Last Wednesday night, Obama gave his much-anticipated and ballyhooed healthcare speech to a joint session of Congress in an effort to resuscitate the program to which he’s hitched his political star. Like just about everyone else under the sun, I do have a few thoughts on the matter.
It’s impossible to discuss the speech without first acknowledging Congressman Joe Wilson’s outburst of “You lie!” when he heard Obama’s assertion that there’d be no healthcare provided to illegal aliens. Naturally, the Democrats reacted in high dudgeon, taking great umbrage, exhibiting self-righteous sanctimony, total outrage, and much wailing, tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth. They managed to forget their own history of booing George Bush during his speeches to Congress as well as the way Bush was treated at Obama’s inauguration. Their manufactured outrage would probably be more impressive if they weren’t such boorish dolts themselves.
Further, contrary to what’s often said by those professing a desire to “recapture” and “return” to some historic era of “decorum” in politics, there’s a long and honored history of rancorous behavior that is the real history of this country. Alexander Hamilton didn’t die of old age; Aaron Burr shot him in his prime in a duel over political differences. Senators and congressmen would have physical fights on the respective floors of each house, sometimes clubbing each other with their canes. When Davy Crockett gave his last speech in the House, he told his fellow Representatives, “You all can go to hell! I’m going to Texas!” Which is what he did, fighting and dying at the Alamo.
Of course the biggest problem for the liberals is this: Wilson was right! It was a lie!
When the Republicans on the various committees tried to insert provisions for eligibility verification and enforcement, they were shut down flat. Now, and only because of Wilson’s outburst and after a whole lot of “Er, uh… well, we’ll look into that…” the Democrat committee heads all of a sudden are backed into a corner, and are suddenly amenable to including some mechanism to actually insure that illegals won’t get any benefits. Of course, the problem for them and Obama is that the inclusion of such provisions is going to really tick off the illegal alien lobby that thought it was going to be sneaking this one by everybody.
Poor Obama; damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I guess it really boils down to whom you want damning you, poor fella.
Supposedly, there’s enough “waste, fraud, and mismanagement” to fund a “public option” if that ends up included in a bill, “public option” meaning “paid for with taxpayer dollars”. So, the question occurs to me: if there’s that much wastage – and we’re talking trillions of dollars – then why is he waiting to clean that up? Isn’t that his fiduciary responsibility as President? He has to wait for a new bill to arrive before he does his job?
Of course, Obama’s claim is just pure BS. It’s yet another lie; more fairy tales he’s using to try to “sell” this garbage to the American public. Further, as I’ve written before, there’s absolutely nothing in the Constitution – that silly old document – that grants to the federal government the power or authority to use taxpayer dollars to “provide” health insurance to anyone. To use one of my favorite quotes, this one from “Father of the Constitution” James Madison: “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”
Obama supports a “mandated” participation in health insurance by everybody, and tried to draw an analogy with the requirement that people must have insurance in order to drive. Unfortunately for the poor guy, he’s all wet yet again.
First of all, under the Constitutional principle of federalism, the states have a lot of powers to do things the Federal Government is not allowed to do. That’s the whole principle behind “states’ rights”. Further, even then it doesn’t work the way Obama tried to portray it.
Let's use my state of California as an example. Contrary to what's usually stated, there's no requirement that a driver be insured in order to drive a car. All that's required is having a valid driver's license. Period.
In order to operate a vehicle on public roads, that vehicle must be insured, but only for damage caused to other people, not to itself. If you never operate your vehicle on public roads, you don't have to insure it. Further, even THAT requirement is waived if you can prove financial responsibility or post a bond.
So, the attempted analogy is entirely false. But wait! There's more!
Any "mandate" for insurance participation will be enforced through the mechanism of a "tax surcharge" of up to $3800 under current proposals. That, too, is unconstitutional, as it amounts to a "penalty" based on behavior. The tax code is clearly NOT to be used to impose social engineering. Further, the imposition of such a "penalty" is a de facto criminal penalty/civil fine without Due Process as defined and banned under the Fifth Amendment. After all, it's a de facto fine for failing to behave in a government-approved fashion – by buying health insurance – which under this bill becomes essentially a crime or civil violation.
Should a bill with any such “mandate” become law, I can virtually guarantee a court challenge on that basis alone.
Throughout much of his speech he demonized “profit”, betraying his socialist/fascist philosophy in Hi-Def. The healthcare industry has an average profit margin of 3.3%, and ranks at #86 on the profitability list. If it becomes any less profitable, we’re going to have a real crisis on our hands as doctors trade in their medical practices for plumbing licenses.
On a scale of 1 to 5, I rate this speech a 1 for substance; only a 2 for style because Obama’s become more overexposed on TV than the Sham-Wow guy and has become boring and repetitious; a 2 for effectiveness; and a 5 to Joe Wilson for Political Theater.
I think our poor, beleaguered Prez and his liberal cronies are going to be very disappointed, because I don’t think it changed one thing on the political landscape. This program’s in deep doo-doo.
Addendum on 14 Sep
The Dems have used a manufactured "right to healthcare" to rationalize a "mandate" that people buy health insurance. Are they also planning on "mandating" that everybody buy a gun? After all, that's actually a real "right".