people no longer believe the inflated claims that Obama routinely makes about this health care overhaul. The latest Rasmussen Reports survey show that 53% of voters nationwide oppose the plan working its way through Congress. Americans don't want socialism and any compromise is actually statist incrementalism and a step in the wrong direction. One of the reasons the health bills are so long is to “boil the frog” by masking the incremental nature of the changes that transform our private health care industry into a single-payer government nationalized health system.
Obama is getting a double benefit by investigating CIA interrogators: red meat prosecutions for his anti-war leftist base while distracting the American public from his deteriorating health care reform. By authorizing Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to determine whether a full criminal investigation of CIA employees and contractors is warranted for the manner in which they interrogated captured terrorists, the President has thrown his power and support behind those far-left ideologues, in Congress and elsewhere, who believe that the CIA is a bigger threat to our country than al Qaeda. The probe is a nakedly political, banana republic-style criminalizing of policy differences and political rivalry. The release of the 2004 CIA inspector general's report on the agency’s detention and interrogation of terror suspects describes a well-run, highly disciplined CIA interrogation program, where clear guidelines were established and abuses or deviations from approved techniques were stopped, reported and addressed. Now that classified after action reports have been released, the CIA's interrogation practices were proven effective at uncovering and saved American lives. In summary the program was thoughtfully developed, carefully circumscribed, briefed to Congress, and yielded information crucial to disrupting al Qaeda. In other words, it worked—at least until politics got in the way. Both Obama and Holder promised their antiwar base just this sort of “inquisition” during the 2008 campaign. Holder is also anxiously awaiting the release of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Responsibility report on whether former Bush Justice lawyers should be cited for misconduct for providing the CIA with “legal opinions” about these interrogations, further politicizing the Global War on Terror. It will be a watershed in American history if lawyers from the current administration prosecute lawyers from the previous administration because they disagree with their legal opinions. On the foreign front, liberals might be wondering why they elected Obama. On the domestic front, Obama likely realizes that he may have to pull in his horns on healthcare and accept some sort of compromise which may not endear him to his constituency. So he has decided to throw a few CIA interrogators to the wolves. The outrage is that, years later, when the political winds have shifted and there hasn't been another attack, our politicians would punish the men and women who did their best to protect Americans in a time of peril. Forty-nine percent (49%) of U.S. voters disagree with the Justice Department’s decision to investigate the treatment and ossible torture of terrorists during the Bush administration, according to a new Rasmussen Reports. When all is said and done, this will turn out to be just another partisan witch hunt to go back and “bayonet the wounded,” but ultimately prove everything was approved and legal!
* 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:
· Immigration at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/immigration.html
This Week’s Best Articles:
· “Obama’s Health Care Whopper is Bigger” by Robert Robb dated August 22, 2009 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/08/22/obamas_health_care_whopper_is_bigger_97989.html .
· “Government Knows Best” by Lauri B. Regan dated August 23, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/government_knows_best.html .
· “Infatuation with Crisis” by Bruce Walker dated August 24, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/infatuation_with_crisis.html .
· “5 Liberal Lies About ObamaCare” by John Hawkins dated August 25, 2009 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/JohnHawkins/2009/08/25/5_liberal_lies_about_obamacare .
· “Dirty Secret No. 3 in ObamaCare” by Chuck Norris dated August 25, 2009 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/ChuckNorris/2009/08/25/dirty_secret_no_3_in_obamacare .
· “Doctor Obama and the Hypocrites Oath” by Monte Kuligowski dated August 25, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/dr_obama_and_the_hypocrites_oa.html .
· “Retarding Recovery” by Steve Forbes dated August 25, 2009 published by Forbes Magazine at http://www.forbes.com/2009/08/19/fact-and-comment-opinions-steve-forbes.html .
· “An Anemic Recovery for the U.S. Economy” by Donald Lambro dated August 25, 2009 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/DonaldLambro/2009/08/25/an_anemic_recovery_for_the_us_economy .
· “Obama Versus the CIA” by Marc A. Thiessen dated August 25, 2009 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203706604574372741490792758.html .
· “It’s official: Obamanomics has failed” by William Tate dated August 26, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/its_official_obamanomics_has_f.html .
· “White House power grabs” by Monica Crowley dated August 26, 2009 published by The Washington Times at http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/26/white-house-power-grabs/ .
· “The Stimulus Is Definitely Working?!” by Thomas F. Cooley and Peter Rupert dated August 26, 2009 published by Forbes Magazine at http://www.forbes.com/2009/08/25/christina-romer-stimulus-consumption-peter-rupert-opinions-columnists-thomas-f-cooley.html .
· “What the President’s Attack on the CIA Really Means” by Herbert Meyer dated August 26, 2009 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/08/26/what_the_presidents_attack_on_the_cia_really_means_98045.html .
· “Worse and Worser” by Randall Hoven dated August 27, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/worse_and_worser.html .
· “Barack Obama doesn’t care what you think” by Drew Brown dated August 27, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/barack_obama_doesnt_care_what_1.html .
· “Obama Goes After CIA to Appease Left” by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann dated August 27, 2009 published by News Max at http://www.newsmax.com/morris/obama_cia_holder/2009/08/27/252988.html .
· “What Made KSM Talk?” by Thomas Joscelyn dated August 27, 2009 published by The Weekly Standard at http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/08/what_made_ksm_talk.asp .
· “The War on Terror is Dead” by Daniel Henniger dated August 27, 2009 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/08/27/lawyers_are_about_to_smother_the_war_on_terror_98060.html .
· “The Real CIA News” by dated August 27, 2009 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203706604574375012840827276.html .
· “Obama’s ‘Path Toward Fiscal Discipline’ is Paved with Average Annual Deficits of $900 Billion, Says White House Report” by Terence P. Jeffrey dated August 27, 2009 published by Cybercast News Service at http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/53171 .
· “Eric Holder’s Hidden Agenda” by Andrew C. McCarthy dated August 28, 2009 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZGMyYTQ1ZTM5YTQ5NjJjNzJmNGUxZDIyOTFjYzIyM2Y= .
· “Demonizing the defenders” by Clifford D. May dated August 29, 2009 published by The Washington Times at http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/29/demonizing-the-defenders/ .