A fool and his health insurance are soon parted. UPDATE: WH admits Obama can’t be trusted.
Obama was in Green Bay Wisconsin today, campaigning (his favorite pastime) for his healthcare agenda. In a town hall event, the President said many things — you may have heard, he likes the sound of his own voice. Obama’s main theme, however, was that his plan to completely remake the American healthcare system was, in the words of Douglas Adams, “mostly harmless.”
“If you’ve got health insurance that you’re happy with through the private sector, then we’re not going to force you to do anything.” That is a fairly direct and incontrovertible statement. He also said, “If they’re happy with what they’ve got, if they’re employed by somebody who provides them with good health care, you can keep it, you don’t have to do anything.” Again, another straightforward statement.
So my question is simple: how could you possibly believe him? President Obama has left a wake of direct and incontrovertible statements that have somehow been controverted by his administration. Here’s a sample (most are courtesy of Jim Geraghty at the CampaignSpot, who maintains a watchful eye):
- Obama promised his foreclosure prevention plan would “not help speculators who took risky bets on a rising market and bought homes not to live in but to sell.” It did just that.
- Regarding outsourcing, Obama said, “I’m going to stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, and start rebuilding the middle class by helping companies create jobs here.“ Notwithstanding Obama’s assurances, Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer said his company would be forced to move jobs overseas if Obama’s tax plan were made law.
- While selling the stimulus, Obama said “Yesterday, Jim, the head of Caterpillar, said that if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off.” The CEO made no such claim, and in fact, Caterpillar laid off 2,200 additional workers in spite of passage of the stimulus bill.
- On spending of the stimulus, Obama said, “We’re going to have to make sure that every single dollar is well spent. If we see money being misspent, we’re going to put a stop to it, and we will call it out and we will publicize it.” Just six days after he said that, the chief auditor of the stimulus admitted that some waste was inevitable. Indeed, three months hence, Stimu-Sheriff Joe Biden has admitted that understanding how the stimulus would “create or save” 600,000 jobs was “above my pay grade.“
- Obama has said lobbyists “won’t work in my White House,” he then signed an Executive Order to that effect. But Obama has hired so many lobbyists that today, Senator Chuck Grassley had to request that the administration provide a list of all waivers and recusals.
- “Now, what I’ve done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.” Obama’s spending has already increased the deficit beyond the combined deficits of all other Presidents. Yes, I said combined.
- On earmarks, Obama promised to eliminate them, saying “We can no longer accept a process that doles out earmarks based on a member of Congress’ seniority, rather than the merit of the project.“ And yet the first budget he signed contained over 8,570 earmarks worth nearly $8 billion, some of which he himself requested as a Senator from Illinois.
- Obama also promised transparency: “We will make sure every single tax break and earmark is available to every American online.“ The massive Google-like database Obama promised does not exist.
- “Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.“ On April 1, Obama enacted a 62% tax increase on cigarettes, without any exemption for those making less than $250,000 per year. (The tax increase was to fund free healthcare for middle class kids.) The administration is also considering taxes on alcohol, soft drinks, gambling, employer-provided health insurance and a broad Value Added Tax or VAT on all goods and services bought in the United States.
- “I will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.“ At the 100 day mark, Obama was 1-11 on this promise.
- Obama said he would “make sure we renegotiate” NAFTA to impose labor and environmental standards. The Obama administration announced in April that no renegotiation would take place.
- On April 24, the President promised a federal judge he would release controversial photographs of detainees being interrogated by CIA officials. On May 13, responding to political pressure, Obama reversed position. (I don’t know about you, but when I promise a federal judge something, I usually have to deliver.)
- During the campaign, Obama and Vice President Biden openly mocked Senator McCain’s plan to tax employer-provided health insurance, calling it “the largest increase on middle-class taxpayers in American history” (conveniently omitting the fact that the tax would be offset by a larger tax credit). Today, the Obama administration is considering the same tax, though without any offsetting tax credit.
- Yesterday Obama’s Treasury Secretary said that the administration had no interest in regulating pay of private companies. Today, another administration official said that compensation needed to be reigned in.
- Just today, the Washington Post noted that Obama’s agreement on mountaintop removal mining was contrary to campaign promises his environmental supporters relied on.
Now some people will say that these are campaign promises, which are always subject to change. Well, what is it that makes them any different than what Obama is saying in Green Bay? He is campaigning. And I would challenge anyone to compile a similar list of broken campaign promises for a president in office less than 6 months. And don’t think for a moment that the above is an exhaustive list. I have not discussed Armenian genocide, Israel, gay rights or other general transparency issues.
Others may say that there was some missing nuance or a change in circumstances or that the language above was taken out of context. Fair enough. You can rest assured that Obama and his defenders will make the same argument when your current healthcare provider is no longer available to you. There will suddenly be new found nuance in the phrase “If you’re happy with what you’ve got you can keep it.” Just as, at Manor Farm, where some animals were more equal than others. (The shrewd reader will notice that Obama promises that you can keep your private healthcare plan, but he does not promise that he won’t tax it.)
No rational person, in light of the facts, can reasonably take Obama at his word. Not just on healthcare, but on any issue. Obama is quickly running through whatever credibility he might have once had. This is, perhaps, the source of growing frequency with which Obama reminds us that, if we do not pass his healthcare plan now, we never will. And that is just what the doctor ordered.
UPDATE (June 19):
Well, that didn’t take long. The CBO has estimated that the current Democratic plan would force employers to terminate their existing healthcare coverage for employees. This, in turn, would force tens of millions of Americans to find a new healthcare plan or lose coverage entirely. In response, and this is not a joke, the administration’s official response was “oh, you can’t take Obama literally.”
Mark Twain once said, there are three types of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics. The fourth category is any statement made by Barack Obama. The man is a perpetual lying machine.