Just before midnight Saturday, the House rammed through the 2,000 page monstrosity laughingly known as the health care bill. I’d say they did it under cover of night, reneging on a promise of a 72-hour waiting period. Again, who read this thing? How much arm twisting was involved to prevail in this close vote of 220-215? All across the net there is a rather horrifying picture of a delusional Nancy Pelosi with a victorious grin on her face, overjoyed at an accomplishment that ignores the concerns of a plurality of the American people, who are now opposed to, or at the very least, dubious about the measures she sought so feverishly to pass.
Ironic that yesterday, NY Times columnist Charles Blow, certainly an Obama cheerleader from way back, penned a column entitled Obama’s to Fix, in which he cautions the President to stop blaming George Bush for the “mess” he inherited. Clearly, our President, far from undoing such a mess, is daily making a bigger one of his own. Mr. Blow begins with this ominous phrase:
What a difference a year makes.
In October 2008, the candidate Barack Obama delivered a major economic speech in Toledo, Ohio. In it he said: “Right now, we face an immediate economic emergency, and that requires urgent action. We can’t wait to help workers and families and communities who are struggling right now — who don’t know if their job or their retirement will be there tomorrow; who don’t know if next week’s paycheck will cover this month’s bills. … We need to pass an economic rescue plan for the middle-class, and we need to do it not five years from now, not next year, we need to do it right now.
“So today I’m proposing a number of steps that we should take immediately to stabilize our financial system, provide relief to families and communities and help struggling homeowners. It’s a plan that begins with one word that’s on everybody’s mind, and it’s easy to spell: J-O-B-S.”
“Right now,” “immediate economic emergency,” “requires urgent action,” “can’t wait.” Wow! He gave the impression that job creation would be his top priority, that action would be swift and effective, that his solutions would not only stanch the hemorrhaging, but reverse the trend.
He has not made jobs his top priority. This health care debacle, bailing out Wall Street, getting into the car business and generally putting money into the pockets of everyone except those who need it have all taken priority over putting Americans back to work. And, no, putting an extra $13 a week into people’s paychecks is not going to do the trick when as Mr. Blow points out the new official labor statistics have us at 10.2 unemployment, which is an increase of “more than 50 percent from the time Obama gave that speech.”
“(By the way, the underemployment rate, which includes part-time workers who want to work full time and those who’ve given up searching, is a staggering 17.5 percent.)”
I am still at a loss to understand why there was such a great urgency to pass health care legislation that is not supposed to go into effect for more than three years. Someone on another blog made the observation that Obama and Pelosi et al are using the economic crisis and joblessness as a weapon to pass their agenda. As people are panicked at losing their jobs and their healthcare, they are more likely to look to government to bail them out – and more amenable. As Rahm Emanuel said, “never waste a good crisis.” What better time to ram this through. Mr. Blow continues:
Job creation has dropped from top priority to one of many, and President Obama has been remanded to pandering for patience and offering excuses. On the one hand, he argues the tortured rationale that there is good news in the awful numbers: Things are still getting worse but at a slower pace. On the other, he incessantly reminds us that he inherited the crisis. The implication: Don’t blame me, blame Bush.
But this president can’t keep deflecting to the last one. Pain is presently felt. The crisis that took form on Bush’s watch is being experienced on Obama’s. Fair or not, finger-pointing is not effective policy.
This is now Obama’s crisis, and it carries political consequences. During Tuesday’s gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, nearly 9 in 10 voters said that they were worried about the direction of the nation’s economy in the next year. And the majority of those who held that view voted for the Republican candidates. This could portend a flashback to 1994.
It isn’t President Obama’s fault that he inherited this mess, but it is his to fix, and he must make haste. To paraphrase his Toledo prelection: you need to do it not five years from now, not next year, you need to do it right now. J-O-B-S.
There were many options to put people back to work this year if that was really the priority. Clearly it was not. This President spent almost a billion dollars to get his job. I don’t want to hear complaints now. Obviously, he inherited a mess, which he has made worse with reckless spending. No one expects him to fix everything in the space of a year, but I thought his “good judgment” meant he knew how to prioritize. We need leadership and part of that involves sacrificing one’s ego to help those who need it most. That is far more important than pushing legislation just for the purpose of putting a check mark next to one’s name. You don’t not spend billions, even trillions, you don’t have at a time like this. Since this bunch so miscalculated on their $787 billion stimulus package, I am not inclined to trust them now by handing over 1/6 of the economy to their stewardship.
It is interesting that Mr. Blow, who played the race card on Mr. Obama’s behalf last year, is now joining the ever increasing number of his pundit supporters who are having problems with his endless campaigning, blaming and wrongheaded focus.
As to the health care debate, I called my Congressman’s office Friday morning to complain about the bill and his assistant debated the merits with me. At least she took the time to do so. It was a shame she was wrong on the facts. I told her to go back and read the thing. Now we have a 2,000 page beast that the Senate must contend with and we are told it will never pass in its current form. So why the rush? Why wouldn’t this Administration be in the same kind of rush to help get people back to work?
There are 237 millionaires in Congress. Perhaps that explains why they have difficulty relating to the urgent need to put millions of Americans back of work, instead manufacturing an urgent need to pass labrynthian legislation for the mere purpose of saying “Mission Accomplished.”
Hmm. Where have we heard that phrase before?