Archive for the ‘Obama Care’ Category

It turns out Obamacare–which expanded government benefits dramatically to the uninsured–will not save money, as Obama promised quite unbelievably a few months ago:

Did you see the new reports last week that – once again, big surprise – Obamacare is not going to lower our deficits as promised? Medicare’s chief actuary says it will add $311 billion to health care costs over the next 10 years. That doesn’t include the Congressional Budget Office projections that our premiums will be going up too.

Sure, President Barack Obama did look right into the TV cameras and pledge to you that his plan wouldn’t raise deficits “not by a single nickel.” And yes, members of Congress echoed that claim when they threw their support in too.

Just six weeks later and we’re already finding out Washington had the math all wrong.

Gee, who could have seen that coming? Other than the millions of Tea Party protesters, that is. Oh, and the 66 percent of Americans who told pollsters before the bill even passed that they knew it would bust the budget.

I can’t say I’m shocked.  Since this thing takes a while to ramp up, perhaps it will be significantly defanged or turned over in November.  It’s hard to say.  Of course many other enormous, structural problems remain with the welfare/entitlement state, and the lack of new wealth creation (and the destruction of the temporary enabler of credit) portends a rough decade.  I feel like I’m living in the 70s.  Yet somehow everybody seems to be able to scrape together the dough for a fancy new cell phone every other year.  These are contrary indicators.  Well, I guess disposable income shoots right up when you quit paying your mortgage!

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Media Complicity

Ace hits the nail on the head in a recent entry. You would have thought abortion was a minor issue in the health care debate. You might not have even realized the House plan and ever-morphing Obama non-plan covered abortion. But it turns out it may split the Democratic coalition and this news has been a long time coming, but the media wanted it to be kept under wraps:

The media is never interested in covering wedge issues that effect Democrats. A wedge issue is any issue that divides the party. They’re always damaging in terms of getting elected or getting legislation passed, because, if there is a resolution on the issue, it is clear one wing has won and another wing has lost, and that causes all the internecine fighting we see all the time on the Republican side of the aisle.

A party’s best strategy — as far as simply acquiring and maintaining political power — is to obscure these wedge issues, ignore them, finesse them, leave them unresolved, to keep it unclear as possible who has won and who has lost.

And then, only later, once they’ve accomplished their short-term goals, do they deal with the political fall-out.

It is against a party’s interests to see these splits come to the forefront before they’ve achieved their short-term goals.

Clarity, in other words, hurts in politics. Witness Obama’s gauzy, empty campaign of change and hope without many people knowing what that meant. Liberals, leftists, independents and even some Republicans each read those empty words in a different way, each believing Obama would govern as they preferred.

Three of those groups were wrong. Had Obama been clear about his intentions and politics, three of those groups would have known they would be in the Out Group in any Obama presidency, and would have voted differently.

But because the media gave Obama a free pass on remaining utterly obscure, he prevailed.

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This is called doubling down on a failed p.r. strategy: Nancy Pelosi calls protesters at health care town halls “un-American.” This after a few weeks of calling them “mobs” and similar calumnies.

I think whenever the legitimacy of opposition is questioned, as when Bush and Cheney suggested some anti-war protesters were unpatriotic, that is strong language that galvanizes one’s opposition and makes the speaker appear unhinged and afraid of criticism. Since Obama and his people have not made a positive case for health care reform, they’re now just going on the attack to distract the public from their lack of a persuasive and clear proposal.

At least Clinton’s ’94 proposal had a simple logic: there’s 40mm uninsured Americans, and his plan would entail universal coverage. Obama’s plan does not have universal coverage, and the plan is being promoted in wonkish detail without a unifying narrative: it will reduce costs supposedly, but it will not ration; it will cut from Medicare; it will wean people off private insurance; it may or may not fund abortion; it may or may not cut care to the elderly; it will allow you to keep your doctor, but what it won’t allow and how it will save costs and not raise taxes is still hazy.

All the public choice factors are in place for weak support and strong opposition. The people who care about health care the most–the long-term ill, doctors, the elderly with their gold-plated and highly subsidized Medicare–have no reason to embrace this unknown change, and neither is there any basis with which to create less passionate but more widespread support among the rest of us. It’s all pain and no apparent gain, it sounds expensive, and they haven’t even come up with a basic theme of what the benefits are. This is pathetic salesmanship. It mirrors the campaign with its glittering generalities, but here the object is not a charismatic leader who will supposedly heal our divisions, but a law with practical, indeed, life-and-death, consequences.

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