Friday, November 08, 2013

Cruising the Web

Charles Krauthammer analyzes the President's approach to the problems with Obamacare - he launches a campaign. As if rhetoric and campaign appearances will fix what is wrong with the policy.
The Obamacare website doesn’t work. Hundreds of thousands of insured Americans are seeing their plans summarily terminated. Millions more face the same prospect next year. Confronted with a crisis of governance, how does President Obama respond?

He campaigns.

“I’ve got one more campaign in me,” he told grass-roots supporters Monday — a series of speeches and rallies, explains the New York Times, “to make sure his signature health care law works.”

Campaigning to make something work? How does that work? Presidential sweet talk persuades the nonfunctional web portal to function?
This has been Obama's approach to all sorts of policy issues. He gives a speech and people faint with admiration. The speech doesn't change anything, but it's what the man does.
This rather bizarre belief in the unlimited power of the speech arises from Obama’s biography. Isn’t that how he rose? Words. It’s not as if he built a company, an enterprise, an institution. He built one thing — his own persona. By persuasion. One great speech in 2004 propels him to the presidential level. More great speeches and he wins the White House.

But then comes governance. A speech in Cairo, utterly crushed by the Arab Spring. Talk of a Russian reset, repeatedly thrown back at him by a contemptuous Russian dictator. Fifty-four speeches to get health care enacted — only to see it now imperiled by the reality of its ruinous rollout and broken promises.

I’m not surprised that Obama tells untruths. He’s surely not the only politician to do so. I’m just surprised that he chooses to tell such obvious ones — ones that will inevitably be found out.

Who will tell Obama that lies so transparent render rhetoric not just useless but ridiculous?
Is a somewhat oblique apology making use of the passive voice about "people "finding themselves in this situation based on assuarances they got from me" from Obama that he's sorry people are lowing their health insurance due to Obamacare going to be enough to make people forget the 36 times he assured the American people they could keep their health insurance? Or that he was saying that long after the administration knew that people would be losing their insurance? His administration was the agent that governs the action in Obama's passive statement. I guess lying about how he hadn't really promised people that everyone who liked their plan could keep them or blaming the insurance companies that are just following HHS regulations didn't end up polling all that well. As Tim Stanley writes,
So we have an apology, but it remains the case that a) parts of the administration understood the chaos approaching, b) the President's peculiar management style shut down the debate, c) Obama told voters something that turned out to be quite false and d) many people may have embraced the principle of Obamacare without realising its potential consequences.
The most recent example of Obama making the promise that those in the individual market could keep their policies to the American people even though the administration knew it was false was September 26 this year. And as Allahpundit points out, Obama's supposed apology to people for losing their policy then goes on to say that "a lot of these plans are subpar plans." See, Obama knows better than people about their own circumstances and needs.

Fred Siegel looks at how fracking has done for poverty what LBJ's War on Poverty never could. But those who irrationally hate fracking are fighting against the one answer for the poor and unemployed that works.
Dick Downey, a retired teacher and fracking supporter living in Otego, N.Y., wrote in his local paper, the Daily Star, in 2011 that "the class divide in the argument over drilling in New York is the elephant in the living room. Everyone's aware of it but no one is talking about it. It pits generational farmers against the newly arrived, well-to-do pensioners against those just hanging on."

Poverty and social class don't seem significant issues for the residents of Ithaca, the center of the antifracking movement. Perched on the edge of beautiful Lake Cayuga, one of New York's Finger Lakes, Ithaca is home to Cornell University, Ithaca College and the Park Foundation. Ithaca claims to have more restaurants per capita than New York City. In the 2000 presidential election, more residents voted for Ralph Nader than for George W. Bush.

Great Society liberalism had, for all its faults, an ideal of inclusiveness. The environmental anti-industrial liberalism is implicitly organized around exclusion. Environmentalism, with its powerful not-in-my-backyard and not-in-your-backyard currents in upstate New York, has become an ideological cover for the pursuit of self-interest. New York's liberals are fighting to preserve the status quo, poverty and all.
Jonah Goldberg ponders the growth of government.
The number of civilians (i.e., not counting the military) who work for the executive branch alone is today nearly equal to the entire population of the United States in 1776. The Federal Register, the federal government’s fun-filled journal of new rules, regulations, and the like, was about 2,600 pages in 1936 (a year after it was created). Today it’s over 80,000 pages.

And that’s just at the federal level. Each state government is a pretty giant-sized Twinkie, too. In Massachusetts, all kids in daycare are required by law to brush their teeth after lunch. In Texas — Texas! — if you don’t have an interior-design license, you can’t call yourself an interior designer, lest some unsuspecting consumer trust your opinion on throw-pillow placement without the backing of the state. Almost everywhere, Americans need a license to open a business — sometimes even a lemonade stand — but in Milwaukee, you even need a license to go out of business.

The justifications for all of these laws and all of these workers — the good, the bad, and the ugly — have one thing in common: the assumption that the rest of us couldn’t get by without them, whether we like it or not.

This week the feds took the first steps to ban trans fats. Why? Because trans fats are bad for you and you can’t be trusted to avoid them on your own. I bring this up not because it is such an outrageous illustration of my point, but to demonstrate how typical it is. This is what the government does, day in, day out.

That’s what makes the reaction to Obamacare so interesting. Several times now, the president has endeavored to explain that it’s not that big a deal millions of Americans are losing their health-insurance plans against their will. The people who had plans they liked didn’t understand that the plans they liked were no good — they were the actuarial equivalent of trans fats, don’t you know? The fact that the people who held them liked them, thought they were good, and wanted to keep them doesn’t count for much, because the government knows best.

The president can’t say it as plainly as he would like, because to do so would be to admit not only that he lied to the American people, but that he thinks the complainers are ignorant about their own needs and interests.
Here are some more examples of how the federal government cannot do what the private market can. The $5 billion that the federal government has paid to try to jump start the electric car industry has been a waste. And the Department of Energy tried to hide that a green-technology company that we'd given $135 million to was filing for bankruptcy. Add this to another list of green companies that the federal government has poured money into and which then went on to fail.

According to Kathleen Sebelius, Obamacare is not a "federal health care program." I kid you not.

Andrew Kohut of Pew Research argues that the Republican Party is in better shape than we might think.

Heck of a job, Kathleen.

What a coincidence that the organization sent out by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers to train journalists on how to report on Obamacare are from a pro-Obamacare organization. I hope the journalists who belong to this organization are happy with their lapdog status.

A writer from "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" explains how to use Google to find out new trivia to use for writing questions.