Sunday, January 27, 2013
Six Balanced Views of President Obama
The management of the balance of power is a permanent undertaking not an exertion that has a foreseeable end.
Henry Kissinger (b. 1923), The White House Years (1979)
January 27, 2013 - I have a dear friend who says my blogs lack balance. Perhaps they do. This may be because I regard Obamacare as a mistake, born of good intentions but not carefully thought through and riddled with adverse consequences. Be that as it may, I have positive views of President Obama as well. It is important to consider and to listen to all sides of issues and to take the long view.
Good News and Bad News
One - Obamacare
Good news -It protects those with pre-existing illness and young adults under their parents policies until age 26, keeps seniors from tumbling into donut hole, and expands coverage for uninsured and those who cannot afford care. In the long run, it may be a step towards wider access and even universal coverage.
Bad news- To date, it is full of broken promises- to lower costs, to lower premiums, to allow patients to keep their doctors and health plans, and, besides, its cost will be prohibitive - $2.6 trillion through 2024, if one accepts Congressional Business Office projections. As for the present, it slashes benefits for seniors, reduces provider pay, and produces a doctor shortage.
Two- Budgetary Matters
Good News - Obama may have saved the country and automobile industry from deeper recession, depression and even bankruptcy with his $831 billion stimulus bill.
Bad News – In the process, he increased the national debt – $ 16.5 trillion headed toward $20 trillion at the end of his 2nd term- with few signs of a growing economy or greater employment. He has spent more and accumulated more debt than all previous presidents combined. Twenty three million Americans remain unemployed or underemployed, 47 million are on food stamps, and 49% depend on government transfer payments. Obama takes no responsibility for the slowest recovery on record in recent years. Instead, he blames his predecessor.
Three, Role Model for Minorities
Good News - He gives minorities hope for the present and the future by serving as a role model and proving a man of color has the intellect, dignity, and decorum to rise to the top. He is a devoted family man and shows no sign of personal corruption. He represents the ascendancy of a man of color to a national leader, the capstone of the civil rights movement and the Martin Luther King legacy. His presidency has helped erase the image of America as a racist country.
Bad News - He partially achieved this status by disparaging achievements of the successful by saying, “You didn’t built that.” Presumably government did. He seems to have forgotten that America is not only a democracy but a meritocracy – where people of merit are rewarded for their skills and successes, regardless of race or ethnic origin.
Four, Political Astuteness
Good News - Obama out-organized and out-maneuvered Hillary Clinton and the Republicans by building a powerful and loyal political team catering to the political “have-nots” and those at the bottom of the economic and social ladder. In short, Obama is a brilliant politician, which is important if you are to be a national leader.
Bad News – Obama has shown no signs or engaging, listening, or compromising with opponents in an evenly divided country, creating a deep partisan divide. In his inaugural speech, the issues that concern many – reining in national debt, cutting government overspending, reforming entitlements - received no mention. In his mind, he is the government, not Congress or the Surpreme Court. Nobody else, it seems, matters.
Five, Speaker with Persuasive Powers
Good News - Obama is a powerful and persuasive speaker, and he takes full advantage of the bully pulpit and his constant presence in the national spotlight to push and defend his agenda.
Bad News - Words and their presentation matter. The Republicans have no one to match him nor do they have the fawning admiration of the national media.
Good News - To his followers, President Obama has emerged as a true man of the left, a champion of downtrodden, underprivileged, and forgotten in .the face of a stubborn recession. He is delivering on his promise of a “transformational presidency.”
Bad News - His ideology too often comes across as anti-business, anti-entrepreneur, anti-employer. This attitude, and his pro-tax and pro-regulatory stance are anti-growth and slow the economy recovery. Corporations are sitting on their cash and not hiring. His ideology has not advanced the economic status of minorities. It shows he does not understand America’s center right, capitalistic culture.
Tweet: When it comes to playing the game of balance of political power, the Obama presidency has positives and negatives.
Posted by Richard L. Reece, MD at 12:54 PM
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Drive the nail that will go
Dear Friend, thanks for your concern about my concern about your imbalance. As we have discussed through the years, I feel you are missing half of your potential readership (and having the O’Really (sic) video on every blog probably doesn’t help). You might remember many years ago we played at both ends of the court—and they still do. Please permit me to reply to a few of your points.
1. Obama Care. Good News—well said. Bad news—higher premiums. I don’t know about your premiums, but mine have increased by 10 percent in each of recent years, even before Obama Care. I also find it difficult to believe the 31 percent increase proposed by Wellpoint and others in California and a few other states are caused by Obama Care. The “slashes” in seniors’ benefits that you mention reflect GOP claims before the election, but my understanding is that it was they who were wanting to slash “bennies”, while Dems were reducing costs, but leaving benefits intact.
2. Budgetary Matters. Good News—well said. Bad News—Your statement of his increasing the debt could be interpreted as he increased debt by $16.5T, which, of course, is not true. In addition, as I recall W (President Obama’s predecessor) inherited a surplus and left a $10T debt caused by two wars, tax cuts, Part D, all of which were not funded. That leaves W as the creator of the most debt in history. In fact, we were perhaps a half step from a larger Depression than the Great Depression. Most economists I hear say it takes as many as eight to ten years to emerge from such a “ditch”. It’s happenlng, but very slowly—too slowly, much of which should be attributed to the severity of what President Obama inherited.
Dear Friend, I could continue with my wish about your views, but I need to get on with the rest of my day. I will always consider you my Dear Friend, but I still would rather have you become more balanced.
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