Friday, October 10, 2014

October Surprises

The single most surprising thing you encounter in government is competence because it’s so rare.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003), Democratic Senator from New York

In American politics, an October Surprise is a news event partisans use to discredit the opposition.

Take yesterday’s 334 point decline in the Dow Jones average. The magnitude of that drop surprised Americans. It was being attributed to tumbling oil promises and stagnant economic growth, particularly in Europe. Some Republicans were saying the huge decline was reminiscent of Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, when the world’s economy collapsed and we entered the Great Depression.

Critics say America’s corporate income tax, the highest in the world, restrictive regulations, high income taxes, and ObamaCare’s negative affect on hiring full-time workers, are responsible for the decline. That's unlikely since the Dow Jones went up 200 points earlier in the week, and we still have the most resilient economy in the world.

Other October “surprises” include hundreds of thousands of health plan cancellations, and rapid increases in premiums and deductibles, both set to go into effect before November 1. Rate increases average 9.8% t0 18.3% in Vermont, 15% in Kentucky, and 22% in Virginia. Health plans say they must cancel plans and raise rates to cover losses caused by ObamaCare regulations imposing 10 essential health “one-size-fits-all” benefits for all plans.

The government will cover losses through 2017 by bailing out insurers, but plans say then all hell will break loose with explosions in costs, hence the need to cut costs, raise rates, and narrow networks to less costly hospitals and doctors now.

Or ponder the news that the Supreme Court may announce in October it will take up the case of whether it legal for federal health exchanges to offer subsidies when the health law says only state exchanges can do so. Can you imagine the outrage when people are asked to pay back subsidies?

Or look at all those national polls indicating that the Republicans, who have vowed to replace or repeal or defund ObamaCare, will probably win the Senate by 52 to 47, and you have even higher levels of uncertainty and anxiety.

Throw in the “surprises” that’s front end didn’t work and its back end is still under repair, the failed promises that you could keep your doctor and health plan, ISIS winning the war in Iraq and Syria, Ebola on the loose outside of Africa, and October polls saying 27% of Americans are not satisfied with the way the country is being run (Gallup) and only 13% trust government" to do the right thing most of the time"(CNN), and it should come as no surprise that Republicans are delighting in highlighting October’s surprises.

No comments: