Monday, February 22, 2010

ObamaCare Takes Hard Left Turn

This morning President Obama unveiled a new version of ObamaCare. If you believe the MSM, the reason was a last ditch effort to save health care reform and to get the public’s support for his “negotiations” (read: trap) with the Republicans on health care. Not quite. This bill is an attempt to energize the left, and it takes a disturbingly hard left turn. . . one that deserves the dreaded "S" word.

Let’s start by pointing out that nothing the Congressional Democrats have done with health care could be called “center,” “center right,” or even “center left.” Their plans have involved pure, old-fashioned liberalism: direct government participation in the market, massive regulation of private enterprise, forced participation by the public, unaffordable promises of subsidies, a one-size-fits-all plan for the little people, and soaking the rich and evil corporations to pay for this healthtopia.

Let’s also point out that during this entire debate, Obama remained conspicuously silent. Even his speech to save health care was vague and noncommittal. The reason for this was not, as the MSM would have it, to avoid Bill Clinton’s mistake of being too forceful. The reason was that Team Obama simply didn’t have a plan. Indeed, to this day, they still have no ideas. They have wants. . . a wishlist, but they have no idea how to implement those wishes. Thus, rather than expose their inadequacies, they deferred to Congress -- creating a royal mess. In fact, Obama’s refusal to referee disputes between Democrats was the key factor in creating the chaos that ensued (even the MSM is starting to catch on to this).

So what’s changed? Why ObamaCare 2.0?

Obama needed to reconnect with his hard left flank. They are furious that they’ve gotten nothing from him and his Democratic super-majorities, and they now lay the blame at his doorstep. Unless he can change this and inspire them, they will sit out the next two elections and the Democrats will get slaughtered. Hence, ObamaCare 2.0.

What Obama has done in this version 2.0 is take the Senate bill and add a few panderings to placate his left flank. Here are some of the new provisions that should worry you:

• The prior versions prevented insurance companies from rejecting people for pre-existing conditions, but they didn’t control what the insurers could charge for such policies. This version does. In fact, this version would prohibit insurers from charging more for pre-existing conditions period. In other words, the guy who needs the heart and lung transplant pays the same as the healthy 20 year old.

• This version all but eliminates the tax on Cadillac plans, to placate the unions. Why is that bad (beside the pure politics of it?). Well, to make up the missing tax revenue, this bill (1) increases the payroll tax on "the rich" (read: "the employed") AND (2) it changes the way Medicare taxes are determined -- they would now be based on your total income (including investment income, interest, rents, etc.) rather than being merely a payroll tax. . . so much for encouraging savings, and (3) an increase in the capital gains tax. All of these are direct job killers.

Of course, on the plus side, everyone will now have to file taxes and that’s a good thing because it eliminates the something-for-nothing mentality created when 40% of people were taken off the tax rolls.

• Finally, and most importantly, it would give the federal government the power to regulate the health insurance industry like a public utility, meaning a board of seven HHS employees would be able to (1) block premium increases, (2) set premium rates, and (3) demand rebates for consumers.

That’s called “price control” and it didn’t work for Richard Nixon and it didn’t work for the Soviets. So why is Obama channeling Nixon. . . or Brezhnev?
I do not use the word “socialism” lightly, as you’ve no doubt learned from reading this blog, but this is pure socialism. This moves so far beyond mere liberalism that it is shocking that an American President would suggest it. It is even more shocking, given the 100% failure rate of such policies in the past, that anyone with a brain would try this again.


StanH said...

Barry the Bolshevik strikes again. A rigid ideologue who only knows one trick, government solutions. I expect him to bounce off this wall until a) healthcare passes, or b) he’s carried away in a straight jacket…I think the latter would be fun!

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, That would be fun to watch. . . see the Secret Service talking him down off the roof as he's got underwear wrapped around his head.

In all truth, I don't think Obama cares if he gets this. He knows he has no chance. What I think he's trying to do is to excite his base about "what could have been". That way they turn out and he survives election and he can keep handing out the goodies to his friends.

Unknown said...

Andrew: It just gets worse and worse. Despite his denials of what he has said in the recent past, Obama wants single-payer socialized medicine, and if he can only get it in small bites, he'll take it that way. Now we have a Senate Majority leader who claimed to be working with the Republicans as Obama wished (yeah, right). Reid arbitrarily, and without consultation with any Republicans, cut the original $85 billion bill to $15 billion (I think) so that only the tax-cheaters, the non-workers, and the union employees benefit from a program that neither party should have supported in the first place.

So now we're going to see that "reconciliation" maneuver that was supposedly dead. Dead--like Dracula. It's time to get out the stakes and the torches. And for anyone who thought that the overwrought but accurate description of the "death panels" was a thing of the past--stick around. They can call the HHS czars whatever they want--it's still a death panel.

You are so right. Obama is a coward who won't enter the fray for fear of getting his skirts dirty, so he leaves it to a totally dysfunctional Congress to dress up his socialist plan in "loving and caring" psychobabble and false promises.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Doing the reconcilliation would be a huge mistake. Not only would that completely ignite the population -- ending any hope most of the Democrats had of re-election, but it would fail. Half a bill just can't live very long, and I suspect that the first order of business for the new Republican majorities would be to repeal the half-beast (and if they couldn't do that, they would deny it funding).

I think what we are hearing now is all talk aimed at getting their base excited. But I think the Dems have missed the point -- their base no longer accepts talk.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I think Pelosi and Reid are not merely pandering to their base, they really want this. But that doesn't mean that Obama really means it (for now), so I'm very sure you're right about reconciliation not working (still, I think Reid and Pelosi will try, in earnest, and fail). Obama really is just pandering. Even he couldn't be stupid enough to think that the Democrats could survive flouting the clear will of the American people. Thus, he will pander, and leave it to the leftists in Congress to commit public suicide. Moderate and toss-up state Democrats aren't going to go along with this.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I view Obama as very different that Pelosi and Reid. Pelosi and Reid are clearly ideologs who want to ram through their far left agenda while they can.

Obama strikes me more as an empty suit who was put into place by his Chicago buddies for the sole purpose of raiding the treasury. I honestly get the feeling he doesn't care what the ideologs get or not so long as it doesn't make his life harder.

Writer X said...

Andrew, this really is like a Thelma & Louise attempt by Obama. Where else can this go but off the cliff? And do you think he has the 51 votes (is that all that's needed for the Reconciliation vote?). The news anchors and reporters barely know how to explain this thing, it's become so twisted and blatantly corrupt.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, Good analogy!

I think Obama knows this is a non-starter. But it is good politics because he's got the MSM to do his bidding. So they will mindlessly sell this as him putting out a "compromise proposal", and they'll run with the story that the evil Republicans are trying to stop him and his sincere efforts at compromise. . . boo hoo hoo -- all the time ignoring the fact that his "compromise proposal" is further left than what's already been objected to by the Reps.

This will also satisfy his base, who have proven that they aren't smart enough to look for deeds rather than intentions.

In terms of reconciliation, they certainly have the 51 votes needed to pass what they need to pass. The problem is that the Republicans can shut down the Senate on some unrelated bill and keep them from ever getting to a vote. Could they find a way to maneuver around that? Possibly, but the consequences will be a truly poisonous atmosphere and probably true gridlock -- not phony MSM gridlock.

StanH said...

That’s a wonderful image Andrew! LOL!

I wouldn’t put it past these clowns to attempt Reconciliation, or as it used to be called the Nuclear Option, when some on the right wanted “W” to use 51 votes to get several judges on the bench. It was a bad idea then and it’s a bad idea now. Not to mention this is a callous push to force a law against the will of the governed, never a wise move.

AndrewPrice said...

You're right Stan, it's never wise to go against the will of the people. But you never know with this crowd if they're going to try that or not? They don't seem to be able to hear (or understand) the people. We'll see. . .

BevfromNYC said...

So how did Obama managed to boil this down to 11 pages. Of course it's just a wish list, but 11 pages?

He is just trying to set up the Republicans. They better bring something to the table or it will be a MSM field day.

Individualist said...


I am not sure as to the correct definition of socialism. I understand in general its precepts.

I know that Communism is a system whereby the people are represented through a party that will command the economy. While I believe that Obama has many Marxist leanings I don't see this as correctly defined as Marxist.

Fascism as I understand it is allowing corporations to exist but the government controls them by ownership of the stock. Obama has implemented this policy in taking stock in banks and GM. I heard there will be an IPO for GM but I doubt the government will not retain with minority interest (20% is my prediction). However what you describe is not yet complete Fascism.

What you are describing is something that in small measures is not new to the US. It just has not been implemented on this large a scale. This is Government control over the means of production via legislation and fiat.

You and Andrew speak of future Republicans blocking this but I suspect we may need 60 votes ourselves. If this passes my fear is that our task will be to unscramble an egg. How do we do that?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I look at it this way, if he can do it, then why couldn't Baucus -- we should demand that they shorten the Baucus bill!

AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, Here's the distinction.

Communism means no private ownership at all -- everything is owned by "the people" (or the state on behalf of the people).

Socialism means a mix of private and state ownership. The degree of state ownership is usually where people draw the line. For example, 1970s style socialism involved the nationalization of most "important" industries. This meant the creation of government-owned corporations (with government controlled boards) which would run various parts of the economy as an oligopoly.

By comparison, 1990s style Euro-socialism means much more limited government ownership, but extensive government control through regulation and high taxes. It’s basically socialism that has learned to exploit some parts of the private market. (Which is much closer to what we have here.)

Fascism is actually a misnomer. It's just hard-core 1970s socialism with a militaristic leader.

What Obama is proposing here is near-nationalization of the health insurance industry (and thereby the entire health care industry). This is much closer to the 1970s version of socialism than the 1990s Euro-"soft"-socialism. By comparison, the Baucus plan was more like the 1990s Euro-socialism in that it relied mostly on private companies to continue running the health care world, though with additional regulations imposed on them.

That’s why I’ve whipped out the “s” word here.

Individualist said...


I get my definition of Fascism from Jonah Goldberg's book as defined by Mussolini. The Third Way, Government control over stock. I see this as different from the Legislative socialism you describe (70's or euro). The reason being is that decisions in a corporation are made by a board of directors who employ executives to enact these policies. If the government owns the stock of a company then the President’s officials can set policy behind the scenes in a boardroom. It not only gives control but secrecy. Was a decision by GM to make certain types of parts from a political crony of a government official made to be profitable or was it a behind the scenes quid pro quo.

I know the term has been muddied by the left’s attempt to mark it as reactionary capitalism and the militant nature of the Nazism. It is a political ideology and I feel the distinction is important because the type of control it gives. It has the potential to allow the executive branch to make political decisions that will be enacted by the company giving the politicians cover. Fannae Mae is a perfect example. In 2005 they had an adverse accounting opinion. I know I went online to OFHEO and read their reports and the links to the audit report. Yet no one knows it Barney Frank has many in his own party convinced he is a hero for going after the banks in 2008.

Anyrate I apologize for the lengthy post.

AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, I think the distinction between fascism and socialism really is a distinction without a difference.

Just like 1930s fascism, the 1970s socialism didn't involve direct government management of industry, it involved state ownership of the stock of private corporations (like municipal utility monopolies today or GM at the moment). And they were just as you describe -- vehicles to allow governments to make policy in the secrecy of the board room and to reward cronies with jobs and contracts.

(It was in Eastern Europe and Russia, under communism or quasi-communism, where the government directly ran industry.)

If there was a difference between the fascism of Mussolini and Hitler from Britain 1970s, it was (1) the pacifist tilt of the 1970s governments versus the militarism of the 1930s and (2) the downplaying of the existence of an elite by the 1970s, compared to the 1930s when being part of the elite was a status symbol you flaunted. Both fascism and 1970s socialism ran the same way in terms of giving privileges to elites, they just presented different images to the public.

(p.s. Long posts are fine. . . we're here to hear what people think! So feel free to speak your mind.)

patti said...

did last summer teach them NOTHING?! last summer americans were as polite as washington will see if they try reconciliation. it's incredible to witness the sheer arrogant audacity of this administration against the will of the people, day in and day out.

americans against socialism are furious enough. poll numbers indicate this. but for barry to shoot us the finger as he tells us of his intend to push this thru no matter what it is we want, is unparalleled stupidity.

makes my head hurt.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, Shooting us the finger is exactly what Obama has done here. And now that they've woken up the American people, the longer they play around with this stuff, the bigger the payback will be at the voting booth.

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