Monday, August 9, 2010

Where Has All the Trust in Government Gone?

Trust in government and politicians is eroding.

• A Pew Poll on April 19, 2010 indicated only 22% trust government. Most said they would not buy a car from the government.

• An average of national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics finds a 21% Congressional job approval.

• President Obama’s approval rating has dropped to 45%, and some say it may soon head towards the 30s.

We are witnessing a triumph of results over rhetoric. President Obama’s comments to the contrary, people do not see light at the end of economic or health care tunnels.

Obama praises his health reform legislature. He is even spending $125 million to sell it to the public before the November elections. The public isn’t buying. Nearly 71% of 670,000 Show-Me-State Missourians voted to reject the individual mandate.

Meanwhile, 20 state attorney generals are challenging the mandate’s constitutionality. National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), representing 350,000 small businesses, has joined them. States and businesses assert the federal government cannot require people to buy health coverage, at the cost of imposing financial hardships on the states and businesses.

State legislatures are also rebelling. Five --Virginia, Idaho, Arizona, Georgia and Louisiana--have passed versions of the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act, similar to Missouri's referendum, and sponsored by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an association of state legislators.

Two other states, Oklahoma and Florida, passed the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act. Missouri's vote was different. The public, not members of the state legislature, voted for the legislation.

Many state legislatures didn't meet this year. But 38 states have announced their intent to file similar legislation, meaning in 2011 the majority of states will challenge health reform. After November, 35 states are likely to have Republican governors.

The public and the states are speaking out against Obama’s health reform bill. The Obama administration isn’t listening. Presumably Obamanites feel they are either leading a self-righteous moral crusade or assume the courts are on their side.

Yet polls indicate 15% more oppose than favor health reform, and 58% would vote to repeal it. Why? Because the rhetoric does not meet the public’s experience with reality.

• Obama says health reform will lower health costs, but the public sees costs rising, by as much as 10% on average this year.

• Obama says the legislation won't affect Americans' current coverage , but the public sees employers scrambling to decide whether they will offer coverage at all.

• Obama says taxes won’t rise, and you can’t trust health plans or the market , yet 20 million Americans may rush to join market-driven health savings accounts, because of their lower costs and tax savings.

• Obama says health care won't be rationed, even as he appoints a doctor who has repeatedly praised rationing as the wave of the future.

An editorial in the Washington Times sizes up the situation up nicely,

“No matter what the spin, claiming government bureaucrats will make health care more efficient is as absurd as saying FedEx would be better if it were run by the Post Office. “

Obama pledged to be a healer bringing Republicans and Democrats together. And yet he and the Democrats have repeatedly rammed through major bills with few or no Republican votes in closed meetings without consulting Republicans.

The lame excuse has been that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. We must move quickly before the opposition knows what hit them. One crisis may be about to beget another, a rebellion against political arrogance and partisan bullying.

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