What is going on here?
By “here,” I mean in the United States for the last year or so. And I don’t mean to imply that I have an answer.
In the last 12 months, an extremely junior Senator from an extremely leftist and corrupt area of Illinois has been transformed into a savior, rescuing us from the ravages of the Bush Administration. Nothing he could say was recognized publicly as the sophomoric soporific inanity that it was. His pronouncements have been self-contradictory and frankly far-fetched, nay unworkable, nay impossibly unattainable. His campaign promises were so outrageous that they seemed to be beyond contradiction–how does one argue with insanity? He promised “hope” as if he were a revival preacher, and “change” without saying just what would change, in what direction, and how it would be paid for. In fact, he promised it would be free!
Yet the Constitutionally protected press didn’t seem to notice. Not a word of question when he found himself unable to complete a sentence because his teleprompter was running slower than his mouth. No lifted eyebrows when he named a well-recognized doofus as his running mate. Nope, just “Isn’t that amazing! Out of the box thinking!” And, “There isn’t a nicer guy in DC than good ol’ Joe. He even rides the train to work.”
But let’s move on to something more concrete.
He forced through a “stimulus” package and signed it without following any of the campaign promises he’d made regarding publicity for new bills or five days of review on-line. He claimed it was imperative, to keep unemployment rates below 8%. It was heavily back-loaded, with little of the appropriated money actually directed at the areas of the economy that could help turn things around fast. It cost a trillion dollars, yet he didn’t seem to mind that. “I’ll cut the deficit in half in my first term,” he said. And the adoring masses didn’t notice that the deficit would still be twice what it was at its highest under the hated Bush Regime, which was fighting two fronts of a foreign war at the time. Now, unemployment rates are approaching 10% and likely to go higher, while the “extreme emergency stimulus spending package” has only disbursed about 5% of its appropriation after four months of availability. And the press actually reports that President Obama had “predicted” that jobless rates would skyrocket this way. They ignore the fact that his prediction was premised on the stimulus package not being passed.
Then he decided to buy both General Motors and Chrysler with borrowed taxpayer money, abrogate the contacts both companies had with their dealers and bond holders, and give their assets to another private company, Fiat (Chrysler), and to the UAW, (GM). This was to avoid bankruptcy for both firms and “protect American jobs.” The press barely noticed how the law was being circumvented. Once the takeover was complete, GM declared bankruptcy anyway. And President Obama declared that he “had no desire to run an auto company” after naming a “Car Czar” to run the company, who would report directly to the President. Meanwhile, GM announced that it would be expanding its European operations (not US), and of course Fiat is an Italian company, and not one known for great engineering or marketing acumen. Oh, yes,
President Obama forced Chrysler into federal bankruptcy protection on Thursday so it could pursue a lifesaving alliance with the Italian automaker Fiat, in yet another extraordinary intervention into private industry by the federal government.–New York Times, 05/01/2009
So much for avoiding bankruptcy, but they did avoid the bankruptcy laws. And all those jobs they were going to save apparently didn’t include the auto dealers they forced out of business.
Next up, Cap and Trade, or Cap and Tax as it’s known in the conservative blogosphere. It was rushed through the House, again without the promised public review time, in fact without time for Representatives to even read the thing. It doesn’t do much, if anything, to clean out our air, but it will do plenty to clean out our checking accounts. Against all the evidence, President Obama touts it as a bill that will actually save us money, even though it will help push us from a known, inexpensive technology (based on a natural resource we have plenty of) into dependence on some pie-in-the-sky technology which nobody even knows is workable, and which today is god-awful expensive. Major beneficiaries of the bill include some major benefactors of Candidate Obama, such as General Electric. But I don’t intend to dwell.
Let’s go to the infamous “health care” issue. We are being told that if we force the 40 million (that’s 40,000,000, accepted common knowledge) people in the US who do not have “health care” (actually, they have no formal health insurance) to buy into government controlled health insurance, their health care will be improved and it will actually cost less (in total) than what the country spends today (in total). Assuming there are 260 million people in the US who do have health insurance of some kind, that means we can somehow increase the number of people with health insurance by 15%, without reducing the quality or quantity of health care of the original 260 million, while reducing the total cost of it all.
Just think about that. President Obama is promising us something for nothing. In fact, he’s promising us something and a rebate. Now, what did your parents tell you about “something for nothing”? What about TANSTAAFL? Didn’t even Bernie Madoff wake anybody up?
The claim is made that the government can run a health insurance plan better and cheaper than can private insurers, because the government “won’t have to be interested in making a profit.” To bureaucrats, “making a profit” means “squeezing the customers until their eyes pop out.” To a successful businessman, it means “watching expenses to keep them down, while giving the customer what he wants, and leaving some margin for profit after paying the highest business tax rates in the developed world.”
One way they claim they can do better is by economy of scale (and coercion)–they’ll force doctors and hospitals to take less pay for their work. Same, I suppose, for other types of medical providers–ambulance services, pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, makers (and inventors) of medical equipment, and medical researchers. They don’t say why this won’t gradually force more and more of these providers either out of the business, or out of the US. There is a shortage of medical doctors already–how will cutting their anticipated pay help recruit more of them? Oh, yes, they also claim that one reason they have to insinuate themselves into the practice of medicine is to prop up failing local hospitals. And they plan to do this by cutting reimbursement to those hospitals. This makes sense to whom????!!!!????!!!!
President Obama’s lackeys appeared everywhere today, I’m sure, trying to overcome the devastating testimony of the CBO this week, that there was no saving in the proposed legislation. They tried to explain that it’s “deficit neutral” because it’ll save this here, and that there, and the $250 billion over-run (that’s about $1,000 for each legal resident of the US. The actual cost will be about a trillion dollars over ten years–that’s $1,000,000,000,000, four times the over-run, and a million millions) they aren’t saving because they aren’t going to reduce payments to Medicare after all (or was it Medicaide?) doesn’t count.
Right. And you and I don’t count either, because we apparently can’t count. If we could, we’d be burning down buildings in DC to show our outrage at having people in positions of power who seem to believe they can say “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” forever and get away with it, just because they’ve gotten away with it for a year. And I must mention that of those 40 million “uninsured,” only about 16 million of them will be insured after the trillion dollars has been spent. That makes it $62,500 per new insuree.
It is literally IMPOSSIBLE for these screwball schemes of President Obama to work. There is no way for them to work. Not only that, if they are implemented, things will get worse, not better. Fewer doctors will have more patients to treat. More patients will be turned away, and more will be misdiagnosed due to the constraints of time and a reduction in available diagnostic tests. There will be less innovative use of medicines and technology. There will be less technology available to work with, as companies will have a higher threshhold to meet for medical equipment R&D to become profitable. The expense of university-based research will fall more and more on the taxpayers’ shoulders as private providers will no longer find it feasible to make the effort.
And private insurers will lose business to the tax-subsidized government plan, as businesses recognize they have to throw their employees off their existing plans to compete with all their competitiors who are doing the same thing. In time, there will be no affordable private health insurance. It will be a luxury for the wealthy, if it exists at all. It will truly be a takeover of the health care sector by the govenment.
Finally, Republicans, do not fall prey to the accusation that you are “absent without permission” in the search for better health services. Educate yourselves. Learn the history of medicine. Almost none of the advances of modern medicine have been made by government-directed practitioners. Individuals and private companies, perhaps some with government grants, have done the bulk of the work in eradicating many diseases and developing the technologies that are considered necessary for modern diagnostic procedures and treatment. By protecting the free market approach to medical treatment, you are protecting our access to affordable and available health care.
So, what is going on here? It’s pretty clear, even to me, that President Obama is telling us that 5 plus 5 equals 4, the moon is made of green cheese, and that there won’t be runaway inflation or onerous tax burdens when he passes his agenda. And it’s clear that he can’t be correct.
Why isn’t that clear to everybody, including the press that loves him so?